Pebble Jars

After the middle of the school year, the novelty of some of my class reward systems began to wear off a bit and so I decided to come up with something new and fun. I visited a first grade teachers class one day and discovered this cute classroom management idea that I have now implemented into my classroom.

First, you need to have students in groups in order to do this. It is really helpful for encouraging kids to work together, stay on task, and move quickly during transition time. You can name your groups, number them, whatever...I gave mine colors. Each group should have their own jar or small container. You need to purchase the "pebbles" to fill the jars as well. I bought some decently sized glass beads that you often see in vases. You can use whatever you choose, i.e. marbles, clear plastic fish tank pieces, etc...

You will also want to make sure you somehow display how many pebbles each group has earned so they don't relentlessly ask you, "How many pebbles do we have now??" I got lucky and found some cube shaped jars with chalkboard paint on them so I can just write the number they have. The teacher I borrowed this from had hooks hanging above each jar. On the hooks were index cards on rings. The index cards had numbers on them so she could just flip that groups number to the right amount of pebbles for the kingdom of the classroom to see! I also thought of making a bar or pictograph of each group to keep track of how many pebbles have been earned.

When you see a group doing a nice job, give their jar a little love by adding a pebble. You will want to make a poster or chart of rewards so the kids know what they are working towards. When a group reaches 5 pebbles, decide on a treat. I have a plastic three drawer thing (not sure what to call it) and each drawer is a different increment. The first drawer is the 5 drawer which I have filled with a multitude of candies. The 10 drawer is filled with small knick knacks and trinkets like pencils, erasers, post its and pads. The 15 drawer is filled with larger trinkets and toys such as koosh balls and other fairly inexpensive toys from the dollar store!

After 15, I moved on to different rewards like Homework passes for 2o, lunch with your favorite person for _______, extra recess for _______, and McDonald's lunch for _______. You can choose you own rewards. These are just examples.

This has been really nice for my room! It allows each group to have the chance to earn rewards. Though some groups will take longer than others (because you know, they have special friends), eventually/hopefully they will all reach the top. After you reach your highest level, just start over again!

The only bad thing about this is that you may want to move a students seat or multiple student's seats and it kind of stinks to have to move someone/them from a group with a certain number of points already earned. But, I guess you could argue they have to suffer the consequences of their actions!

What classroom management/reward systems do you use in your classrooms? What are some ideas you have heard of to motivate students?


  1. I like that idea for high schoolers! I think that positive reinforcement is a great motivator for kids.

  2. I LOVE this idea! Our school library uses this system to reward students for turning in their books each week. If the entire class brings their books back on time, the class gets a marble...if someone forgets they do not get the marble. After 25 marbles are collected the class is rewarded.


Treats for the Teacher