When December rolls around, it can be tempting to set aside your usual reward system in favor of something special. With disruptive behaviors on the rise and an interrupted classroom schedule, it might feel like desperate times call for desperate measures. In this post, I wanted to share how simple whole class behavior incentives can still be helpful in December. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel in order to keep your students’ behavior on track as winter break approaches!
What Are Whole Class Behavior Incentives?
There are many different variations of whole-class behavior incentives that you can use in kindergarten. The whole class reward system that I like to use has students work toward a common behavior goal in order to put together the pieces of a picture. Once the picture is complete, they earn a pre-determined reward. I have written a post about how to set up a whole class behavior incentive if you’d like even more details.
5 Reasons to Keep Using Whole-Class Behavior Incentives in December
Like I mentioned above, many teachers feel the need to try out special incentives or reward systems during the month of December. I totally understand why they would feel like this! After all, the behavior honeymoon period is over, the schedule is flipped upside down, and disruptive behaviors are on the rise. However, there are five reasons why I recommend sticking with a simple behavior incentive…even during the month of December!
1. Maintain Consistency
If you have been using a whole-class behavior incentive up to this point, continuing it through December will provide much-needed consistency for your kindergartners. We know that our students thrive on routine! Rather than change yet another part of the daily routine during a month of interruptions, lean into your familiar behavior incentive. You don't need to come up with something special just for December. Plus, you can get right back into the same behavior management routine after the long winter break from school.
2. Provide Visual Support
For teachers who are able to decorate for the holidays, it might be tempting to take down the whole-class behavior incentive with the addition of other classroom decor. While it is a good idea to pick and choose what items are on display in your classrooms to limit distractions, a whole-class behavior incentive is something that's worthwhile to keep on display in December.
A behavior incentive can be a helpful visual support for your students. My whole-class rewards include a visual reminder of the behavior goal and reward, so students can be reminded of the incentive throughout the day. Keeping the reward on display makes sure that it stays top of mind for everyone during this busy month!
3. Channel Seasonal Excitement
Rather than compete with your holiday decor, your reward system can add to it! I have created a set of behavior incentives that can be used in your classroom during the holiday season. Your students’ holiday excitement can be channeled into the process of building these seasonal pictures with positive behavior choices. These fun reward ideas can also help to improve student buy-in.
If you’re not able to use holiday-specific decorations in your school, I have included more general options like a reindeer without a red nose and gingerbread houses. Not only are these less holiday-specific, they can also be used after Christmas is over!
4. Catch Students Being Good
We’re more likely to notice something when we’re looking for it. When disruptive behaviors are on the rise, you might find yourself watching for only those behaviors. This increased focus on negative behavior means you will see many more of those behaviors. Plus, you’ll be less likely to notice all of the positive behaviors happening in your classroom!
A whole-class reward system can help you and your students focus on positive behavior choices. This doesn’t mean that you expect 100% of your class to be demonstrating the target behavior all at the same time! Instead, you can watch for individual students to exhibit the desired behavior and then add to the whole-class reward when you see someone making a positive choice.
This will improve the overall tone of your classroom in December, when you might find yourself correcting more and more disruptive behavior as the holiday break draws closer. It can also encourage students to demonstrate the target behavior so that they can get caught making good choices!
5. Incorporate Rewards with Holiday Fun
This particular incentive is helpful because you can incorporate the rewards into seasonal fun that's already happening. The rewards for your behavior incentive don’t have to be complicated or take a lot of time or money. For example, your students might earn a stuffed animal day from their whole-class incentive. You could then schedule this reward for the same day that your school is having a holiday read-in.
You could also reserve some special seasonal rewards for your class to work towards in the month of December, like a hot cocoa party. These rewards are perfect for the last few days of school, so you can send your students to winter break on a positive note!
Printable Whole Class Incentives for December
If you would like to help your students keep their behavior on track during December, you’ll want to grab this printable resource! You can quickly prep these simple reward systems to that they’re ready to go after Thanksgiving.
This bundle comes with four different reward themes that are perfect for December. Each theme has at least two different options so you can best meet the needs of your class. Some rewards have more pieces to earn than others, which is also helpful for customizing the incentive for your class. If you'd like to take a closer look at this resource, you can find it in the Teaching Exceptional Kinders shop and on Teachers Pay Teachers.
More Tips for Whole Class Rewards
If you’d like to take a closer look at my printable whole-class behavior incentives for December, check out this video! I walk you through how quick and easy it is to set up this reward system. Plus, you can take a closer look at the different reward options.
Save These Whole-Class Behavior Incentives
Are you short on time? Be sure to save this post so you can quickly find it later! Just add the pin below to your favorite teaching board on Pinterest. You’ll be able to come back to these tips and printables whenever you need them!