Treats for 4th graders -

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Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 406
   Posted 5/1/2007 5:43 PM (GMT -7)   
I teach 4th grade in a highly diverse urban setting. Poverty is a HUGE issue and to say these kids have poor eating habits in an understatement. Most also appear to have no sense of intrinsic motivation, and unfortunately my colleagues are in the habit of bribing their students with food.

I REFUSE to do this ... although I did recently succumb to sugarless gum. BUT, I don't like this. As our academic population gets poorer and poorer they also become more and more extrinsically motivated. It's sad.

I am looking for small "cool" rewards that don't encourage poor eating habits.

Any ideas?

We're waaaaaay too cool for stickers ...


Thanks for any and all suggestions -
Cheers -


age 52/Type 2 diabetic/"controlled" by diet and exercise

Lanie G
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Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 6028
   Posted 5/2/2007 6:29 AM (GMT -7)   

4th graders too cool for stickers?  Hmm.  You're right food rewards seem to be what many teachers resort to.  It's hard coming up with inexpensive rewards too.  How about "points" that lead to being in charge of some things in the classroom like taking attendance (which you do anyway but they can think they're responsible), collecting homework, being your helper with "important" matters like distributing memos or papers, taking someting to the office, leading the class to the cafeteria, things like that.  Colorful pencils and erasers.  Stores like Dollar Tree (those "dollar stores") here have books that cost just $1 and could be a major award.  But no CANDY - because we know where that leads.  nono


"pre-diabetic" controlled so far by diet and exercise

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 5/2/2007 8:51 AM (GMT -7)   
You could try introducing the board game of "Life" in your classroom. Rewards would give playing time in their particular game. When the alloted time is up they could record where all members are on the board and put it away. Chess is another great board game and once taught is essentially addictive. It has all of the battle strategy of a video game, they get to 'kill off' the bishops and queens, sacrifice pawns in the battle... it's a way cool game and again, the placement of the pieces could be recorded between times if the game is disturbed. Maybe a picture with your cell phone?

You could make a pseudo city for them. Setting up a reward savings and loan bank with rewards being used to bank toward an amount for their business. behaviour and classwork could all be rewarded in 'paychecks' that the students track in the accounts. They could form partnerships and further their interests, hold mock elections, invest in imaginary real estate... And every day you could pull an economic situation our of a hat that helps or hinders their businesses. Bad weather, theft, a convention comes to town (every business gets a bonus $1000 or whatever).

Just my 2Ā¢.
~ Jeannie
Forum Moderator/Diabetes & Fibromyalgia
~Please remember that 50% of all doctors graduated in the bottom half of their class!
Yours may be one of them...

"People are like stained glass windows: They sparkle and shine when the sun's out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within."
- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 104
   Posted 5/2/2007 9:15 AM (GMT -7)   
As a retired teacher, I understand your problems first hand. Here is what I did to help the students see the benefits of working for a long term goal as opposed to immediate gratification for a small task. I found four discarded fairly flat boxes and wrapped them in construction paper - 3 in blue and 1 in bright red. I divided the class into teams for academic baseball. They had to teach each other (peer pressure) and work as a team on each problem. At the end of the unit the teams played each other. I had questions and problems that they had to solve while standing on the red box called 'home plate'. Some papers that I drew from the question box would be multiple parts, so it was possible to get more than one base and "push" a teammate onto home for a run and a score. It took days to play because the kids did not want to quit. One teacher even liked the idea so much that we began competing at the end of the year between rooms. Now as to the "reward".....sometimes it could be popcorn for the class if the score was very close or only the winning team got to have their lunch outside, etc. The result was children who taught themselves and each other and wanted to learn because they saw a longterm benefit to it. If everyone was doing a great job with the game and obeying the rules like not talking while a teammate was up and being very still, I would reward them for immediate good behavior with apples that were divided into portions by the team ahead at the time. Apples were really no big treat (like candy), but the fact that everyone wanted to get the biggest piece was.....and it was prepared and served by their peers. (P.S. As a teacher, it is so frustrating when you see how much the kids are eager to learn from each other when you got your degree and prepared at night to make a wonderful presentation. Oh, well, I tried to go with what worked!) When I left the school, one little boy lamented "No more baseball!" And baseball is a good idea because the boys don't think it is "girly". Be sure you reward the winning team though so next time you finish a unit they will work harder knowing that not everyone is going to get the 'prize'. Once they understood the game and the rewards, I would use it for many examples of the benefits of hardwook and waiting for that big reward.....even the idea of fairplay and supporting your friends, etc. Oh, and I never let the same group of kids play on the same team everytime or pick who their teammates would be. I tried to be overly fair as the refereeĀ” Hope this works as well for you as it did for me.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 1449
   Posted 5/2/2007 11:56 AM (GMT -7)   

fresh fruit or dried fruit seems OK

avoid glace fruit or dried fruit coated in sugar

recovered former longtime anxiety and panic attack sufferer and helper of other sufferers  but no training or  qualifications in medicine or psychology, any remarks that may be taken as advice must be confirmed with doctor or other health professional
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