Recently, I was talking to a co-worker about ideas for PBIS [Positive Behavior Interventions and Support] and classroom management for this coming year. She was telling me, and I have heard it before, that she used to do 'warm fuzzies' with her kiddos and they loved it. What is a warm fuzzy you may ask? Allow me to inform you- a warm fuzzy is one of those pom poms that you find at craft stores... yep, that is IT. I know, I'm with you... I asked her, "Those little fuzzy things motivate students?!" *Disclaimer* Prepare to have your world rocked: apparently, yes. Those fuzzy little things motivate students to be kind AND to work together... winner, winner, chicken dinner! Of course, I am on board. Why not give our students one more thing to help boost our classroom community, especially when that 'one more thing' is a fuzzy pom pom that I have millions of stored somewhere in that lovely closet of mine?
So, I went to Michaels and picked up three glass jars, some paint pens [because of course, I left mine at school] and one large container to house all these fuzzy things. And then the crafting began and.... ta-da!
("Earn a warm fuzzy by doing something kind, fill up the jar and a surprise I have in mind!" I stuck with "surprise" instead of something like class party because then I get to decide what the surprise entails.. sometimes promising a class party can work against you! For the jars, I just wrote the label, let it dry for a few minutes and then just picked two colors to make the polka dot background! Last but not least, got some of those magical fuzzies and filled up my jar! Craft was complete in 30 minutes!)
SO simple and hopefully, so effective! So what's the plan for this? Well, since I teach three grade levels, each grade has their own warm fuzzy jar. Simple acts of kindness earn warm fuzzies- which is perfect, because I also use Class Dojo pretty diligently in my classroom, but our dojo is based on our school PBIS of Husky PRIDE [being polite, responsible, in control, doing your best and earning and giving respect.] Last year, I found myself rewarding students who were being kind to friends or teachers with dojo points, but there wasn't a category in my dojo that directly aligned with kindness, so this is perfect! Also, a little different than dojo because they have to work as a class to earn the special surprise! All about that collaboration in A111... and also, a little competition within classes never hurt no one! [HUGE MOTIVATOR!] Stay tuned to see how these fuzzy things make my teacher life just a little bit easier!