Monday, December 3, 2012

Treat Bags -12 Days to Winter Break Countdown!

One of our bags!!

Well we have made it to that exciting time- countdown to winter break.  Hooray!  Teachers and students are feeling it... and we know that as students get more and more excited about the break and the holidays, behavior gets a little... shall we say... unruly?  I'm not much for "bribery," but I am all about rewarding those students who are constantly doing what they are supposed to be while their peers are acting up.  So, our 12 days to Winter Break Countdown is not exactly bribery, but, maybe if it can motivate some of those students to behave just a little bit longer, they can earn the incentive, too.  As with most things, this was not my original idea, but an idea that several teachers at my school participate in.  I'm not sure where it originated from, but I'm glad to share it with others if it can help us all make it, sanely, to our break!!  :O)

Here's how it works:  We send home a letter that explains what we are up to.  It explains how students get excited and sometimes their excitement gets in the way of learning.  It asks for parents to send in something very small that we can add to our bags each day for those students who have shown excellent behavior.  We ask that parents send in one per child in the class.  We suggest items like individually wrapped candy, pencils, erasers (basically anything you can find at the local Dollar Store or in a dollar section).  Then, when there are 12 days left until break (which for us would be tomorrow, Dec. 4th) we begin putting the treats in the bags for those students.

If each of my students actually brought in items, we'd obviously have more than 12 days worth of fun things to put in the bags.  If that's the case, on the day before the break, I add one of each of the leftover items into their bags and they get to take them home that last day before break as their goodie bag.  

Now, the question is, do I really NOT give some of the kids treats?  Well........sometimes.  If I've had to say a student's name many, many times over the course of a day (you know the child I'm talking about) I will tell them that they will not get a treat that day.  But, I will also tell them they can earn it back if they can turn their day around.  But, if the student is really being difficult, I will tell them they don't get a treat and I really won't put one in there.  Odds are, that student will still get treats on other days and the extras that we send home.

We did ask that parents send it in as a surprise, but since most of the students brought them in on the bus, they know what it is.  I am the one in charge of putting the treats in the bags, not students.  And, I do not let them look in the bags during the countdown.

As you can see from yesterday's post, we love the gingerbread stories.  I usually do a gingerbread themed party before the break as well.  So, our bags have gingerbread men and women on them.  All we did was print out a blank gingerbread man (clipart) and they colored them any way they wanted.  

Another bag!

We put our bags on the table in front of my desk so I could easily add treats.  Some teachers staple them up high along the top of their bulletin board so their students can't access them or see inside.  I tried that one year but they got so heavy they started falling off.  So, this year I decided on just putting them on my table.

Room for lots of treats!!

I hope that you have found this helpful!!  Happy countdown to winter break!!


  1. I'm doing something similar with a stocking bag! I had my students color a stocking template and then put their stocking onto a paper bag. Each day, they can earn a little treat from me and my paras!(I teach in a very low economic area and parent involvement is almost nonexistant). I like the gingerbread men!

    Teaching Special Kids

  2. I know exactly what you mean! I taught in a low income area for my first 8 years and there was no parental involvement! I picked gingerbread men because we have to be careful about it being to Christmas-y (which drives me crazy!) I love your stocking idea though! Thanks for commenting!!



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