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Rewards, Movies, and Holiday Parties? Oh My!

Is any work getting done in school during the holiday months?

I recently came across a Facebook group discussion about using classrooms using movies as a reward for everything from meeting accelerated reader (AR) reading goals to good behavior. The main complaint was that movies chosen seem to be mindless. And one mom complained that it was the second movie her kid had watched in two weeks (as a reward for “good behavior” the first time.)

This former PTO president wondered why the reward has to come in the form of a movie. Mr. Bean’s Vacation is worse than mindless and certainly isn’t teaching kids anything but pop culture pointlessness.

Plus, realize that this “reward party/movie” comes on the heels of November, a month where there was only one full week of school! Do the kids really deserve a “break?”

December has only a few weeks of school time as it is. Add holiday parties and probable breaks and “reward” days and you might not see even half the days in December instructed either.

Personally I absolutely think kids deserve breaks during the school year, and “reward parties” are certainly a viable way to encourage reading and good behavior.

But maybe it’s time to brainstorm with your school about ways to better celebrate an achievement.

My 6 Alternatives to Mindless Movie Rewards in School

  • An extra art day
  • Going for a nature walk/hike
  • Educational or historic movies
  • Working on a service project
  • Read-A-Thon afternoons
  • Extra recesses

What types of breaks would you suggest as rewards for kids during the holidays—or year round for that matter!? Does your school overdo the break/reward system? How do you feel about movies as rewards?


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Do you allow your children to watch TV or play on the computer before doing their homework?

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