Classroom Clinic – Extra Rewards
“Dear classroom clinic,
My class have been great this year and I want to find another way of rewarding them outside of the school’s behaviour policy, either now or by setting something up for September. What can I do?”
Great news! Things are obviously going well and it’s great to hear positive experiences as well as when people need support.
Reward systems are one of the most effective ways of establishing a positive classroom environment. They promote good behaviour and incentivise students, but constantly finding new ways to praise well-behaved pupils can be a struggle and the stresses of school life make it easy to lose track of individuals’ behaviour. Remember to give immediate praise when it’s due and follow through with your school’s behavioural policy.
There are a variety of different ways to set up extra reward systems with a specific group. This Pinterest board has a plethora of ideas for tracking reward progress. If you want to ‘gamify’ your learning why not try the popular ClassDojo or the interactive Classcraft.
How to put a reward system in place
School reward systems can help, but you can’t just try out something without clearly thinking it through. Here’s how you best put a reward system to work.
- Set class goals
- Define how you will use the reward system
- Explain why you gave a reward
- Give students a voice
- Reward early
- Lessen the rewards over time
- Give random rewards
Some great resources to get you started can be found here and here. When you choose a reward for your students or when you let them choose, make sure you are controlling it. Give them a list to choose from, or add value to each reward. That way, students have to save their tickets, cards, etc., in order to choose a good reward. Here are a few reward examples:
- Pick a game at break time.
- Sit with a friend.
- Teach the class a favourite game.
- Take a homework pass.
- Be the teacher’s helper for the day.
- Draw on the chalkboard.
- Choose any class job for the week.
- Use the teacher’s chair.
- Take home a class game for a night.
- Do half of an assignment.
- Sit at the teacher’s desk for the day.
- 15 minutes playing an educational computer game.
- Be the “caller” for multiplication bingo.
- Make up a maths problem for the other children to solve.
- Go to lunch 5 minutes early with a friend.
- Stay out for a longer break with a friend.
- Choose your seat for the day.
- Read out loud to the class.
These are just a few suggestions and obviously, vary from secondary and primary. Please also get in touch if you have something that works really well in your classroom e.g. Class teacher Josh bakes great brownies so gave his tutor group ‘brownie points’ – sticking a brownie photo on a baking tray. When the tray was completed, the class got a tray of brownies! Disclaimer: Be aware of any dietary requirements in the class.
Up the stakes for your learners and introduce a little competitive edge to your rewards by arranging a contest. Motivate your class with a game of good behaviour bingo, or why not exchange classroom cooperation for the chance to win a prize in an end-of-week raffle? Competition is great for engagement but whilst rewards are a great tool remember to try to make learning fun, and so your students genuinely get excited about learning new things.
Ultimately, how you use rewards in your classroom is a personal decision. There are no right or wrong answers. Like everything in teaching, what works for one teacher may not work for another. But, it does help to discuss your ideas with other educators and see what others are doing in their classroom. Good luck!