Thursday, May 30, 2019

Bubble Wrap Incentives

Since spring break, I've discovered a cheap and effective behavior incentive--BUBBLE WRAP!
It happened by accident. I had opened a box of supplies but didn't have time to put them all away before my first class came in. The 5th graders immediately spotted the bubble wrap and begged to pop it. I told them they would have to earn the deserved the bubble wrap. They were angels!!! So, I cut off some squares and let them pop! I tried this with the next class and they, too, were fascinated with the bubble wrap. So, here's my system:

I cut the bubble wrap into squares roughly measuring 3" by 3". I had a jar with a hinged lid that was a gift from a student from Christmas. I store the bubble wrap in the jar. I have a plastic basket in the closet with a bubble wrap stash ready to refill my jar.

At the end of class, I pick some "Pop Stars" who get to pop some bubble wrap. I wait until they are standing in line and pass some out. They must pop it in line and dispose of the spent bubble wrap in my trashcan on their way out the door. 

I have even offered therapeutic bubble wrap to teachers who looked extra stressed when they came to pick up their classes. No one has refused!

During the last 2 weeks of school, I got a package in the mail that included these giant pillow bubbles. I have now called them "Super Bubbles" and I have chosen one person in each class to stomp on a super bubble.

Students and teachers have learned of my bubble wrap rewards and have been bringing me their bubble wrap to replenish my stash. I'm sure between donations and my own habit of online shopping, I will not have to spend a dime on more bubble wrap.

The bubble wrap was such a hit, I'm sure it will return in the fall to start the school year. How are you surviving the end of the school year? Do you have any incentives to encourage good behavior? I'd love to hear your comments.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Instrument Repair: Recorder Block

In my 14 years teaching, I’ve always used Yamaha 3-piece recorder and I’ve never had a recorder sound block fall out... until now! This student tried to fix it himself and got the block misaligned and stuck. In the video below, I show how I attempted to remove the block safely so I could fix it properly.  

Have you ever had a sound block fall out of a recorder? This was my first and it certainly challenged me to think outside the box. If you do not already have an arsenal of tools in your classroom, you should consider getting a multi-tool and a quick change screwdriver like the ones I used in the video. I am often needing them to repair something quickly and I am glad I don't have to wait to borrow tools from the custodian. I bought these tools very cheap at Walmart during my first year teaching and they were a great investment. Links to similar products can be found below.


This is usually found in the sporting goods section with camping or fishing gear. You can get one similar to the one I have for about $10. Here is a link to purchase.

Quick Change Screwdriver

This can be found in the hardware section. You can get one similar for around $5 or $6. Here is a link to purchase.