Then...I went to my favorite thrift store nearby and found all this amazing stuff for school, just $8.00!
Last year I was trying to think of how to implement a behavior management program in a classroom with very vocal, high-intensity elementary students in special education. Smiley Face System The system I used for one of the students worked well, for 30 minutes at a time, but how could the teacher manage 8 students who were equally intense? Here's my idea:
Set the computer to use an automatic timer system, sounding a gentle alarm every "x" minutes. Hopefully, it can be an intermittent timer so the students don't figure it out too easily. One Timer Option
Each student has an identity, based on what little plastic critters are available. Susie's a butterfly, Johnny's a starfish... The hard-working teacher keeps 5 or so of each critter in her traveling basket, or pouch attached to her belt. When the timer goes off she pulls out one randomly-selected critter and looks to see if the corresponding student is 1) working hard with smart fingers and 2) paying attention to the task at hand. If so, the student gets to put the critter in his/her critter cage and earn a point toward a classroom privilege.
Yes, this interrupts the lesson and yes, there may be squabbling about this or that related to the system. However, over time the intervals between alarms can lengthen and students might increase their attention to their work, a little.
Remember, yard sale-ing and thrifting are really noble pursuits because you're helping recycle things in the environment, supporting lots of charities and building up a big nest egg for your future with all the money you'll save.