Saturday, October 25, 2014

Spark Student Motivation Saturdays: Wacky Buttons

Time to link up again with Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching!

I love teaching 6th grade---secretly I am scared that it is a great grade level for me because I have a personality that meshes well with an 11-12 year olds.  Yep.  There are so many things to love about that age--but one thing that tickles my fancy is that many of them "think" they have seen it all and know it all.  Of course they do--they are the big kids on campus, after all.  (Such a rude awakening they are in for next year when they head off to junior high.)

So finding ways to reward them that are novel is a lot of fun.   I do believe in rewards and I think they can be motiviating--I think it is mainly because I have always loved getting prizes--always.  I remember carefully choosing tiny dolls after every dentist appointment, collecting good behavior cards from my 2nd grade teacher, "buying" a cool pencil case in 5th grade with my "classroom money," etc.  I still love carnivals and going to arcades (do they call them that anymore?!?!) and collecting tickets to get prizes (and spending way more than the prizes are worth.)  A former principal used to give us duty passes as rewards---I amassed quite a few (which I never got around to using before she retired--argh!)

A few years ago I stumbled on a website called  It is really easy to use and the buttons are quite affordable (if you purchase 50 of one design, they are about $0.25 each --a little more after factoring in shipping and handling.)  I give them out for a variety of reasons (completing all assignments for the week, being kind, helping out, putting forth effort, etc.)   I
design my own by grabbing images off the Internet.  Some of the buttons are inspirational, some are of current pop culture, some are instructional.  You are only limited by your own imagination and size (I buy the smallest one to keep costs down.)  I also learned the hard way that, for designs that aren't simple, ordering one as a sample is better than taking a chance and ordering 50.  I store them in jewelry organizer boxes that I found at Jo-Ann's Fabrics.

The kids figure out ways to display them--most put them on their backpacks.  Some use them like accessories and wear different ones every few days.  This year one kid is choosing the same one over and over again--he wants to see how many he can get.  Crazy!  They suggest new designs in their secretive 6th grade way (yesterday I heard "Wow...there are so many to choose from--too bad there aren't any Star Wars ones--that would be awesome.")  I guess I am going to get to designing!


  1. Those are awesome! I am going to look into them… the uses are endless and at 25 cents, that's hard to beat. Birthdays, math facts, reading logs. Thank you! :)
    Simple Insights

    1. They are a lot of fun! Thanks for the comment!