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The Chip Program – Improving Teamwork

There’s a new program in which local Business Voices members are spreading the word. It’s called the Chip Program, and it takes some simple principles that have worked in the past to help inspire better behavior patterns for kids.

The idea is this: kids receive special poker chips as a reward for good behavior patterns. Any student in a given class can win, and the student with the most chips at the end of each week wins a prize. Students vote on what the prize is from the beginning, so it’s something everyone is excited about.

Peck Elementary’s Success With The Chip Program

Antonio and Carla McCoy tested this approach at Peck Elementary where Carla works. At Peck, kids decided the reward would be a McDonald’s meal with Carla, and it ended up being a relatively inexpensive program (~$400 annually) and had some great results. Bullying and misbehaving diminished, and the kids had a stronger sense of teamwork and unity.

The improvement was measurable, which appeals to schools all over. Often times plans to improve attention, learning, and behavior are abstract in terms of what degree they help. But in this case there are real numbers teachers can point at to demonstrate improvement, and the kids all benefit from better structure and teamwork.

How Full Is Your Bucket?

This idea is related to the philosophy in the children’s book How Full Is Your Bucket. In the book, a little boy is told that we all have a bucket full of goodness/happiness. Every action we each make either adds to or takes from someone else’s bucket. So for everything we do, we have to ask ourselves whether we’re adding to someone else’s bucket or taking from it.

In classrooms where this book was shared, when a student mistreated someone else the teacher simply asked “Timmy, are you adding to or taking from the bucket?” Often the student would lower their head, replying in a sullen voice that they were taking. Over time the philosophy all but eliminated bullying because everyone understood the value of adding to others’ buckets. No one wanted to be known as the person that constantly takes from others.

These are programs everyone can help with, and ways we can all work together to keep the school day as positive as possible for students. Keep it up, everyone!

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