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I’ve been mixing things up with my props/rewards recently and thought I’d share a few of my favorites. I’m always looking to repurpose items I already have or introduce new things to my classroom that can serve lots of different purposes.
ENVELOPES & HAPPY MAIL
I got these mini envelopes to include in all my Etsy shop orders, and one day I filled a few with little 2D props, stickers, etc., wrote numbers on the front, and gave them to my students as rewards. It was a total hit! Something about watching me “open” their presents is apparently totally riveting! 😊 I’ve done something similar before with little treat bags, jewelry boxes, etc. (How cute are these macaron boxes?!) If you like making advent calendars or sending snail mail then maybe this would be fun for you and your students too. I might upgrade to these cute felt envelopes to make a more durable reward system in the future.
Some days I fill the envelopes randomly and sometimes I put in things according to a theme, upcoming season or holiday, or the lesson content. For example, this morning I put a little robot, ball, yo-yo, doll, and blocks inside for one of my level 2 students; yesterday I filled four bigger envelopes with items related to the four seasons to help prompt a student to make full sentences (like a snowman eraser, 2D snowflake prop, Frozen stickers, flashcards with the word “cold”, etc. for winter) As I pulled out each item she was reminded of words she could use to make a full sentence and practice the vocabulary for the unit.
Some ideas for things to put in the envelopes:
Scrapbooking stuff (try searching for ephemera, diecuts, cardstock shapes)
Postcards (I like these baby animal ones!)
Little notes (write your own or snag some cute ready made ones)
CLOTHESPINS & DIY MAGNETS
I recently found these breakfast food clothespins at Bed Bath & Beyond and was inspired to make my own clothespin rewards! Somehow everything is a little bit cuter on a clothespin or a magnet, and you can more easily attach them to a background, headband or headphones, name tag, whiteboard, etc. This is helping me repurpose a lot of my 2D props that just sit in a box most of the time. Now I can clip a bunch of different veggies or animals to a laminated piece of scrapbook paper or to my necklace and reference them throughout class. It adds a little more fun and visual interest for the students.
I got this animal/ABC placemat at Kmart over the summer and it’s quickly become one of my most used props! Placemats are often sturdier than posters or cardstock manipulatives, and some of them can be written on with whiteboard markers. I like these animal ABC placemats too.
BEADS, CHARMS, AND ERASERS
I used to use wooden stringing beads like these in another job, and I recently saw some at a friend’s house and was reminded of what a great prop/reward they are for online teaching! Buying a set of beads or charms can be an inexpensive way to get a ton of rewards systems and props. I also love eraser packs for the same reason. I don’t have kids so I don’t have toys around my apartment to use in my classroom, but little things like charms, erasers, and jewelry work well for my mobile setup because they’re so easy to store.
I’d love to hear about how you’re using props/rewards recently - join this conversation on Instagram!