All of the excitement leading up to the holidays can certainly cause a lack of focus - for both children and adults - making it difficult to stay on task and to get your daily learning goals accomplished. Selecting a "mystery elf" each day offers a great way to inspire your students to funnel their energies into the appropriate tasks!
The Mystery Elf
Chosen at the beginning of the day*, the point of the system is that the mystery elf is just that -- a mystery! Throughout the day, as you move through your lessons and, perhaps, run into some behavior issues, remind your students that you're watching the mystery elf. Why is this important? If, at the end of the day, your mystery elf has demonstrated exemplary behavior - following instructions the first time, staying on task, etc. - they get a special prize!
This is a great way to motivate the entire class because no but you knows the identity of the mystery elf so each student will make an extra effort just in case they are the mystery elf. Note also that the anonymity works in your favor in the event the mystery elf has not been well-behaved. You get the benefit of your students striving to be on their best behavior, the 'elf' in question is never singled out, and you can simply skip the prize and try again the next day!
While this system isn't fool proof, it's sure to get your kiddos' attention and, hopefully, help inspire better overall behavior so you can get things done before break!
*We suggest covering a recycled Pringles chips can with Christmas wrapping paper, putting craft sticks with student names printed on them inside, and randomly pulling a craft stick each morning.