Carolyn, not sure this fits into the “no work” topic, but I think you wrote once about a pizza making party you have to celebrate a certain milestone for first graders. Each child brings prepared ingredients and then they make their own — ? I couldn’t find it when I went back to look for it.
Which reminds me, last year neatness was an ongoing problem with a number of my students so the final quarter we hammered it hard by working toward earning a pizza party by gaining enough points on neatness. It really helped. Daily each child handed in their “slice” (from a cardboard game) if they thought they had been neat in their work during the day. If the whole grade had been sufficiently neat, then all the slices were handed in making their pizza was complete and giving them a point toward the class goal of x number of points. Each one’s contribution counted and using this visual added its own incentive. Throughout the day they mentally evaluated their own neatness and then either handed in their slice — or didn’t. Of course I could negate any of their evaluations, but I rarely disagreed. I really liked how it put the responsibility on them and, like often, I found them to do well with it. Oh dear, writing this all out makes it sound awfully complicated and not at all “no work”. And yet it really was a good project (they loved it — not just the party) and made a big difference without me nagging. In that way it really was “no work”.
I’m thinking of doing something similar with listening well this year yet (starting this next week I hope). Neatness is not much of an issue this year, but I think listening well has been and students do really enjoy the challenge of working toward something. I don’t want it to be an outward motivation only, and yet it seems like this can be a discipline designed to crack the door inviting personal responsibility. They help evaluate, it is not just the teacher getting after them.