Recognizing and Encouraging Positive Behavior: Using Stamp Cards

I have a great teaching tip for you to try.

About five years back, I remember thinking to myself, “I feel like I am neglecting my students who always follow the rules, and am giving way too much time to a particularly difficult student.” This made me feel bad, and I decided to add a new, simple element to my classroom management so as to reward the well behaved/on task students.

I went out and bought blank stamp cards (you don’t have to buy yours because I made some!) and taped them to the corner of the students’ desks. I explained that I wanted to reward all the good behavior in the class, and as a reward, once a student filled up his or her stamp card, he or she got to choose a friend and play a board game in our class library. It worked beautifully!

Here are some of the benefits of using the cards:

  • Super simple–I used an actual stamp pad with a little smiley face or star–sometimes I just used my pen and drew a star in the box.
  • It motivated other students to get stamps and increased positive/on task behavior. For example, if I just handed out a worksheet, and there was a student that got right to work, I would say, “I love how Susie got right to work. Great job,” and give her a stamp. The other kids would pick up their pencils and get right to work too, and then I would give them a stamp.
  • I felt I was acknowledging all the positive things going on in my class–a great shift in focus.
  • Once students learned the system, they would see me grab the stamp pad and get working–I didn’t have to say a word (this saved my voice).

It is important when first implementing any reward system, that you make it very easy for the students to succeed, and that they get the reward almost right away. Then it takes on value. Once the other students see the first couple getting to play a board game, the stamp cards take on a whole new significance. Also, choose whatever reward is the most motivating. It could be free time on the computer, free time in the library, etc. I gave out stamps for all sorts of behavior: kids who lined up quietly, kids who were straight in line, acts of kindness, etc.

I only had one rule: Students were not allowed to ask for a stamp for behavior. I did not want to hear, “Can I have a stamp?”

I hope this helps, and please tell me how it works out in your class or at home!

Click here to download: Rewarding Excellent Behavior

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