Why I Stopped Spending Money on the Treasure Box

A few weeks ago, I posted a picture about how I don’t use the Treasure Box. I am completely serious. When I stopped using the treasure box, I asked myself, what would be the best idea? I came up with my Classroom Economy and you can read all about it on my other posts. I will be completely honest with you. Below is why I stopped spending money on the treasure box.

I stopped spending money on the treasure box because I realized it wasn't appreciated.
I stopped spending money on the treasure box because I realized it wasn’t appreciated.

When I had my little one in 2015, I had one of the worst classes ever. There was a student who threw everything at me. Dead serious. He threw scissors, a desk, his notebooks, and everything he could possibly get his hands on. Lastly, he picked up my treasure box. I spent HOURS on this. I made it rainbow colors and painted each piece by hand. He picked up my treasure box and threw it. It was so big that it didn’t break, but all of my students gasped. Some cried. It was at that moment that I realized I never wanted to spend another penny on my classroom. I have a son at home who would benefit from me spending more time and money on then little trinkets in my classroom.

I may sound crazy…

Yes, this sounds like a dumb reason to stop a treasure box. Even writing this 4 years later… I know it sounds dumb. I have learned that it does not work for me. (My husband and) I didn’t want to spend money on junk. Money should be spent on something that would be appreciated. I decided to go to the one place that will give me a hundred and one ideas…Pinterest. After years of trialing different things- I decided to compile a list of what other teachers are doing around the world!

Of course as my loyal readers, yes, that’s you, I wanted to make sure you were set up for success as well. I wanted to share everyone else’s ideas with you!

Don't stress about the treasure box. I have seen teachers CRY with what to purchase in the treasure box.
You don’t need to stress out. It will all be fine!

What can you do instead of spending money on the treasure box?

These are all ideas from followers from my Instagram that have shared their idea!

1. I do class coupons. I have coupons for sit with a friend, lunch with the teacher, free homework pass, a note home, teachers chair for the day and shoes off in class. They don’t cost me anything and my kids last year ate them up. – @laylanconnorsmom

Don’t link it to behavior

2. I give a treasure box for completing homework regardless of their behavior. But I teach lils and I just like giving them stuff. For behavior I send home WOW notes or Working on…” & message parents. -@jolenemonet

3. Whole Brain Teaching’s Super Improvers!!!- @auladesrab

Spend a second to write a note to a parent about the outstanding work that their child has done.
It only takes a second to write a note to a parent.

4. Notes home. But not daily or even weekly. No trinkets, classroom economy, bribes, clip charts. None of those really work for the kids you really need it to work for anyhow. If you don’t address what’s the actual root of the displayed behavior, no trinket or clip chart will ever work. ??‍♀️ @firstinfla

5. Me too!! Years ago. Got tired of kids asking for something at the end of the day for expected behavior. Lots and lots of praise!!! -@aoutlaw

Have you tried these?

6. My students love and cherish their brag tags! And then they can also earn class coupons as a team weekly for things like choosing a go noodle, bring a stuffed animal to school, lunch with me, no math homework for 1 night etc.@karensintheclouds

7. I do coupons for things like using the teacher chair, picking your own partner, sitting in a special spot, etc. -@goodvibesgrade5

Have you tried reward t.a.g.s yet? They are perfect when you want to recognize someone's behavior right on the spot!
Have you tried reward t.a.g.s yet? Just do a quick Pinterest search and you will be BLOWN away!

8. I started using reward coupons for all kinds if simple things that cost nothing and mean much more to my kiddos than the junk they lose anyway. Favorite coupons are sit with a friend, me first, and music lover. I did keep my prize box as a coupon until I empty it. Once the junk is gone I’ll stop. @readingadventuresin4th

One of my favorite ideas!

9. I have a VIP for the week and use brag tags.  The VIP has really encouraged my kids that may act up to make better choices.  They all want to earn this privilege. (continued conversation with me
@ateacherswonderland) I used it when I taught 5th and 6th and they did!  They actually loved the VIP!  I actually taught 7 class periods, so I had a table that seated 4 for the week.  They would get all kinds of special writing tools and they were allowed to have two pieces of candy for the drawers each day. **I would ask parents to send in the candy, when it needed to be restocked.  So many bags =a hw pass.  I always got more than enough. @2nd.grade.stars

10.I tend to go more with “experiences” such as extra tech time, going to help in another classroom, etc. Although when class parties roll around, I will save those extra individually packed snacks for prizes! Everyone loves a good pack of Cheez-Its! @littleteacherwife

Have you tried table points yet?

11. The best thing I’ve seen/ used is a table points system.  Table groups get tallies throughout the day for performing various expected behaviors (first group to transition, the whole table on task, etc.). The next day the table with the most tallies gets flexible seating.  It’s easy to keep track of for the teacher, and the kids love it. @craftinginquirers

12. VIP Table @AmazingMaterials4You

Coupons=FREE=Not Spending Money on the Treasure Box!

Get ready to start trying reward coupons. They are life changing.
Reward coupons are free and here are some awesome ideas to accompany it.

1. I have used coupons for various things in the past- eat lunch with your teacher, sit with a friend for the day, sit anywhere you want, sit in the teacher chair, and so on. They are free and well liked! -@mrs.a_fisk

2. Pick out a coupon! Bring a fluffy friend, pj day, sit with a friend at lunch, read to another class, and some more! ?? -@meesa__mm

3. I use a rewards binder!!! It’s the greatest! They earn prizes like be “sock footed” for the day inside the classroom, choose a new rug spot, etc. My class LOVED it!! -@katzlovey

Why not use both?

4. I still do a treasure box but put student reward coupons in there! Still the fun of the treasure box but more meaningful rewards that don’t cost me anything! ??-@teachingwithkayleeb

5. My grade level (5th) does Bobcat Bucks. They can save their “bucks” to pay for a prize at the end of each quarter. A craft day, a board game day, or a movie day. They can buy their movie ticket and refreshments. They can earn bucks by doing their classroom jobs and by demonstrating appropriate behaviors. @hazelaiden

You aren't alone. When you stop the treasure box, you may feel lost. It's okay!
You aren’t alone. When you stop the treasure box, you may feel lost. It’s okay and you can find other things to replace it.

You aren’t alone!

1. I did it for the first time last year because I felt like all the other teachers were doing it and I was depriving my class by not having one. I couldn’t figure out a system for it and felt uncomfortable with it, it felt too much like bribery. This year I’m sticking with positive notes/messages/calls home, lunch bunch, and coupons for things like no shoes or sitting at my desk ? @samantha.lent

2. I can’t help it but buy things for my students and the classroom. I am a shopaholic! ? Anyway, I do classroom coupons to encourage good behavior and to try save money ? @ms._cinderella

It's completely okay if you still spend money on the treasure box. This is your classroom!
You can still spend money on your treasure box. I stopped because financially, it didn’t make sense.

Some will always use Treasure Boxes…and it’s okay!!!

1. I have a treasure box and my kindergarten students LOVE it. I tried brag tags and they could have cared less. The key to treasure box is getting stuff the kids actually like. I ask parents for donations but give them suggestions for what the students like. @kjlegend75

Sometimes bribery is the only option.

2. Last year I subbed in K during the last three months of school… I’m not usually one to bribe, but in that instance, bribing was surviving ? I’m moving to 5th this year, and I bought some packs on 50-100 vinyl stickers (the laptop/water bottle kind) for about $4 each. I plan on giving those out for above and beyond behaviors and very hard workers (classwork or stapled to a test)! -@mirandaclaire

3. (One of my favorites and by the most amazing Cecelia from ilove1stgrade)
I have a treasure box but it’s not tied to anything. Many of my students have so little. Sometimes on a Friday I would say I feel like giving them all a treat because I love them. They were always so grateful. Last year I had markers, pencils, erasers, harmonicas, play doh, slime, jewelry and a few sweet treats. I gave to them out of love but never a reward. @ilove1stgrade

Are you doing it wrong?

Are you wrong if you stop spending money on the treasure box?

Absolutely not. You are not doing any of this wrong at all. You are doing an amazing job and I know in my heart of hearts that you are doing what is best for YOUR class. This year – try something different! It doesn’t have to be the treasure box- or heck- try the treasure box this year. No matter what, you aren’t doing it wrong. You are doing what is best for you…and your students!

Hugs & high-fives,