Although I teach junior and senior high, I still use stickers to reward good work. My general system is a big sticker for 80% plus and a little sticker for 70% plus. I also have some big honkin’ stickers for the rare but possible 100% achievements. The stickers I guy tend to shimmer or sparkle, and most feature cutesy-poo animals.
It can be tough to find animals that aren’t too second grade since, after all, many of these kids are old enough to (gulp) drive automobiles. Sea creatures are always a hit, and right now, I’m milking that popularity for all it’s worth.
In my mind, all crabs speak with a heavy Spanish accent. I blame that Honda commercial from a few years ago: “I pinch!”
I have one package of stickers that I don’t feel quite right about, though, and that is the crew from Antarctica. It features really cute and puffy glitter polar bears, with little smiles just below their pert black noses. Penguins are also along for the ride. There is an issue with the penguins however. See for yourselves:
In the world of my sticker ziploc baggie, where creatures from all walks, flaps, and swims of life live in peace and sing Beatles’ songs in four part harmony, this penguin doesn’t really fit. Seriously, even the freaking tyrannosaurus is grinning (maybe because he’s fuchsia) and the penguin cannot find anything to be happy about.
The penguin, however, might have a decent reason for not giving a damn. Perhaps he is depressed because it’s even colder in his homeland than it has been this week in Alberta, and that’s really saying something. Maybe he has a little seasonal affective disorder pressing down on his feathered spirit. I saw March of the Penguins; I can appreciate how even the perkiest bird might be a little down after month after month of blizzards in the dark. Maybe his favorite lady penguin ran off with his buddy Randy, who, incidentally, looks just like him. I don’t know. Whatever it is, apparently the situation is dire.
I always feel a little guilty when I stick on of these fellas on some poor kid’s excellent paper or exam. I often apologize for the depression suggested by my penguin stickers, who seem to reward a superb and successful academic effort with a rousing, “meh.”
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