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Rewarding kindness in school: Does it help kids behave?

Credit: Kidsday staff artist / Kaylah Bozkurtian, Garden City

Our school gives out Pelican Bucks as a prize if a student is caught being good or kind. You can use Pelican Bucks at our school store, which is called the Pelicans Nest.

Once a month, every class gets the choice to save or spend at the store. In the store the prizes can cost up to 175 Pelican Bucks. For 100 Pelican Bucks you can eat lunch with the teacher you want. For 75 Pelican Bucks you can buy a Northside school shirt. For 5 and 10 Pelican Bucks you can get things like erasers and temporary tattooes.

What do we really think about Pelican Bucks? Do they really motivate kids to behave? Logan thinks they motivate kids to work harder when they are told they are getting them. Natalie thinks that Pelican Bucks don’t work for kids’ behavior because kids still act up even when they are offered the bucks.

We both interviewed some teachers in our school. A kindergarten teacher said kids like them and are motivated to work harder. A first-grade teacher feels the same way. Most teachers think kids like them and are excited about doing the right thing.

Our wallet of words is empty, and Northside students and teachers have a lot of awesome opinions. We enjoy having Pelican Bucks in our school.

Dyanne Case, Melissa Dinkelacker and Janet Nizinski’s fifth-grade class, Northside School, Levittown

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