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Summer Stuff #6 and Throwback Thursday - Reward amazing students with CHIP Trophies

I'm Linking up with The First Grade Parade for Throwback Thursday!  This is my very first blog post from March 7, 2012.  If you're looking for a new classroom incentive, CHIP trophies are the best!  Once I figure out the Michigan job situation I fully plan on spending a few hours with my heatgun (I now have a special tool so I don't have to burn my knuckles on the oven), some chip bags and a glue gun!  I recommend making these all in one sitting.  Just churn out 30 or so and you're set for the year.

If you're interested in more of my Summer Stuff Series, focused on easy items to make or think about implementing in your classroom next year, check out these posts:

I wish I could take total credit for this idea, but "The C.H.I.P Trophy" was introduced to me after my first year of teaching by Kris Thurgood and Kim Christopherson, two teachers and sisters who started    
The CHIP (stands for Caring, Helpful, Independent, Polite, Person) trophy is a shrunken chip bag glued  atop a red plastic cup with a label taped to the front.  Every year as I burn my knuckles smacking down shrinking chip bags in the oven, my husband wonders aloud, "Is that really worth it?"  The answer - ABSOLUTELY!  Nine years of using the CHIP trophy and I can attest to its power.
CHIP Trophy Halloween Costumes
After the success of the CHIP trophy, I decided to see if wearing a shrunken chip bag would also entice my students.  Yep!  Thus, the CHIP necklace was born.  This is simply a shrunken chip bag with a hole punched in it, tied with yarn. I love that third graders find these irresistible and will do almost anything to get one -- including always saying please and thank you.
When I was going to "teacher" school I remember thinking badly upon extrinsic rewards and promising  myself when I was a teacher, I would help my students to be motivated just for the sake of knowing they did the right thing.  Of course, this is always a goal, but after 10 years, I've learned that chip bags work much better than feelings of moral superiority.  CHIP trophies and necklaces are here to stay.
Ignore the mess of the week before school -- look up top to the CHIP trophies all in a row
At a parent conference a few years ago a grandmother related how excited her grandson was to bring home his CHIP trophy, saying he was so thrilled they decided to use it as the star on their Christmas tree.  Siblings of past students relate how their brothers/sisters/friends won the trophy when they were in third grade and how the dog ate/mutilated/stepped on it and made their brother/sister/friend cry.  I often hear from parents of trying to throw away their now 14 year old child's dusty CHIP trophy, but it had to be put in the "special things" box because their teenager refused to part with it.  Thus, I will continue to burn my hands every summer as I spend  a few days using my oven as a chip bag shrinking machine.

Try it!
1. Put a chip bag (must have a foil inside) in your oven at 250-300 degrees (you can try shrinking more than one but I suggest one to start)
2. Watch it.
3. Keep watching it.
Nothing will happen.
Then . . .
All of a sudden . . .
The corners will start to curl!
4. Get your spatula and smack the bag flat
5. Flip the bag
6.  Repeat steps 4&5 until the bag is as small as you'd like it.
7.  Let it cool, hot glue it to a plastic cup (I prefer the smooth textured ones - the tape sticks better), smack on a label (Mine say CHIP Trophy Mrs. Smith's Third Grade Class) and start rewarding caring, helpful, independent, polite people!

If anyone tries this let me know.  I swear by CHIP trophies and I hope someone else can use this great idea!


  1. What an awesome idea! I guess I better get busy eating some chips. Thanks for sharing.

    Hooty's Homeroom

  2. Your Blog is so cute and you have so many great ideas!! I can't wait to explore it more! I am your newest follower.

    A Basket Full of Apples

  3. What a neat idea! I'm going to need to try this one out next year. How often do you give them out?
    Polka Dot Lesson Plans

  4. This CHIP trophy is too cute! I bet my firsties would love it. I am going to pin it so I won't forget!

    I am your newest follower!
    Hanging Out in First!

  5. This is an absolutely amazing idea! I teach 8th grade but I know I can use the idea itself with them. The things they will do for rewards!

    Life With Middle Schoolers