Sunday, March 24, 2013

Music Class Reward Programs

Over this year in my classroom, I have organized two types of reward programs: one program to reward band students for "performing" above and beyond the class requirement and one program to encourage my general music students to make good behavior choices.


As with many band directors, I have struggled with how to recognize students who are motivated to complete additional assignments beyond the class assignment such as scales, practicing, and attending performances outside of school. This year, I experimented with this program:
Activities, point values, and reward levels
Each additional assignment is assigned a point value; I also remain open to any suggestions from students for assignments I haven't considered. As the students accumulate points, they reach prize points. I printed class rosters, posted them on the wall, and keep track of the points in a prominent area of the classroom.
Class rosters and point tally
For my highly motivated students, this gives them the recognition they desire. For the slightly motivated students, this gives them the kick in the butt to work just a bit harder. For the rest, not much difference in their choices, however it is not viewed as a negative consequence.


Prior to winter break, my 6th grade general music students began making very poor behavior choices. So I spent a few days devising a rewards program to encourage them to make the good behavior choices.
Class Dojo, star-shaped hole punch, reward cards

Using ClassDojo (online and iPad app), I created class rosters for each class and set up the lists of desired behaviors (positive, green points) and undesired behaviors (negative, red points). During the class period, I keep track of each student's behavior choices. By the end of the period, they need to have earned more positives than negatives and be "in the green." This earns them a "star:" I hole punch a star onto the reward card. Stars can be redeemed for prizes such as candy, key-chains, or special privileges.

Within 4 days (I see my student every other day), the reward program was paying off. The students who consistently make good behavior choices are rewarded for these choices. The students who sometimes make poor behavior choices have a reason to choose positive behaviors. Of course, there are still a few (approximately 1 per class) that this program does not work for since they find more power and control in their current poor behavior. We can't win them all, but we can encourage those on the "fence" to make appropriate choices.