If you’ve ever looked carefully in an elementary school classroom, you might have noticed a container with slips of paper in it. They’re called Golden Tickets, and they’re golden for a reason! We asked Ms Peters, our Elementary School Principal, to explain to us what Golden Tickets are and what they mean to students and parents alike.
“The Golden Ticket program is based on recognizing positive behaviors with the idea of praising [good behavior] of instead of focusing on negative behaviors. Children are given “golden tickets” by teachers, by me or by teacher assistants. For example, the music teacher might give everyone in the class a golden ticket if the class had been very attentive and participated well that day. Another example is the homeroom teacher giving children tickets if they always have their homework done. Sometimes a ticket will be given to a student who has demonstrated an act of kindness towards a fellow student.” Then, at the end of each week, Ms Peters will go to all the classrooms and pull a name from the container of Golden Tickets. The winners get a small prize from a bag of ‘goodies’ like a small toy, a sheet of stickers, or even a “fancy pencil”!
The Golden Ticket program actually emerged from a previous motivational program spearheaded by our Guidance Counselor, Ms Dietrich. From that, along with input from elementary teachers, the idea of reinforcing positive behavior evolved into the current program. The best part of the program, Ms Peters stresses, is how the students respond! At the beginning of the semester, when a student’s name was drawn a second time, they asked Ms Peters to kindly draw another name so someone else could have a chance at winning. To her surprise, each class adopted this rule of having everyone in the class win before being allowed to win again! The giving spirit of our elementary classes is genuinely impressive.
As for the parents, what can they take away from this? “Parents also (and many probably already do) use the same concept of praising what children are doing right… Children don’t always see things from the same perspective [as an adult] and may not understand what they did to earn a ‘good job'”. By explaining to them, for example, “‘I like how you stopped and asked your friend if he was okay after he fell down’, reinforces the positive act.” Having students understand why they did something good is as important as explaining why they did something bad, which is why this positive reinforcement program is so great.
With the popularity of the program among both students and teachers alike, it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down anytime soon. “We may make subtle changes at the beginning of a new school year to keep it ‘fresh’.” Ms Peters tells us, but “we have no plans to discontinue it.”
At KAS, we truly believe in fostering the positives in our students. By using the slogan, ‘Think BIG’, we encourage our students to take responsibility for their actions, good and bad while learning to interact with the world around them. With programs such as Golden Tickets, we aim to bring out the best in our students!