Classroom Reward Systems

by Presenta Plaque | on Jul 24, 2014 | No Comments

When it comes to keeping the little ones entertained and motivated in the classroom it’s all about changing things up. Kids, as we know, get bored easily at times and sometimes getting them to stay interested in classroom material can be challenging. Many teachers use reward systems in the classroom to keep kids excited to contribute and eager to learn. There are many different systems that have been used by teachers, both original and passed down. It all depends on the dynamic of the classroom and the age of students you are trying to engage.

 

Kindergarten-First Grade: At this age it’s fairly easy to keep kids motivated. School is a new environment for kids and the new people and new rules are usually enough to keep them on their toes. One of the key things kids should be getting comfortable with at this age is participation:

  • Make a chart with everyone’s names on it. Have them tally the amount of times they’ve contributed in class and reward the five kids (or whatever number you think is fair) who’ve participated the most at the end of the week. Remember to watch out for the repeat kids. You want to encourage the quiet ones too!

Second Grade-Fourth Grade: Improvement is always important, but right around this age, kids might get comfortable with school. Often the novelty of a new environment and new friends may no longer be enough to keep them eager to continue to improve. This is a good time to remind them their improvement is still being monitored:

  • Record the improvement of kids’ test scores. Let them know you’re monitoring this and encourage them to raise their test scores. At the end of the year, buy plaques for the most improved kids. They’ll love the special recognition and be motivated to continue getting better.

Fifth Grade-Eighth Grade: Right around this age, kids are beginning to value social relationships more and more. They may value hanging out with their friends more than they would recognition or treats. This is the perfect time to incorporate social rewards to encourage them keep up the good work.

  • Decide what your classroom needs to improve on, whether that’s test scores, chattiness, overall behavior or attendance. Every Friday, select one student with the best performance and allow them to sit next to a friend for the day.

High School Age: This is the time when kids want to be rewarded with things they don’t have to do. Whereas in earlier years, you could reward them with candy and stickers for the things they did do, now is the time to allow them to skip some of the more unpleasant things such as homework and dreaded assignments.

  • Make coupons for the kids who consistently turn in assignments. Reward them at random with a “free assignment” pass and let them skip it for that day.

 

As kids get older, they begin to have different motivations. Make sure to really take a look at your class and think about what particular rewards would motivate them. Remember, every classroom is different!

Easy Ways to Motivate Excellence in Your Work Place

by Presenta Plaque | on Jun 28, 2014 | No Comments

Deadlines and work loads can very quickly make work a stressful place for everyone. In the midst of exhaustion and shortages of hands, it’s easy to forget what one is working for. While feet will keep moving and the job will continue to get done, it’s important that employees know their hard work is appreciated and is not going unnoticed, even when it sometimes feels that way. There are many ways to motivate a team and remind them that no matter how frustrating the job is, someone is always taking note of their efforts.

 

Not all of these methods involve ceremonies or a gold star next to their picture somewhere in the break room. Here are some fun, easy ways to keep the positive energy flowing in your place of work:

 

Positive Reinforcement:

From a simple “keep up the good work” email to a friendly card, positive reinforcement is an essential part of keeping a team with their eyes on the prize. Take the time to tell someone when they’ve done a great job at something; even if the task seems trivial, it’s always nice to hear. This doesn’t necessarily mean dishing out the compliments at every given moment, but an unexpected “great job” can go a long way.

Award Plaques:

If you’re looking to really make your employees feel appreciated, there’s no better way to do it than with a plaque. These are something you may want to use sparingly. Plaques are a nice way to recognize hard work at the end of trying tasks or big projects that required a lot of extra hours and hard work. Presenta Plaque offers beautiful self-assemble plaque kits which make an excellent token of gratitude for employees.

Drawings:

A drawing or a raffle is a fun way to get everyone involved. The prize doesn’t have to be anything spectacular, movie tickets or a gift card are enough to say thanks. Raffles are also great because rather than isolating one person in the group and recognizing their efforts, it gives the whole team an equal chance at winning something. You can go as big or small as you want with this one, depending on how often you’d like to do it.

 

Snacks:

You really can never go wrong with food. Cookies, donuts or any snack really are a nice thing to walk in to in the morning. Make sure you set out a nice note to let them know you’re appreciative of their hard work. It’s hard to be in a bad mood when there are cookies involved!

Recognize Them at A Meeting:

Simply acknowledging someone’s hard work is usually enough, but saying thank you in front of a group of people can mean a lot to an employee. It is always great to be recognized by colleagues and others that are regularly part of your team.

 

Reinforcement: Rewarding Vs. Bribing Your Kids

by Presenta Plaque | on Jun 16, 2014 | No Comments

For as long as parents have been parenting and children –well, being children— reward  systems have been a way to let kids know when they’re on the right track. From classrooms to living rooms, kids are reassured of their good behavior through candy, certificates or just a simple “keep up the good work”. Rewarding is seen as something that is part of the learning process for kids during their stages of development. The definition of rewarding in itself means recognizing an achievement, recognizing an achievement and motivating one can sort of become one after a long day and several arguments with a preschooler. This is where rewards and bribes all start to seem like one mess of stickers, cookies and tantrums.

 

What’s the big deal? The two concepts seem so alike that it can almost feel like there’s no harm in whether you give the gold star before or after the chore. When you need change and cooperation fast, the easiest thing to do may seem to just go ahead and promise some sort of reward after they’ve reached the expectation. This is where things can get sticky (for more reasons than just spilled juice boxes). Once kids begin to understand that a touch of their tantrum and a little of your desperation could result in great things for them, you’re not likely to bring them back into the light without some serious effort.

 

So what’s the difference?  Order is a very important thing to remember when establishing whether or not you’ve resorted to bribery. Normal reward systems usually consist of a prize, compliment or award of some sort being given after the task has been completed, but there’s more to it. Giving a child an incentive right before a task instills in them the idea that they should be rewarded for acting in a way that is to be expected. If you are promising your kids video game time or candy right in the middle of a tantrum or when one is expected, they are being programmed to think that it is acceptable for their normal behavior to fall below this when they are not being rewarded. Children should not expect to be rewarded, at least not all the time, which brings us to our next point.

 

Make it a surprise, not an expectation. If kids are constantly expecting a pat on the back or a lollipop with every deed done right, they’re going to experience a lot of disappointment in the real world. Over-rewarding can also turn against you when they begin to expect an award of some sort for simple tasks. They may even go out of their way to try to earn rewards. While surprise breakfasts and kind-of clean floors can be nice at first, it will soon become something they are asking of you, rather than it instilling the good habits you’d hoped. One of the greatest parts about receiving a reward for kids is the surprise element. An important part of encouraging a child is to notice their efforts when they think they’ve gone unnoticed. This is a wonderful way to keep them humbly trying to improve themselves –also it doesn’t hurt that their overexcitement is really cute.

 

So how do I fix it? The best thing you can do at first is explain. You’d be surprised how much kids can comprehend. You have to calmly let them know that in order for things to work out for them and you, you have to make some changes. There’s a slight possibility this won’t go over well with them, in this case it’s probably best to start making changes little by little in a way they won’t immediately notice. With luck and a lot of patience, your kid will soon be back on the normal learn, reward, repeat system.

The Perfect Graduation Gift – A Plaque for the Diploma

by Presenta Plaque | on May 30, 2014 | No Comments

At the end of May or in early June, kids will be graduating from all levels in the education system —kindergarten to college. It’s a special time for any child or young adult as they take their next steps into a bigger world. It’s also important to commemorate their special achievement in a way that will stay with them forever. Present your special grad with a plaque that will enshrine their diploma forever.

 

Our Presenta Plaque kit is easy to assemble and includes everything you need to turn a diploma into a beautiful plaque that your grad can keep throughout their lifetime. The plaque comes with an acrylic cover to protect the diploma and a stylish design. All you need is a small a hammer for assembly since all the gold tacks and pieces are included.

 

This stylish plaque can transition for the child’s room to the dorm room to their office or home and stay with them forever. It’s a gift that will touch their hearts and help them remember their achievements as they continue to grow.

 

While we were thinking about graduation, we wanted to share a few of the most famous commencement quotes of all time with you — thoughts and ideas you can pass on to your graduate.

“We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: We have the power to imagine better.” — J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series

 “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life…. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” – Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple computers

“The world is more malleable than you think and it’s waiting for you to hammer it into shape…That’s what this degree of yours is—a blunt instrument. So go forth and build something with it. Remember what John Adams said about Ben Franklin, ‘He does not hesitate at our boldest measures but rather seems to think us too irresolute.’ Well, this is the time for bold measures and this is the country and you are the generation.” — Bono, U2

 “And how do you know when you’re doing something right? How do you know that? It feels so. What I know now is that feelings are really your GPS system for life. When you’re supposed to do something or not supposed to do something, your emotional guidance system lets you know. The trick is to learn to check your ego at the door and start checking your gut instead.” — Oprah

 “If you’re willing to stand for what you believe in … you won’t need advice from me, because you will be able to handle whatever comes.” — Whoopi Goldberg

 “There is nothing more beautiful than finding your course as you believe you bob aimlessly in the current. And wouldn’t you know that your path was there all along, waiting for you to knock, waiting for you to become. This path does not belong to your parents, your teachers, your leaders, or your lovers. Your path is your character defining itself more and more every day.” — Jodi Foster, Actress

Show Your Teacher Your Appreciation with a Thank You Plaque

by Presenta Plaque | on May 20, 2014 | No Comments

With the end of the school year rapidly approaching, instead of giving the teacher an apple to say thank you, why not create something more enduring. A plaque with an appropriate inscription will last a lifetime.

The plaque kit is about as easy as it comes. It includes everything you need to turn a certificate into a beautiful award plaque. The plaque is fashioned for easy assembly and comes with an acrylic cover to protect the certificate. Just print out your thank you certificate to you teacher from you home computer, assemble the plaque and slide the certificate into place. Nothing could be easier, or more appreciated by your favorite teacher.

To make the plaque even more special, try hunting for quotes online about teachers that can be inscribed on the certificate. We’ve selected a few of our favorites to share with you.

“What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child.” George Bernard Shaw

“A teacher is a compass that activates the magnets of curiosity, knowledge, and wisdom in the pupils.” Ever Garrison

“I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.”

Socrates

 “Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.”

Confucius

“Every child deserves a champion – an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.”

Rita Pierson

The Value of Developing Leadership in Today’s Youth

by Presenta Plaque | on Apr 28, 2014 | No Comments

According to Dr. Carol D’Amico, author of Workforce 2020: Work & Workers of the 21st Century, the changing nature of America’s workplace makes the need for young leaders even more important. Sadly,  for the first time in history, America’s youth is less prepared to take their place in society than their parents

Dr. D’Amico discusses three factors that make it important for youth to develop their leadership skills.

  1. Technology is changing the type of workers that will be needed in the future. Automation is taking the place of unskilled labor, making it critical for youth to develop the leadership needed to fill the better paying, safer and more stimulating jobs that will replace unskilled jobs.
  2. The saying, “It’s a small world,” will be even more applicable in the future. Unskilled workers will be competing for jobs, not just here in the U.S., but in countries all over the world. We are already feeling the effects of outsourcing American jobs to other countries. Again, American youth must be prepared to step into the more highly skilled jobs created by the demand for exported U.S. products.
  3. Another factor to take into account is the aging workforce. Nearly 76 million people (the Baby Boomers) are poised to reach retirement age over the next 20 years. However, America’s birth rate is down, meaning that the demand for skilled employees will become critical. Leadership training will be even more essential in enabling youth to develop character, confidence and values that promote the goal of healthy behavior and to be able to take their place in society.

Other benefits of youth leadership training include:

  • Better attitude about school, higher graduation rates, lower dropout rates from high school
  • Enhanced self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Healthier personal relationships
  • Better lifestyle choices
  • Decreased likelihood of substance abuse and criminal behavior

Five Tips for Planning an Awards Ceremony

by Presenta Plaque | on Apr 17, 2014 | No Comments

Luke warm food, shabby or bland surroundings, balloon center pieces, Mary from HR droning on and on when presenting awards … we’ve all been to awards ceremonies like this, probably too many times. The key to creating an event that people will look forward to is thinking creatively. Even on a small budget, there are ways to jazz things up.

Create a budget

The first step to creating an event is figuring out your budget. Big or small, it’s what you have to work with, so figure it out before booking the emcee, location, caterer, stagers, music, entertainment or creating the awards. Then stick to it!

Location

Find a unique location to host the ceremony. It’s doesn’t have to be in the meeting room at work or in a room in the local Holiday Inn. What about booking the pavilion at the zoo or botanical garden? Or finding a location at a state or local park — renting a group use area in parks can be very inexpensive. If you set aside time for your guests to explore, it’ll be that much more fun for them.

Emcee

Try to find a local speaker that can not only emcee your event, but who can wow the audience with a motivating story. What about hiring a local stand-up comedian to lighten up the atmosphere? Many speakers can tailor their presentation to your industry. If your organization works in the sports industry, try hiring a local sports caster to entertain your guests.

Awards

Most employees place a great deal of value in the simple act of performance recognition.  Often times, a simple plaque or certificate can show your employee how much you care about his/her’s job performance.  Awards are also a great way to recognize years of faithful service to a company or organization.

Atmosphere (decorations, staging and food)

Don’t use the same old table dressings. Balloon centerpieces are boring… unless you hide gifts inside and let the guests pop the balloon to get their prizes. The typical 8 x 10 stage with podium always bores people … way to much like a school lecture. If your business is the car industry, how about using the bed of a pickup truck as your stage. Last but not least, unless you are prepared to spend a small fortune, a sit down dinner is generally bland, boring and lukewarm. Consider hosting cocktail party with tasty appetizers that appeal to any food preference (vegetarian, omnivores and meat eaters alike). What about an ice cream social as the focus of your awards ceremony? Or how about setting up a barbecue challenge where your employees can trot out their grilling skills, compete for prizes and feed the gang.

 

 

 

Trophies and Awards Can Boost Dids’ Self-esteem

by Presenta Plaque | on Mar 31, 2014 | No Comments

Self-esteem is extremely important for young people. It helps them understand what they are good at and not so good at. It is important for kids to understand they aren’t perfect, but to see themselves in a positive way that is realistic. A positive self-image gives kids the courage to try new things, to respect themselves even when they make mistakes, and to learn how to make healthy choices about their minds and bodies.

For children involved in sports or any competitive activity for that matter, receiving an award is a terrific way to help boost their self-esteem. Generally, there are two reasons to give trophies. The first is to recognize or mark a special achievement, like winning a championship or setting a new record. The second, and maybe the most important, is to help motivate kids. Trophies like Most Improved and Best Team Spirit can encourage kids to try even harder, while at the same time recognizing their value to the team.

Awards and trophies should be given throughout the season, not just when the last game has been played. Verbal recognition for a job well done is terrific, but stopping practice to celebrate can have even more impact. For instance, create a roving trophy and award a “Captain for a Day” for outstanding effort on a particular drill or activity. While the child doesn’t keep the trophy, it will sit in their locker or on top of it until you award it to the next child. Of course, the trick is to avoid over-use. The trophy should only be passed on when it is well and truly earned. If a child doesn’t have to do much to earn it, then it isn’t worth much to receive it.

Last but not least, in our effort to make sure every child feels good, we may have over-used awards and trophies. Making up a category to be sure every kid gets an award doesn’t impress anyone, especially kids who can be extremely critical. So awards and trophies should be used for meaningful recognition only — something that must be specifically earned.

 

 

 

Awards and The Olympic Dream

by Presenta Plaque | on Mar 18, 2014 | No Comments

Ah, the Olympics. What is it about this competition that makes Americans stop everything and watch each event with avid interest? Well, it isn’t just Americans or even this century that draws people to the games. In ancient times, wars would stop for the Olympics. Back then, it was a time for humans to honor the gods through acts of human excellence.

Our modern Olympics may hold an even greater hope — that the world will come together peacefully and enjoy the talents of athletes, not just from their own nation, but from countries all across the world. Through televised broadcasts, or personal visits, we begin to understand, just a little, about the heritage and culture of the host country, and about the countries of all the athletes competing. The hope is that during the competition, lasing bonds are formed and that countries begin to build bridges of understanding that can lead to a lasting peace.

When an athlete receives that Olympic award, voices are united around the world acknowledging and acclaiming the hard work and dedication it took to reach the pinnacle of athletic success — no matter what country he or she is from. Winning a medal in a modern Olympic event is one of the most prestigious and coveted honors in sports. Even professional athletes, who have won championships time and again, acknowledge that there is something even more special about representing their country in the Olympic Games.

There is something about seeing an athlete from our own country win a gold that brings out the highest level of patriotism in us. We take great pride in the medal count for our country, and carefully tote up the number of gold, silver and bronze medals. But in end, what fascinates us most is the Olympic Dream — the dream of being the best in the world, even if for one short blazing span of time.

Encouraging teens to develop leadership skills and rewarding them for their efforts

by Presenta Plaque | on Feb 16, 2014 | No Comments

Here in the United States, we value leadership skills greatly. Unfortunately, we don’t do as well as we could at encouraging young people to develop these skills and rewarding them for their efforts.

Colleges emphasize leadership, we read books and watch movies about leaders and job descriptions seek strong leaders, but, surprisingly, employers are still reporting gaps in leadership abilities. Of the approximately 100 skills surveyed in The Partnership for 32st Century Skills survey, leadership ranked in the top 10. But, leadership turns out to be the second largest skill deficit in recent college graduates with about 28% of graduates are described as “deficient”.

The reason leadership skills may still be lacking is likely because good leadership requires practice and there are very few opportunities for young people to practice leading. One reason it’s difficult to practice leadership is because, obviously, only one person can lead at a time, so it’s difficult to create opportunities for every young person to practice the skills. Another problem is that many people see leadership as an inherited trait rather than a set of learned skills.

But, we believe leading is more about acquiring specific skills than possessing inherent qualities. With this mindset, successful leaders are developed by honing specific skills through practice.

There are several great ways for young people develop leadership skills. Summer camp is one great place because young people can get training on leadership from camp professionals and can practice leading younger children. Success is rewarded with happy children working together and can also be rewarded at the end of the camp session with award plaques which remind young people of the progress they have made as leaders.

Other places young people can develop leadership skills include:

  • Coaching a sports team of younger children
  • Volunteering at a YMCA or Boys and Girls Club
  • Teaching or assisting younger children at a place of worship

Note that an excellent way for teens to develop leadership skills is to work with younger children while observing older leaders and how they interact with the children.

Overall, any young person who wants to can develop his/her leadership skills. S/he should seek out opportunities to practice his/ehr skills and should be rewarded with praise, success and even award certificates to recognize developed skills.