Motivational Magic!

SO we all know as teachers that the first couple of weeks is dedicated to working on routines and procedures... Many positive "motivation" factors are considered in my classroom :) My first graders thrive on these little tricks of the trade! This entire post is dedicated to what I like to call my box of "motivational box" (aka some of the many "tools" on my teacher belt!).

1. My Behavior Clip Chart
Sorry for the somewhat blurry picture, but this is my behavior clip chart. There are hundreds of variations on these, but this is mine :) All of kids start on green- Ready to Learn, and there are possibilities of them moving up and down. My moving "up" choices are orange (great choices), purple (excellent effort), and gold (super star)! My moving "down" choices are blue (warning), yellow (slow down), and red (parent contact: think sheet). My kids have individual behavior calendars and they color their behavior calendar everyday. Parents get to check the calendar daily. If a child has 5 red days in one specific behavior (correlated with behavioral standards), I mark that on the report card (this way, we have no parents claiming that they did not "know" about the behavior issues at hand).
2. Brownie Points
I originally started "brownie points" a couple years back, but I saw this snazzy visual display on Pinterest... So I typed up a sign using some fancy font and made some brownie clip art pieces. I use a magnetic dot on the back of the brownie pieces and stick them onto the metal sheet pan. My students earn a "brownie" point when they get a compliment walking in line, at specials, at lunch, etc. This is basically encouraging positive behavior when we are transitioning through the school building and/or in specials classes.
3. Brain Spray
I purchased a $1 spray bottle in the toiletries section of Target and filled it with water. I sprinkled some multicolored glitter and ta-da! BRAIN SPRAY. Now... what can you use brain spray for? Anything that you want :) I primarily save my brain spray for testing and times where I really need my kiddies to "think". I literally will mist each of the kids with the spray and say that the magic spray will "activate their brain" and make them think better :) Works like a charm! My sticker label that I made fell off in my move, but I have made a new label that I am going to cut out and mod podge on the bottle. Click here for your label!
4. Power Pellets
This is a brand new trick that I just started and it is BEYOND genius! The original idea came from here and I basically I made a fun label (I thought power pellets deserved a "powerful" superhero type font and lightning strikes {you can't see my lightning strikes on the side, but they are there!} and filled with Skittles aka POWER PELLETS. Whenever my students are in the "power position" (aka "listening/focused" position on the carpet), they can earn a power pellet to help keep them attentive and focused. WORKS AMAZINGLY!!! Try it. ASAP. It is life-changing :)
5. Silent Sprinkles
This is another original... I basically bought a $3 sugar container and filled it with white rice and glitter. I taped and glued the hole shut (I left the "flap" to the container open so it can make the "noise" to be more realistic!). Whenever my kids are noisy/chatty, I "sprinkle" the silent sprinkles over their heads and then tell them to use the magic silent sprinkle to get self-control.. Works like, well magic :) :) :)
6. Quiet Critters
This is the new update to my old use of "Warm Fuzzies" (still have a deep rooted love my old guidance counselor and his warm fuzzies and cold pricklies)... I saw the idea here on The Lemonade Stand and I even used her super cute label! Basically, you make the quiet critters with a pom-pom, heart-shaped foam piece (for the feet) and mini wiggle eyes. I tell my students that my "quiet critters" need a friend to take care of them, but they only can survive/like QUIET friends. GUESS WHAT? Instantly quiet class. The kids love them. My kids have named their quiet critters and made homes for them. Obsessed.
7. Happy Rocks

This idea came from the Kinder Gals... I have not used these cute guys yet, but I am planning on using these for positive behaviors (specifically when my students are great friends to one another and go over and beyond... I am thinking that these can be "happy rocks" because the student helped spread "happiness" by helping/caring for others).
8. Table Points
I do my table point system a little but different than most... I bought small green buckets from the Target dollar section and I mod-podged their animal table names directly on the bucket (this graphic is from Scrappin' Doodles... I just applied for my commericial license so as soon as I receive it, I will share it with you!).  I place marbles into their bucket when they are cooperating, have clean supply buckets, chairs pushed in, etc. The table gets to "negotiate" a prize with me when they reach 15 marbles.
Well this is just some of the many things that I use in my classroom... They make life easier for me :) AND the kids like/love them. It's a win-win situation.
How do you handle your classroom management? I would love to hear about it!
Happy Classroom Management, friends.


  1. So many great ideas....I am totally going to try a few next week....brain spray, brownie points! Thanks for linking up!

    CArrie :)
    The First Grade Derby

  2. You have wonderful ideas. I love them.

  3. Just found your blog - I am your newest follower!
    Come check me out when you get a chance...
    Timeouts and Tootsie Rolls

  4. Thanks for the great ideas!

  5. Ugh. I LOVE the quiet critters! Genius! And how fun to watch them take care of those little critters? Thank you for such an awesome idea!


  6. Love love love love love!!! Did I say love? Thanks for sharing!!

  7. You have some really cute ideas! AND so simple to put together! Thanks for sharing them with all of us.

  8. Can I suggest....good luck dust? I keep a sparkly bag with invisible dust that I sprinkle on the kids prior to every test while I say in a silly voice "sprinkle sprinkle". They LOVE it. Please follow my blog:

  9. Thank you so much for all the great ideas. I cannot wait to use them in my classroom this fall!

  10. This is great! I am adding your button to my blog!

  11. I teach grade 7, but your ideas make me want to teach little ones to try them out...almost. :-)

  12. Your ideas are genius!!! As a first year teacher, they just might help keep my sanity :) Thanks for sharing!!!!

  13. LOVE your ideas!! Thanks for sharing! What do you do when the kids earn a certain number of brownie points? Is there a certain type of reward?

  14. Hi ,

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  15. Love your ideas, whimsical and creative.

  16. These are all really cute ideas! I love them all except for the power pellets. I really don't think its fair to give kids artificial dyes and sugars and then expect them to be quiet :)

  17. Thank you so much for your brilliant ideas! I am a newly qualified teacher looking forward to getting my own class and putting your ideas into action.

  18. Love the Power Pellets and Brain Spray....thanks for these marvellous ides.

  19. Love the ideas! Do you have the behavior calendar that goes home each night correlated to your clip chart?! I would love to see that! Email is .. Thanks!!

  20. HI. I just found your blog via pinterest. It's very clear that you love your job and do your best to keep the kids all happy and learning. I love all the great ideas. Thinking I may have to use some of your ideas. I'm not a teacher but a mom who is considering homeschooling my children because they are not thriving in public school right now. I just wanted to add one word of caution (again this is not me trying to be mean) but many children reactive negatively to artificial colors and flavors- so the Skittle idea would be horrible for my son. Please go to and just check out the website. They are a non profit that has helped so many kids and parents and I think every teacher needs this information in their arsenal. Again- great ideas. Thanks for sharing.

  21. I love love love love your ideas! I was wondering, would u be able to share with me the individual behavior calendars that you send home with your students each day? I really think that would be the perfect addition to my behavior modification program in my classroom. My email is thanks so much!

  22. Thank you for sharing these fantastic ideas! I'd love to be a student in your classroom!

  23. Love the post! Thank you! Please check out my site if you have a free moment.

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. Thanks for sharing your methods of promoting good behaviour and motivation Mrs Gerlach! They are all great ideas, many of which I hope to experiment with during my next teaching placement. These approaches appear to promote children’s motivation in order to inspire children to remain on-task. I am aware that this is extremely important and it has been emphasised by Bruner (1962), who suggests that children's learning relies on how motivated the child is .
    The ‘brain spray’ seems to be a great way of providing children with more confidence and self-belief, as many children lack the confidence to accomplish tasks or succeed in different learning situations (Winne and Perry, 2000). Whilst the ‘silent sprinkles’ provides an interesting alternative to enable specific children to remain quiet when it is required, rather than continuously calling out the same child’s name.
    I look forward to implementing some of these myself and to reading more of your posts.

    Bruner, J. Goodnow, J. & Austin, G. (1962). A study of thinking. New York: Science Editions.

    Winne, P. H., and N. E. Perry. 2000. “Measuring Self-regulated Learning.” In Handbook of Self-regulation, edited by P. Pintrich,

  26. Thank you for the amazing ideas! Love them all

  27. How exactly does the Brain Spray "work like a charm"? It sounds like you're just spraying kids with water so they'll "focus"? I'm not a teacher, but this just sounds insane.