I used my red vines activity (see http://orchestrateacher.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-power-of-red-vines.html) in class a few days ago and it went very well. Even though I have done this activity before, I am again amazed at how much better my classes focused and at how much more we were able to accomplish. I need this to happen every day...but without having to bring candy.
Yesterday, I spoke with my class about focus and the power of focused practice. I pointed out to them that they accomplished much more when working for red vines. I spoke to them about the difference between an instant reward ...like candy...versus the reward that comes after hard work and a successful performance.
Next, I implemented a non-verbal cue to remind students to focus their energy. Every time I show students my bow hold, students must immediately show me their bow hold....and they must not be the last person.
Students really bought into the idea of focus and were able to follow my cues perfectly. I was able to continue with a quality focused rehearsal without having candy and I feel students will be able to progress more quickly.