Who hasn’t needed some help acquiring reverence in Primary? We all know that children respond to positive motivation, what we fail to recognize sometimes is how important the visual aspect of that motivation is.
I Can Be Reverent Jar
When I taught the younger children I used a clear container/can to collect any given item when they were “caught being good.” I would add an item (or handful depending on what was used) into the jar to reward good behavior. One time I used various candy pieces and told them when the jar was filled we’d get to share the spoils. Another time I used generic items like golf balls, cotton balls, marbles, etc. and when the jar was filled a reward was met like a class party, etc. This visual is great because it’s done in real time. Equally powerful is stirring the items in the jar or removing one when behavior becomes undesirable. Unfortunately, I’ve lent out every jar I’ve ever made so I don’t have any photos of one.
The Bee Box
This year I started teaching the 9-10 year olds and the “jar” concept seemed a little juvenile for them. I wanted to come up with something that better suited their age and taught them something as well. So I came up with “The Bee Box.” This takes President Hinckley’s 9 Be’s and turns them into behavior points. I introduced them to it using a poem I wrote about the 9 Be’s for Young Women.
When the kids do something that corresponds with one of the traits they get to add a bee with the corresponding trait to the bee box. When they reach a set number goal of bees and keep them throughout the teaching time they earn another piece of a puzzle to a bigger reward like a class party, ice cream social, etc.
To make the Bee Box, I took my Bee Letterhead made for a previous YW project and blew it up to a poster size. I’m too lazy to take a printout to a copier service to blow it up so I just print a larger image over two pages and tape them together, laminating the final poster. (For reference, this poster will work best when done on plain paper so as not to hamper the strength of the magnets that will hold the bees on.) I generated one bee image, then shrunk it down, added words and made an entire page of bees. The tedious part of this project is cutting out the bees, laminating them, cutting them out again and putting magnets on the back but it’s sure been worth the effort! I found some round stick and peel magnets on Oriental Trader that really makes short work of magnetizing things!
One bonus of this system was getting my kids to bring their scriptures. I add bees of “grateful”, “true”, “involved”, etc. based on how many kids bring scriptures. By the second week every child had theirs with them in hopes of getting a head start on bees in the box!
This was nothing more than a smiling face graphic that looked like it was talking. I laminated and used it for a class where the kids had a really hard time learning to wait their turn to talk. The concept was that unless you were holding the talking circle you couldn’t talk. It’s a simple concept that brings great results. *smile* I need to find the image I used for this in my old files because like the jar, I gave it away too!
Stickers & Awards
These always go so far and are so easy to use. You can create your own awards and give them out at the end of each teaching period. When I was teaching singing I made one called “Sister Schwendiman’s Star Singer Award” on mailing labels with star graphics. I’d always pick a boy and girl from each age group to win the award each Sunday and the kids loved it. This can be adapted for classes as well with various awards for behaviors/traits you’re wanting students to work on. Smiley face (or any other style) stickers are also an easy and fun way to keep kids engaged in good behavior. Don’t forget the value of a handwritten note as a reward too. I used to keep a little stationery notepad in my bag so when I wanted to write a note of thanks to a specific child I could write their name on it. Then I’d finish the note at home and mail it or hand deliver to the child. They LOVE these things! When your children know you love them they will love you and will want to be the best they can for you.