While all teachers want their students to have the internal motivation to excel in the classroom, the reality is that sometimes a little bit of external motivation helps too. That’s where a classroom rewards system comes in. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel or come up with a system that requires a lot of effort on your part. Instead, choose a simple system that’s easy for your students to understand and follow the steps outlined below to ensure that it’s a success.
Deciding on a Classroom Reward System
One of the first things you’ll need to decide for your reward system is whether students should work together for one collective goal or work separately—or, perhaps, a combination of both. Take your classroom’s “personality” into account here. Do you want to foster a more collaborative environment? Then rewarding the whole class points might be best. Are you trying to impress upon your students the importance of personal accountability? Then have everyone earn their own points.
When the entire class is working towards a common goal, you can get students motivated by allowing them to vote for what their prize will be. A pajama day, being able to bring toys to school, or a pizza party are all popular options with the elementary school crowd. Most teachers use a jar and place some kind of token—a marble, rock, or bead—in it with each good act. Once the jar is full, the prize is earned.
For a point-based system where every student works towards earning their own prizes, you’ll need to have some kind of method in place for keeping track of the points each student has. Allow them to trade in these points for different tiers of classroom prizes. A classroom treasure chest is great for this type of reward system!
Another possibility is to have children work in groups, which introduces some friendly competition into the mix while also encouraging students to work together. Try boys versus girls, classroom versus classroom, or group students within the same classroom by their seating arrangements.
Get Student Buy-In
The best classroom reward systems are a collaborative effort between teacher and students—after all, it’s their classroom too, so giving them a feeling of ownership with the reward system helps get everyone on board. Talk about what kinds of behaviors should be rewarded and what types of values your classroom should have. If you’re incorporating negative behavior into your reward system (i.e., taking away points for behaviors you want to discourage), discuss these with your students too.
Recognize Students’ Efforts
Make sure you’re giving your students feedback that goes beyond the reward system you’ve created. Verbal encouragement and enforcement is important as well. Eventually, students will reach a point in their education where they need to rely upon their own sense of satisfaction for a job well done, so when they earn a point, ask them how they feel about themselves in the moment. Communicate with parents so they can also be involved.
Order Classroom Prizes from GEDDES
To order prizes for your classroom reward system, visit the GEDDES website to shop our full selection online, request our catalog today, or contact us to learn more about our products and our mission.