Go Bonanza!

Bush ‘Bonanza’ Days Use Staff Talents To Entice Good Behavior

Bush Elementary School students participate in an outdoor game during a Bush Bonanza Day where students are rewarded for good behavior.

Bush Elementary School has re-vamped the way they encourage positive behavior at the school. In the past several years, staff gave out tickets to students who followed the school’s motto: “I am Respectful, I am Responsible, I am Peaceful.” Then, students could “cash in” their tickets for items at the school store. The tickets are still given out, but the end reward has changed this year.

“We found that students didn’t necessarily connect getting ‘stuff’ with our positive behavior and school pledge,” said Bush School fourth-grade teacher Tiffany MacCallum. “Instead of purchasing items, we decided to offer experiences to students based on how many tickets they collected in a month. We have a building full of talented staff and a community of talented individuals who can provide amazing experiences that will hopefully encourage our students to follow our motto.”

Every month, staff talks up the experiences to motivate students to save tickets. The fourth-grade team took on planning of the activities for September and October, but different grade levels will carry on the planning throughout the year. In September, students experienced outdoor games – everything from corn hole to a giant Jenga game to a kickball tournament. Depending on the number of tickets collected, students picked an activity to participate in. Every child participated in an activity and every staff member, and several Jamestown High School students, assisted with a group and contributed to the “experience” for one-hour.

“We had really good feedback on the first Bush Bonanza Day,” MacCallum said. ” The kickball game was something many of the fourth-graders wanted to participate in. It was a very good incentive to remind students that they had to earn their way into the game with great behavior.”

Teachers also enjoyed having a mix of students from K-4 in their rooms, some learning how to hoola hoop for the very first time. Fourth grade students were able to also step up and help the kindergarten students get to the activity they had signed up for.

The Bush School staff is trying to teach the philosophy that if you want to participate, like with October’s Halloween/fall-related experiences, then you have to work hard to achieve it. October’s experiences include the high-ticket experience of the Witch’s Kitchen where students will get to create a “frothy” Witches’ Brew and Candy bark with gummy worms and eyeballs. But even those with fewer tickets have fun activities like making “ghost” lollipops or dipping apples in caramel.

The Bush School Positive Behavior Intervention Committee reviews behavior data every month to see where the school should focus its attention for that month. Everything is structured within the school motto; however, the staff may choose to focus on behaviors that need to improve in the school as a whole, such as being quiet in the hallways, and reward students who improve in that particular behavior.

“Behavior is a key component to learning,” said Bush Principal Dan Bracey. “As we continue working together to provide clear and consistent expectations and consequences, our school will continue to be a place where all students can learn and be successful.”