Every teacher needs a solid classroom management plan in order to keep their students on the path to learning and making positive choices. Students should learn to make good choices simply for the sake of doing the right thing without expecting a reward. However, it is still important to reward students for their behavior. These classroom reward ideas will help promote further positive choices and hard work and your students will love them!
Whole Group Classroom Reward Ideas
Students LOVE dress-up days! If your school allows it, your students can work to earn a whole class dress-up day. They could wear their favorite PJ's, a hat, choose no shoes for the day, or you can all dress up in the same color! Another idea is to have a sports team dress-up day where students wear their favorite team gear. Be sure to snap pictures of this fun reward!
Earn a Party.
What class doesn't love a party?! There are so many different parties you could do with students, so use your creativity to find something they are going to have a blast with. A few classroom party ideas are an ice cream party, popcorn party, movie party, dance party, hot chocolate party, etc.
To incentivize this reward, you can have students work to earn letters to spell the name of the party. You can cut out letters using a die-cut machine or simply write them on the whiteboard. For example, if they are working to earn a popcorn party, you would put one letter on the board each time you see the whole class making a good choice. Once they get all of the letters, it's party time!
Students love to play and play is an essential part of learning and development. A great whole class reward is extra recess! Extra recess allows students to get active, release energy, spend time with their friends, and use their creativity. Fresh air, movement, and fun make for a great classroom reward.
Another whole group classroom reward idea is to earn a Friday game day! Students can play learning games for your math and reading blocks that day, making it a fun-filled Friday (with some sneaky skill practice too). You can even incorporate card and board games into your day to encourage collaborative learning and sportsmanship.
Bring Something Special.
Students love to share special belongings with the class. It makes them feel important and comforted. Earning a special show and tell is a whole class reward students will love! Students can earn a day to bring a stuffed animal to school with them. They could bring a gift they've received or their favorite book or toy for show and tell. Again, you can get creative with the choices!
Switch It Up.
Something as simple as holding class or doing a read-aloud outside is such an exciting reward for kids. The fresh air and change of scenery switch up the normal routine and make it feel special! Students can work to earn a sidewalk chalk break outside! Another way to switch up the day and incorporate something exciting is to watch a short video or movie.
Individual Student Reward Ideas
Free time allows students to relax and use their creativity. They can play with blocks, puzzles, or other fun “toys” or manipulatives you have in your classroom. The best part about free time is you can use what you have in your classroom already! Your students will put their creative spin on it to make it their own! Free app time on iPads or computers is another class favorite.
You can also set up stations with playdough, shaving cream, bingo dabbers, watercolor paints, or other “special” supplies for students to play with during free time. They'll even get some bonus fine motor practice in too! Another classroom reward idea that students will be motivated to earn is the chance to choose a board/card game to play with a friend during free time.
Quality time is something that just can't be beat. Students love spending time with their teacher, principal, or other adult role models. A popular classroom reward is to earn a lunch date or playtime with a teacher. These are great for individual students or small group rewards. You could play a game with the student or small group of students or join them outside for a game at recess.
It is important for students to know the principal and feel comfortable being around them. This makes the principal's office not feel so scary. Allowing students to go read a book with the principal or show them something they're proud of is a positive reward. Students can also earn a surprise phone call, note, or email home to let their parents know about their hard work!
Students love getting special jobs too. Earning the job title of teacher's assistant for the day or week is a hit. They'll love being your go-to helper! Having a special shoutout celebration where you cheer students on is another way to celebrate them! Grab your microphone, spotlight, and turn on some fun music to make the student feel special!
Giving students the power of choice is a motivating incentive. Something as simple as choosing the brain break, read-aloud, or snack for the day is a powerful reward. Other options are to pick out a new pencil or prize from the prize box. They also love choosing to move their seat for the day, sit with a friend, or sit at the teacher's desk for the day!
Virtual Classroom Reward Ideas
When teaching virtually, it is important to build community and stay connected with students. A great classroom reward idea is having a virtual lunch date with the teacher. This can be for individual students or small groups. A virtual field trip is a reward the whole class will love! Another fun surprise is to invite a mystery reader to join your virtual class to read a book.
Celebrating hard work and positive behavior as a whole class can be done with a virtual dress-up day, dance party, extra brain break time, or even a special show and tell. Another virtual classroom reward idea is to complete and read a Mad Libs story. The students will have a blast with this and be giggling the whole time!
Surprises At Home.
Sending students something at home will make them feel important and let them know how much you care. This could be a positive email, phone call, or letter that you send in the mail. You can even mail students a bookmark or sticker to let them know how proud you are of them. Staying connected and celebrating students virtually is key.