The Master Sticker
The “Master Sticker” is a little trick that I happened upon one day when working with my younger kids. I was pulling the classic “I’m watching and listening and I’m going to give stickers to the kids who I think are really following directions and singing so well!” We’ve all said some version of this phrase in our teaching careers. I was looking for full participation from all the students and (without calling out certain students directly) I was trying to get my “trouble” kids to get the hint that they needed to stop goofing around and join in with our activity.
I was running low on stickers…. Okay, that’s a lie. I’m a teacher who shops at the Dollar Tree. I have endless stickers in my desk. Maybe a more accurate thing to say would be that I was running out of stickers on the sheet that was currently in my hand. With this particular Kindergarten class I really wasn’t able to walk away even for 20 seconds and not give them my full attention. There were just a few kids that I didn’t want to leave unattended even for the few moments that it would take to walk to my desk and get a new sheet of stickers from my desk. I needed a really, REALLY good reinforcement and I was running out of ammo. That’s when I happened upon “The Master Sticker.”
I told the kids that I had one more “master sticker” and said that it was the sticker that ruled all the others (or something like that). They could earn this special prize if they were doing a really fantastic job. Then to show them how cool it was, I started to peel off what was left on the sticker sheet… the extra stuff that leaves a “cut out” when you have taken all of the other stickers off. They realized that it was big, had lots of holes in it, and was the length of the sticker sheet. Their eyes widened. I told them that it was going to go to the person who was paying attention the best, watching me really well, and using their singing voice.
They all worked very hard for that master sticker and as they were lining up I gave it to someone who really had been singing and listening for the whole class. Their teacher gave me a funny sort of look when this little girl walked in front of her with a huge sticker pasted across her body, but then I just said “Oh yes! She earned the Master Sticker!!!” and the teacher laughed a little and nodded her head.
The Master Sticker. Who would have known that this little piece of sticky paper which up until now would find its way to the nearest trash can would work classroom management wonders. I’m telling you, folks. It’s a beautiful thing. Go and try it out!