The Hot Seat

As a bonus to the series I have written on classroom discipline, here is a fun class motivation technique that I have used to encourage appropriate behavior in the classroom. It’s called “The Hot Seat.”

The Hot Seat works in elementary classes and is great as a way of encouraging the kids to motivate each other to behave and participate in class.
Essentially, the teacher will choose one seat before class begins. That is now the hot seat. The teacher does not reveal the location of the hot seat until the end of class. The child sitting in the hot seat will get to choose a prize from the hot seat bag if they have participated, been respectful, and obeyed the class rules.

To prepare, the teacher needs to find a medium size gift bag and fill it with small prizes – pencils, erasers, candy, stickers, small notepads, etc. Print out and laminate the Hot Seat poster.

This technique works to encourage an entire class to participate and behave because they never know if they are sitting on the hot seat. In order to be fair, the hot seat needs to change every week and the teacher needs to resist the urge to give every student the opportunity to win.
This situation arose in one of my classrooms. The teacher was more focused on being fair and making sure every student had an opportunity to win a prize from the hot seat bag than on encouraging appropriate behavior from the kids in his class. He ended up keeping a list of who had won the hot seat prize in the past and choosing the hot seat based on where kids ended up sitting. The students in the class figured it out. The ones who had already won a hot seat prize realized that they no longer had any motivation to follow the rules since they wouldn’t be on the hot seat.
This technique works as a motivation because it is random – every week each student could be sitting on the hot seat. Kids like the thrill of waiting to see if they could be the hot seat winners.

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