I forgot to mention this when the subject of rewards came up.

I had a class clown when I taught 2nd grade.  He was in no way disrespectful or mean and did not purposely misbehave (most of the time).  But he loved getting the class’s attention, and it was not easy to keep them on track in the first few weeks of school.

I gave the student a sticky note, and I told him that when I go like this (modeled making a tally mark with my finger in the air) to make a tally mark on his sticky note. I told him I would do this every time he was talking out of turn, that it would be between the two of us, and there were no consequences tied to it.  By the end of the first day of doing this, his sticky note was covered and he was in tears (which was not my intention).  He had written “Bad” at the top.  I told him it did not mean he was bad and that the only reason I did this was him was because I didn’t think he knew how much he interrupted his classmates and me.  I said that I knew if he was aware of how much it was happening he would do his best to stop.  I erased bad and wrote “Room for Improvement.”  I told him that tomorrow, we’d do the same thing, but his goal was to have less tally marks.  No specific tally mark count, just “less.”  I said if he could do this, I would let him pick 2 jokes out of the joke books I had to tell the class at the end of the day.

This was the best solution to any problem I may have ever had.

Each day, the goal was to have less than the day before.  It whittled down to a much more manageable number.  He was proud of himself, and the other kids loved the jokes.