There are so many ways to get your students excited about meeting their learning goals and having good behavior in the classroom. These classroom incentives that motivate students are sure to help your learners be their best (even when no one is watching)! I go into more detail about these special incentives in my New Teacher Masterclass.
First, let’s talk about some group incentives that you can use with your whole class. When your class reaches goals, they can earn special incentives. I tend to focus on behavior goals, but you could also do this for academic goals as long as it’s not focusing on individual grades or academics. For example, students could earn incentives for reading with an adult, peer, or independently in the classroom.
This incentive works when students earn Bingo pieces throughout the week for showing good behavior. Try a goal like walking to lunch quietly and give the pieces to students that exhibit the behavior. When the class earns a Bingo, they’ll get a class reward!
When the class reaches a goal like listening to a speaker or the teacher, get a compliment from another educator or guest, they get a link to add to the chain. When it reaches a certain length, they’ll earn an incentive. This is probably the easiest classroom management trick EVER!
Catch students being good and have them drop a marble (or a puffball for a softer alternative) in a jar. When the jar is full, it’s time for students to earn their class reward!
Individual or Small Group Incentives
Students can punch a number/spot on their chart when they reach their own personal goals. Rather than have this be public, it can be individualized and at a student’s desk or in their folder. When they punch out all the numbers (or a specific goal you create with the student), they can earn a reward.
Give students a “brag tag” when they show positive behaviors. This could be something like “I kept going when things got tough” or “I was kind to a classmate”. If you don’t have brag tags, sticky notes with personalized messages work just as well! Students can redeem brag tags for a reward if you’d like, but sometimes the positive feedback is its own reward.
You may have your own ticket or coupon system where students can save up to redeem coupons for prizes or other incentives. Check with your school as some buildings have school-wide coupon systems in place. You can also incorporate this system into a classroom economy where students can earn “money” for doing classroom jobs then redeem for things at a class store.
I LOVE using this one! Students earn VIP points. Whatever table has the most points at the end of the week gets the VIP table caddy, filled with awesome VIP supplies like smelly markers, colorful sticky notes, and mechanical pencils. My students love being the VIPs in the classroom! My New Teacher Masterclass comes with all the labels you need to start your own VIP table and caddy system.
Some Rewards for Your Class
Rewards can be as varied as your student population. A few of my favorites, however, are extended brain breaks at the end of the day, lunch with the teacher (and a peer of their choice), treasure box prizes (get donations from parents and local businesses), and dress-up days. My students love pajama and superhero days! These rewards DON’T have to be expensive or complicated. Make it easy for you!
Try these classroom incentives that motivate students and get more great ideas from my New Teacher Masterclass!