Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Practicing Incentive

These Spirit Sticks are such a fun incentive and prize to students.  Here is what one teacher wrote to me about how she uses Spirit Sticks:

This fall I just started having my students keep practice books. I put a year's worth of practice charts in a paper folder and they are to color in an object for each day they practice. Most I created myself, but I borrowed a little from the free downloads on your site. 

I wanted to find a way to reward students who practice the most, but then didn't want it to feel like a competition where anyone would feel excluded, even if they practiced a lot. Also, I know they things happen- people get sick, strings break, etc. So I set the criteria that the student must practice at least 20 days out of the month, and if they do, they will earn a spirit stick and each month has a different theme. Twenty days isn't my ideal, but it seems to be a reasonable goal. Some of the kids will have no trouble achieving this, but it is a challenge for some! 

I'm just starting to give out the "I love Suzuki" sticks this week as a free starter to their collections so they can see what they're like. I think they're excited about it, even some of the teens who may not wish to show how cool they think it is. :) I even have an adult student of retiree age who is playing along with my incentive program. :) 

I love this idea!  One HUGE piece of advice I have to give if you are starting a Spirit Stick incentive program with your students is to keep track of what you have given.  I make a simple chart like the following and put names of my students along the top and the name of the Spirit Stick along the side. Most recently I've given out a Celebration Spirit Stick for the huge concert we participated in and a Milkshake Spirit Stick for those who performed in our summer ice cream party.  I'm a couple months behind giving that out, but sheesh - life's been busy.

I love this picture of my student who has practiced many many many days in a row!

Here is an example of what I gave out at my Spring solo recital as a gift/treat at the end.