Whether you call it spring fever or cabin fever, it hit my firsties hard last week! I left on Tuesday afternoon wondering what had happened to our classroom! Where were my good listeners? What happened to my dependable friends?
On Wednesday, I started passing out “Teacher Helper” beads. My plan was to get my most dependable friends back on track. It’s amazing how little ones can positively impact each other so I knew I just needed a few good role models to help! I was looking for firsties who were modeling our classroom expectations and who were reminding others to do the same. They were using quiet signs or asking someone to whisper or tapping on someone’s shoulder to follow the line.
The kids were so proud to wear their beads. I also asked them to help with some classroom routines for the day, and they got to take their beads home with them at dismissal. I have a whole basket full of beads that I have been saving for years. I don’t know why I hoard some weird things in my classroom, but a whole basket of beads was sandwiched between 200 toilet paper rolls and 3 boxes of coffee filters.
You can get 6 dozen beads for around $10 from Amazon so it’s a really affordable reward. If you want to keep your beads, you could collect them at the end of the day and send home coupons. I made Helper Bead Coupons with a poem on the back! Kids can keep their coupon and parents can read the poem to find out why they earned beads in the classroom. Just click on a picture to download them for FREE.
One of the best things about Helper Beads is that you don’t have to use them everyday. Just pull them out on a day when things are starting to get a little crazy! The visual is great for little ones because they can actually see the reward. If you need to get everyone’s attention, just take off a strand and act like you’re really looking for someone to wear it. It’s like magic!
When I first posted this idea, I got a lot of questions about what to do if someone who has beads stops being helpful. I just put her beads back on until her behavior improves, and then she can wear them again. I remind her, you have to be a listener to be helper.
My inspiration for Helper Beads came from the amazing Diane Romo of One Giggle. She was my student teaching mentor, and all of my students for the past 10 years know her as the teacher who taught me how to be a teacher. So many of my classroom ideas come from her! Did I mention she’s amazing?
Check out how she uses beads in her classroom by clicking on the image!