It’s important to me that I have meaningful incentives built into my classroom routines. I wanted to use something more substantial than a box of trinkets to motivate my students. I came up with three different Art Tickets that students can choose from. I love that the tickets are for things that really matter to the kids, but are also completely or almost free for me to provide.
The Sit By a Friend Ticket is a big hit because I have a seating chart that students have to follow every day, except for during centers. When a kid complains about not being able to sit where they want, I remind them that they can earn a ticket to choose their seat for a day.
Our mascot is the eagle, so I bought a stuffed eagle that kids can have sit with them at their table for the day. I also brought in an octopus puppet that my dad gave me for Christmas. The kids love to us their Eagle Handler Ticket and have one of them sit at their table for the day. Some of my 4th graders even made necklaces for the eagle!
The students work throughout the week to earn time for centers every Friday. On Fridays, I put out a Golden Ticket center. This is by far the most popular ticket! The play-doh and modeling clay were donated to my classroom (I think I’ve had the modeling clay for about 7 years now!) I fill the watercolor tub with paint trays that were used for a project, but still have all the colors in them.
At the beginning of the quarter, I have my students work in teams to do a scavenger hunt for important places in the art classroom. The winning table all get to choose an art ticket. That day I send home a wish list of supplies they can donate. I make sure to have items on the list that don’t cost any money, like old newspapers or magazines.When a student brings in supplies, they get to choose an art ticket.
Students can also earn a ticket by helping me with a job. I have to make it clear that these are not the normal jobs they do when they clean up at the end of class. I keep a list of things I need help with and if a student finishes their work early or wants to help with something during Centers, I find them a job. I try to make sure that every student who wants to earn a ticket can. (I have been known to have someone organize the bookcases or dust the shelves if I am out of jobs, but a student is eager to help.)
For some classes, I award art tickets when a student or a few students are being a leader by following directions. I try not to lean on this strategy too much with my classroom management because it can cause other students to feel like I haven’t noticed how hard they are working. But every now and then, it’s nice to recognize outstanding behavior.
I love using this ticket system because it gets my students involved and excited about the art room and it is incredibly simple for me to maintain. Classes that bring their binders are responsible for keeping up with their tickets. I keep a baggie in the class drawer for tickets if a class is coming from PE or lunch, but they know they are responsible for writing their name on it and putting it up.
Downloadable Tickets: Golden Ticket, Sit with a Friend Ticket, Eagle Handler Ticket
Downloadable Poster: Earn an Art Ticket
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