If you are around my age, you may remember the huge beanie baby craze.  People were spending a fortune to grab the hottest versions which were the most collectible.  As with most crazes, it passed and families had hoards of these cute stuffed toys stored in their homes. Now you can find them at rummage and yard sales for less than a $1 a piece making them a wonderful classroom prize!


I love incentive and praise based reward systems and am always trying to think of new ideas, that don’t always break my budget.  I also try to incorporate some learning into the models I choose.  Before this we were using a  plastic coin based system so that I could teach counting change while also offering a reward. After scoring a huge batch of Beanie Babies from a friend at a wonderful price, the Mystery Beanie Baby was born.


Every week I put up clues. I differentiate by including clues that week to week vary in complexity.  The students earn golden tickets that they use to put in to our raffle envelope.  I print out these cute tickets from Fluttering Through First Grade.

Students earn tickets in a variety of ways:

  • Completing Spelling Homework (this was an issue in my classroom, but is magically solved)
  • Showing Great Behavior
  • Being a Helper to a Friend or Teacher
  • Answering Complex Questions in Class
  • Walking Quietly in the Hallway

All week, we review the clues and talk about the vocabulary used.  Animal classification has been a large focus.  Then on Fridays, we select a winner.  Every week, every student has the opportunity to win.  So for under a dollar a week, you can use this simple classroom management system that teaches too!


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