Here is how I use it...
Scenario- I've asked the students to get out there math workbook and tear out a certain page. The students begin to talk to each other and aren't doing as I've asked. I begin looking for a student doing what they are supposed to be doing and I say, "Thank you (student's name) for doing exactly what I have asked you to do." The other students then look at said student and imitate their actions. Many times if the one student is the only student in the class doing what they are suppose to, then they will also get to move their clip up to excellent. (You may want to check out my behavior chart also.)
What if no one is doing what they are suppose to do? I'll make a statement like, "I sure wish I could find someone to thank." or "I'm looking for someone to thank, but I'm not seeing anyone doing what they are suppose to."
What if several students are doing a good job? I'll start thanking everyone I see doing a good job. In this case I don't usually let students move up to excellent.
When do I use this strategy? Any chance I get. Hallway, transitions between subjects, lining up...
Other positive remarks I make for behavior management: (Try to praise every child within a week so that they can all feel special.)
"I sure like the way that (student's name) is doing (action)."
"I really like the way that (student's name) did (action)."
"Wow, (student's name) is doing a great job!"
If you can catch more flies with sugar than with vinegar, maybe I can get more students to behave better with sweetness rather than harshness.