2 little girls smiling and hugging each other

Group learning can make a significant difference in a student’s understanding of topics, especially those that require a higher level of thinking or have multiple possible interpretations. According to the Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, “working in small groups provides learners with opportunities to articulate ideas and understandings, uncover assumptions and misconceptions, and negotiate with others to create products or reach consensus.” To encourage productive group work in the classroom, GEDDES recommends incentivizing students for group achievements. In this post, we’ll go over some ideas for rewarding small groups for optimal engagement and positive reinforcement.

Use Diverse & Personalized Rewards

What motivates one student may not motivate another, so it’s important to have a variety of potential rewards available to suit the diverse interests of the students. Allow each small group to collectively choose their potential reward to further enhance motivation and build their teamwork and negotiation skills. Offer both tangible and intangible reward options, or take it a step further and let the students suggest their own rewards. Tangible rewards can include small toys, pens, pencils, notebooks, erasers, art supplies, or other school supplies. Intangible rewards could be earning extra recess time, a pizza party, or a special outing. No matter what prize each group chooses, be sure they know exactly what is required of them to earn that prize. By allowing autonomy while also setting clear guidelines, students are empowered to work together toward a prize they all want.

Personalized Feedback

Feedback can be a great incentivizer, especially when done well. Take time to verbally acknowledge each small group’s achievements, along with constructive criticism, to show the students that someone was really paying attention to their hard work. When students know that someone actually cares about their efforts and wants to see them grow, they are naturally motivated to perform better.

Public Recognition

Everyone loves for their good deeds to be known, and student groups are no different. Acknowledging group achievements in public settings, such as a school pep rally, parent’s night, or via the school newsletter, is a great way to motivate and encourage students to strive for success. This public recognition may also push other students to more actively participate in group activities, wanting to share in those feelings of pride and accomplishment.

Don’t forget to showcase group accomplishments using available technology when possible. Share images and other information about each group’s work using the school’s designated messaging and sharing system, or even to social media with proper parental approval. Students today live online, and seeing their successes highlighted their makes it easy for them to share it with others and receive positive feedback from a bigger audience.

Promote Positivity

Students may not even realize it, but the best reward they can receive for their work is a positive, safe, and welcoming space where they can share ideas and take risks. By implementing a thoughtful group rewards system, teachers and educators can provide that much-needed supportive environment, celebrating group achievements and collectively examining challenges faced. This creates a culture of appreciation and understanding that will benefit the students for years to come.

Buy Rewards for Group Activities at Affordable Prices

Show your students that you appreciate their efforts and create the most productive learning environment possible with useful and fun rewards items from GEDDES. From school supplies to novelty toys, GEDDES has everything you need to fill up your class rewards basket with stuff the students will actually use and like. Browse our digital catalog to see everything we have to offer, then call us at (888) 431-1722 or email service@raymondgeddes.com for more information.