Thursday, March 01, 2007


We like to keep motivated around here and so we often have some sort of motivational system going. I have found, however, that the children grow tired of the same old systems and they cease to be motivated by them once this happens. To keep things fresh, I have to "invent" a new system every so often. Here is the latest and it is a hit! (so far)

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the "Happy, Happy Apple Tree." We've given it a very positive sounding name, you'll note, with hopes that the child for whom it is designed will not forget that it is on the fridge just waiting to reward him for good behaviors. This is a positive experience. This is motivation (smile, smile).

The Goal: To fill the tree with the fruits of his good deeds (apples)

How is it done?

Simple. Half way through the day, this child may put an apple sticker in the "Happy, Happy Apple Tree" if he has behaved well in the specific area in which he is working. He may do the same at the end of the day if he has behaved well from lunch to bedtime. This way, the window of time in which he needs to behave before he is rewarded is short and, to him, seems more doable. Also, he still has a chance to be rewarded even if he slips up in one part of the day.

Should he transgress, however, at any time of the day, he must remove an apple from the tree and it falls to the ground. How sad. Let's not let that happen again.

Once the tree is filled (36 apples) he will receive an appropriate reward.

We are on day 8 of this motivational system and it seems to be working. Time will tell if these are lasting improvements, but even if they are not, this child has begun to develop good habits through practice. I like the way, too, that the other boys rally around him, encouraging him to fill his tree. And I wonder if the secret to its success isn't just the way it motivates me to be a more consistent motivator.


Matilda said...

Love it! What a great idea. Where did you find apple stickers? I am betting that the tree is some of your lovely artwork.

Mia said...

Excellent. And what a great mom those boys have. You are blessed, but I'm sure you already know :)

Suzanne Temple said...

matilda, I got the apple stickers from the local parent/teacher store.

Faith said...

I love this. (We have a chart with sunshines and stinkbugs-my own invention.) I have a feeling the "happy happy apple tree" will be part of our new system! I like that it is focused on one child. I bet he feels special; rather than oppressed by this "happy happy apple tree". (had to say it again)

Suzanne Temple said...

Oh faith, the sunshines and stink bugs sound like something that would go over really well around here, too.

He does feel special.

Thanks for visiting, mia.

Beck said...

I LOVE that happy apple tree! It would work perfectly with a certain young grump that I know!