By Dawn Hatfield
GREENVILLE — Christmas came quite early for the students of Greenville Elementary School this year when the Greenville PTA gifted them a brand-new Bookworm Vending Machine at the start of fall semester. The vending machine is stocked full of interesting new books students can only purchase by inserting a special gold coin.
Each month, one student per homeroom/class may be nominated by their teacher to receive a gold coin for showing characteristics of the “Wave Way.” The Wave Way is a school-wide behavioral expectation that students will employ the following four qualities: Kindness, Safety, Responsibility, and Respect. The gold coin/vending machine reward is part of the school’s overall PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) program and helps promote appropriate behavior in classrooms and throughout the elementary. September’s theme was “The Wave Way is to be Kind!” and starting in October, “The Wave Way is to be Safe!” which is well-timed with Halloween and trick-or-treating right around the corner.
Jessica Gorman, Assistant Principal at GES, was excited to expand on the reward process. “We make a big deal about it, you know. They get their name announced; they get to come down [to the office] and get their gold coin and get a free book [from the vending machine]. It’s just so exciting! I loved, as a kid, having my name announced.”
Four recent recipients of gold coins for the Bookworm Vending Machine were happy to share their experiences. All students agreed that there is an excellent selection of books in the machine. Olivia commented, “Yeah, I read like five chapters [of my new book] already!” Even with several great options to choose from, Abby had an easy time selecting her book and explained, “My teacher also came and helped me and said, ‘I read that book, and I really liked it,’ and after [looking at] all the other ones, that’s the one I really wanted.” Charlotte loves Peppa Pig, so finding a book with Peppa made hers an easy decision too. Coleson is a fan of Pete the Cat and also loves baseball, so a new Pete book featuring a day at the ball diamond made the perfect new addition to his library.
When asked if they think they’ll earn another gold coin this year or next, the students’ response was a hopeful chorus of “maybe!” Ms. Gorman encouraged their predictions by saying, “I bet so! These are good kids!” Gorman continued, “I’m so proud of you guys, seriously! You’ve been making such good choices in your classrooms, and that’s why your teachers nominated you.”
Dawn Hatfield covers education stories for The Daily Advocate. Have a school-related event to share? Reach out by email at [email protected] or by phone at 937-569-0066.