middle school students with their teacher

We can all use motivation from time to time. Students in middle school will agree. After all, these years between elementary and high school are challenging. Not only does the coursework become more challenging and more demanding, but the growth and development that is taking place physically for each student can make life a bit more confusing. 

A reward system can motivate students to keep pushing through the challenges and struggles. Think that middle schoolers have left their love of fun prizes and toys back in elementary school? Think again. 

You may be teaching a classroom full of tweens and early teens —- but they still love their prizes, including novelty toys, fun school supplies, and various trinkets. 

All you have to do is set up an organized and goal-oriented reward system. Here is how you create one for middle school. 

Creating a Positive Classroom Environment

Students in middle school face challenges both inside and outside of the classroom. With all of the personal changes that are taking place and the social awkwardness that always seems to appear around this age, getting a boost of confidence is needed. 

As a teacher, you have the opportunity to create a positive classroom environment. Your room can be the place where students want to go — a safe, secure spot where they can feel good about doing good. 

Setting goals and having an effective reward system in place is an incredible way to create a healthy classroom. You will be able to stress the importance of personal accountability as well as the value of following rules and being a good human. And, for those looking to give out class rewards, it can also encourage collaboration among the students. 

Aside from the curriculum, create a classroom that will lift up your students every day. 

Classroom vs. Individual Reward Systems

Should you give your students classroom or individual rewards? 

Reward systems can be created in a way that the students work together to earn as a class — or they may be something that each student has an opportunity to earn on their own.

Classroom reward systems are a perfect tool for classroom management. However, for motivating individual students and encouraging certain behaviors, reward systems that require each student to be responsible for their own behavior can be more motivating. These will also have a greater impact on their success in your classroom both now and in the future. 

Why not try both? 

Setting Up a Reward System

Before setting up your reward system, take a moment to set the goals you are trying to achieve and understand the different types so that you know what may work in your classroom — and what may not.

A ticket reward system is one in which students get a ticket for doing something they are supposed to do rather than getting the actual prize. They collect the tickets until the end of the day/week/month/quarter and then trade them in for a prize of varying degrees. 

Similarly, another type of reward system is using some sort of chart or even your whiteboard to put stars or checks by those students following directions or doing what they should be to receive one. 

You may even decide to give a prize right there at the moment. This could be one you have selected, something you keep in a bag that they choose from with eyes closed, or a treasure chest full of fun toys they can choose from.  

To set up your middle school reward system, you have to know what will work best for your students. Take your goals into consideration and have a detailed understanding of why you are giving the reward. Then get creative and put together the best system for your classes. 

For the best results, get your students involved in the creation of your middle school classroom reward system. 

Benefits of a Middle School Reward System 

Rewards (prizes or tickets, etc.) should be given immediately following the good behavior. This encourages the student to continue with their positive behavior — and links the action and the reward. 

Effectively using your reward system can lead to some incredible results, including: 

  • A boost in student motivation and willingness to engage
  • Improved classroom behavior — and easier classroom management
  • A greater level of attentiveness during lessons
  • Higher classwork and homework completion rates

What’s more, you will notice that when students are rewarded, they feel good about themselves, boosing their self-esteem and confidence. 

Reward and Prize Ideas

There are many different prize ideas for your middle school reward system. The best way to decide what you should choose is to know your students. If the reward isn’t something that will entice them, then the system will fail. 

Here are a few ideas to help you get started — 

A homework pass. Giving out a homework pass to those students who put in the effort during class is always a great idea. They can use this for those days when they either can’t get to their homework or they just want a break. 

Movies and snacks. Kids often love the idea of watching a movie during class time, especially when it involves snacks. This makes it a great class reward. 

Treasure chest. Fill a treasure chest with toys, cool pencils, and even more awesome erasers. Reward your students with a chance to sneak a peek and grab something special.  

A call home. Instead of giving a call home for bad behavior, reward your students with a call home that shares their positive behavior and abilities in the classroom. This can be beneficial for the students and parents. 

Sensory toys. Things like squish balls, fidget toys, slime, putty, and more are all welcome by middle school kids. Not only can they help by rewarding good behavior, but they make it easier to focus and concentrate in the classroom, too. 

Desk pets. Being rewarded with desk pets not only increases compassion but also gives them the incentive to continue doing as they should to earn habitats and accessories for their desk pets. 

Tips for Your Middle School Reward System

If you are going to set up a middle school reward system, then your students are in for a treat. However, keep these tips in mind to help it be the greatest success. 

  • Make sure your goals and the reward criteria are attainable. 
  • Base your rewards on actions that each student can control. 
  • Have a clear way to keep track of your rewards — especially if using a points or ticket system. 
  • Decide whether or not disciplinary actions will impact the reward. 
  • Remind students of the reward system and the incentives. 

Making your reward system a big part of your classroom, rather than an afterthought, is sure to lead to the greatest outcome. 

Kickoff Your Middle School Reward System With GEDDES

If you are ready to kick off your reward system so that you and your students can reap the benefits, then GEDDES has you covered. We have a huge supply of novelty toys, school supplies, and more. 

Shop our full selection online or contact us to learn more about how we can help enhance your classroom environment.