Submitted by Barbara Johnson, Montgomery, Texas
Idea posted December 4, 2002
I have a small baby food jar for each class with the teacher's name on the label. I call these the marble jars. If things are going well, I put a marble or marbles in... if things are not going well, I take a marble or marbles out. (The kids notice, and it is a method of venting, without a negative word from me!) If other children complain because a marble is taken out because of another child's behavior, I take or threaten to take another marble out. I stress that each class is a team and will work and receive credit as a class. I focus on the positive as much as possible. If a child has caused a marble to be removed, and then gets back on track, I make it a point to let the class know that he/she has earned the marble back for the class because of improved behavior.
Here are the steps that are really successful and add to the marble jar earnings:
2nd: Stand quietly (pointer finger to lips to signal quiet), then sign for stand (fingers 2&3 standing on palm of other hand). If they stand quietly, another marble is put in the jar.
3rd: Quiet sign (see above) and turn (point towards door). If students do this quietly, another marble is put in the jar.
This takes so long to explain, but happens so quickly in class. If students are not behaving in music, I simply rattle the jar or give the sol-mi-sol signal on the bells. If neither of those signals work, I take out a marble or two. It gets their attention and calms me without any "yelling" on my part.
When the marble jar is full, the class receives a bag of suckers with a certificate stating that "the class filled their marble jar, it takes lots of good behavior to do that, and the teacher should be very proud of her/his class."
My assistant principal reminded me of the marble jar. Otherwise, necessity has been the mother of invention, or should I say procedure? This has worked for me and my students who enjoy the clear structure. It has made my life easier and the students think it is fun. I hope it works for you.
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