Celebrate hard work with your students during distance and virtual learning using these free and low-cost reward ideas!
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One of the biggest tragedies of Covid-19 is the fun that students will not get to have with trusted adults. There is no greater feeling than weeks of hard work capped off with a huge celebration. Whether it’s a field trip, a dance, a House party, or whatever makes your school unique, we all love to have fun with our students.
That hasn’t changed. How many of us have had a Zoom party with our friends? Done a fitness lesson over video? Watched a live concert? As human beings, we love connecting with others. Add that to the list of things that Covid-19 can’t change.
We have to think outside the box about how we create celebrations and rewards for our students’ hard work. We will need to get creative and use digital tools to replicate some of the magic of our in-person live events. We will need to enlist parents, to help bring important celebrations home to students in a meaningful way.
At the end of the day, a big part of what makes a school celebration fun is the opportunity to see trusted adults letting loose and having fun. Students light up to see their Principal with a pie on their face. Or when a favorite teacher attempts a favorite TikTok dance. Our imagination has always been key to celebrating progress in a way that inspires students. That’s still true today.
Let’s look at 10 ideas you and your team can put into practice to make this time as fun and rewarding as possible for students. Rewards with an asterisk (*) have a financial cost – the rest can be done for free or on a low budget:
This reward can be run for a homeroom, a grade, a house, or an entire school. Plan an agenda that will be fun for students, like:
Remember – short and sweet is better than an awkward ending. Leave students excited for the next party with a fun, planned agenda.
Technology gives us the amazing opportunity to have a 1:1, or small group, lunch with students. Students can redeem this reward to have lunch with a favorite teacher or school leader over video chat.
By now, you have probably seen amazing videos of “drive by” birthday parties and distance celebrations. There are many safe options for reconnecting with students face-to-face:
We can’t deny it – video games are part of our students’ lives. Many video games have “bucks” that students can use to redeem new rewards or accessories in the game. Fortnite V-Bucks are one of the most in-demand with students today. You can also ask your students for what games they love.
If your community has access to companies like Postmates, UberEats, and Doordash, these companies offer gift cards that can be a great way to reward students with their favorite restaurants during a time that they may have less ability to dine in. If your community has favorite restaurants, bookstores, or toy stores, these are also great opportunities.
Raffles are a great way to reward students. In a raffle, the more tickets a student buys, the better their chances of winning! Here are things to consider when raffling:
This is a stressful time for students, and a care package can give them the tools to release their energy. Think about constructive toys or supplies like puzzles, sidewalk chalk, or cards. Encourage students to share a picture of what they do with their creativity!
Invite a student to create content to share on your official school social media! There are endless ways to use this reward – here are just a few ideas:
A virtual talent show can be conducted live, or, even better, over social media! Create a hashtag for students and prompts for them to share, like…
This reward is not for the faint-of-heart! With that said, there’s something magical about a trusted adult doing something truly silly for students to enjoy. Here are some of the best versions we’ve seen:
Create a process for how rewards will be redeemed using LiveSchool points. For example:
You can determine pricing by reviewing student points balances. You can use student bank account balances to determine appropriate prices
In LiveSchool, you can…
And of course, plan for the logistics of your reward. A helpful approach: Who? What? When? Where? How? Coordinate with your team for a smooth and engaging experience!
We'd love to hear from you – how are you maintaining fun and celebration during distance learning? Share your ideas with @whyliveschool!
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These incentive ideas will keep students motivated while respecting social distance guidelines.