The prompt over at Sunday Scribblings is Punishment and Reward, which got me thinking about Ticket Day. In my son's 1st grade class, every Friday is Ticket Day. All week long, the kids have the opportunity to earn a ticket for good behavior. It's a reward system administered by the teachers in the classroom. You don't get a ticket for just following the rules, but for going above and beyond. You might earn a ticket for helping another student or for holding the door open without being asked. Each table can earn tallies for good behavior and 5 tallies are worth a ticket.
Then, on Friday all the tickets are collected and a drawing is held. If you win the drawing, you get a reward prize (JT's favorite is a homework pass). The more tickets you have in the drawing, the greater your odds of winning. A winner is drawn for each of the 3 tables in the room. Five children sit at each table. So the odds are pretty good that every child in the room will win at one point or another.
Not surprisingly, JT loves Ticket Day. He plans all week to earn tickets so that the odds will be in his favor. Because the system works by rewarding good behavior, he has an incentive to behave well. But the system is intermittently reinforcing, so good behavior doesn't always earn a prize beyond feeling good about behaving well. And to me, this is the real lesson of Ticket Day: that when we do right, we feel good.