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5 Ways to Use Reward Puzzles as a Classroom Management Plan

As an elementary school teacher, one of the most important plans to have in place is a behavior management strategy. Without one, your classroom can turn into chaos at the drop of a hat. Read on to learn 5 ways to use whole group reward puzzles as a classroom management plan. 

Reward puzzles as a classroom management plan

What Are Classroom Management Reward Puzzles?

Classroom Management Reward Puzzles are a great way to encourage your students to work hard and make good choices as a whole class. There are over 70 different reward puzzles to choose from in both 10 and 15 piece options. 

The rewards are very low cost or no cost at all, making them very teacher-friendly. To learn more about what these reward puzzles are and how to organize and store them, check out this blog post

In this post, I’ll share 5 ways to use these reward puzzles for whole group classroom management. For each of these different options, I encourage you to set the expectations for your students and communicate exactly what behavior you’re looking for as a whole class in order for them to earn a puzzle piece. 

Model the behaviors you do and don’t want to see in your classroom. This is a key part of any behavior management strategy. Review these expectations often to ensure your students always have those behaviors front of mind. 

Whenever you see the entire class meeting the expectation, award a puzzle piece and praise them as a whole group. This motivates them to help each other make good choices throughout the day. 

Extra recess reward puzzle

How to use Reward Puzzles as Part of your Classroom Management Plan

1. Transitions

These whole group reward puzzles can be used to encourage your students to transition quickly, quietly, and effectively in the classroom. This could be from activity to activity, subject to subject, or one place in the classroom to another. 

This is also a great way to help improve your class’s transitions as a whole group during your stations, either for math or literacy.

Smooth transitions are key for keeping your day flowing and on track. This allows you to get everything covered that you want to and have the maximum amount of time with your small groups. 

2. Lining up and hallway behavior

Having a behavior management strategy for lining up and hallway behavior is key in the primary grades. Students must be able to line up quietly, keep their hands to themselves, and walk in a straight line. 

There’s nothing worse than hearing, “Teacher! They’re touching me!” or seeing kids scattered all throughout the hallway as you walk down the hall by the principal’s office. 

You can encourage your students to work hard to earn a puzzle piece by lining up and walking in a straight line in the hallway. This goes for lining up in your classroom, at recess, and other classrooms as well.

You can have other teachers, such as specials teachers and team teachers let you know when your class has earned a puzzle piece. 

3. Recess/lunch/specials

While you have set rules, routines, and expectations in your classroom, other teachers and places in the school have their own as well. You can keep your behavior plan consistent by communicating how students earn a puzzle piece as a whole group to other teachers. 

These may be teachers on your team that see your students at recess or in the hallway, lunchroom duty teachers, or special teachers. These teachers can report back to you when they see your whole class working hard and earning a piece. 

It’s also effective to let your students know that other teachers will be watching for the same behaviors you expect in your classroom and can reward them with a puzzle piece as well. 

4. Classroom clean-up

Another way to use reward puzzles is to keep your students accountable during clean-up time. Cleaning up either after stations, after a fun activity, or at the end of the day can be a stressful, chaotic time. 

By using a whole group incentive to reward positive behavior, such as these puzzles, your students can be reminded during that time of the classroom clean-up expectations, procedures, and what they need to do in order to earn a piece. 

This can mean that their areas need to be clean, supplies organized, and trash thrown away all while keeping their voices at an appropriate level and their bodies in their own space. 

You can even choose a reward that they could enjoy at the end of the day after clean-up time, such as having a dance party, sitting by a friend, or having a guest reader.

5. Station-time behavior

One of the most asked questions I get is how to keep students accountable and on task during math stations. When students are rotating to math stations, that’s when the teacher is teaching at the small group table. Therefore, you can’t always be guiding students at their individual stations. 

Students need to know what on task behavior looks like at stations, what to do if they get stuck, how to ask a question (I recommend the “ask 3 before me” strategy), how to clean up each station, and how to transition between stations. 

Setting clear expectations, modeling, and reteaching expectations is so important for the success of your stations and your sanity. 

Whole group Classroom Management Puzzles are a great way to keep them accountable during this time. You can choose a few leaders in the classroom and ask them to help and encourage their group members during stations, reminding them of the goal to earn a puzzle piece and fill the board. 

You can even choose an incentive that students can benefit from during math stations, like whiteboard time, math card games, free stations, etc. 

These puzzles are a fun way to reward your students in unique ways. It’s so neat to watch them work together for the end goal together. You can grab your set of Classroom Management Reward Puzzles here in my store

To learn more about how to store and organize these puzzles, check out my YouTube video below! 

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classroom management plan using board puzzles
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