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The Ultimate List of Class Reward Ideas for Teachers

Rewards are an integral part of any classroom management system. Children are, by nature, extrinsically motivated.
By 
Katie Neumeier
 | 
July 14, 2022

In today’s society, a teacher’s job reaches far beyond the academic realm. While ensuring our students meet state and school mandated standards we must also keep classroom behavior in check, support our student’s social and emotional needs, build character, and maintain strong relationships with families and other stakeholders.

The list goes on and on. A key piece to getting all of these things accomplished is having a strong classroom management system in place that includes positive reinforcement and of course, rewards. So why should you use rewards in your classroom?

Why Classroom Rewards Matter

Rewards are an integral part of any classroom management system. Children are, by nature, extrinsically motivated. This means they need something tangible in return to feel accomplished in what they are doing or how they are behaving. 

As children grow up, there should be a shift in how often extrinsic motivational tools, like rewards, are used as we simultaneously build up their intrinsic motivation. 

Eventually, the goal is to make the complete transition and have students who function intrinsically, at least as far as behavior goes. Rewarding students for positive behaviors we observe and want to see is where we should be starting in classrooms. Rewards also promote self-regulation and encourage teamwork which are powerful skills in the classroom setting as well.

15 Classroom Reward Ideas

Rewards do not need to be complicated! There are many fun, creative ideas out there that are easy to implement and most importantly, inexpensive. Using some of the ideas listed for you here will be a perfect starting place. If not, maybe they can serve as a jumping-off spot for your very own reward creations. 

100% Free & Effective 

1. Extra Recess 

Students love time with their friends during the school day to relax, socialize, and burn off excess energy. Taking them outside gives them more time to practice positive social behaviors and build friendships, which are both helpful to the students and you! 

Student Choice

2. Partner Work

This reward is easy to implement in any classroom, regardless of age. Many times, classroom seating arrangements ensure students who are overly friendly sit farthest apart and academic partnerships are data-driven. 

This means giving the students a chance to choose their partner is high leverage. 

3. Special Seating

Perfect for a Friday, this whole class reward allows students to not only complete work with a partner of choice, but choose their seat! 

This comes with, of course, some boundary setting and enforcement, but definitely a fun option that many students would be interested in. 

4. No Homework

Many schools and teachers still require at-home practice to reinforce the skills and strategies learned at school. If you are giving homework, maybe offering a chance for students to not complete an assignment would be exciting to them. 

Adventure is Out There

5. Tech Time

This reward could be carried out in various ways. One option is allowing students to enjoy time on school technology where they can play on any academic site like Epic, Prodigy, or Kodable.

Another option is creating a time in the week for students to bring in their own technology; Nintendo Switch, laptops, etc. If choosing the latter, be ready to set more strict rules and boundaries to ensure students are being safe and making positive choices. 

6. Dress Up or Down Day

If students are not used to getting a choice in what they wear day to day, this idea may shake things up! Add extra flair by creating a themed dress-up day like “cowboy day” or a dress-down day in their favorite pajamas. 

7. Virtual Field Trip

Over the past couple of years, there has been a huge increase in educational companies creating and offering engaging virtual field trip content. Lucky us! 

Check out any of your favorite national or local field trip destinations to see if there are any free virtual field trip options to choose from. 

Platforms such as Nearpod also offer short experiences that you can upload straight into lessons to supplement and expand your student’s knowledge. 

8. Picnic Lunch

Eating in the cafeteria every day can be boring and there is no way we can accommodate every student in the classroom for lunch. Also, the thought of crumbs and milk everywhere is horrifying. 

A great alternative would be to have a picnic outside. Students can also bring their blankets or quilts from home for extra comfort. 

Time to Party

9. Snack Party

Let’s face it, kids will do almost anything for a bag of Hot Cheetos or a couple of M&M’s. If your class is filled with the snackers, this reward idea will do perfectly. 

The best part about this is it does not have to all be provided by you. Ask for a couple of volunteers and I am sure you will have tons of hands raised. 

10. Ice Cream Sundae Party

Similar to the snack party idea, students will go crazy when they earn an Ice Cream Party. Grab a couple of gallons of ice cream, some whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and you’re good to go. Don’t forget the sprinkles!

11. Glow Party

This reward may take a bit more planning and money, but it is well worth it. Buying glow sticks and glow balloons in bulk from Amazon is your best option. For added fun, cover the windows with black butcher paper and create a dance playlist in advance. 

Class Reward Example

Check out this example from weareteachers.com.

12. Board Game Party

A common misconception is that students think board games are boring. Most of your students, perhaps, have never gotten a chance to play Sorry!, Clue, or Battleship. Gather some of your favorite board games and teach your students how to follow rules the good old-fashioned way. 

Sharing is Caring

13. Positive Parent Note or Call Home

An oldie but a goodie. Students absolutely love when you share with their families how they are doing in school. Calling is easier, but you can give it a more personalized touch by sending a handwritten note home. 

14. Social Media Shout-Out

If your students are active on social media and you have a teacher Twitter or Instagram account, this idea would be innovative. Creating a post or story about your class and all the wonderful things they are doing would do wonders. 

15. Q&A

Have tons of curious students who always ask a million questions? Create a jar for students to submit questions about YOU. As a reward, you could dedicate some time to answering questions from the jar or take a few at random. You never know what students will ask!

Your Class Rewards

When implemented within a strong PBIS system, rewards can be a very powerful tool to help support both you and students in the classroom. 

Positive behavior and intrinsic motivation are not just built overnight. Both are systematic and take time, patience, and consistency. 

Using rewards in your classroom will make a difference and can lead to endless possibilities for you and your students! Still looking for the perfect incentive? Try our list of free rewards for students.

Learn more about the author, 
Katie Neumeier
 

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We believe positive student behavior comes from the right school culture. Do you?

Join a community of 1,000+ schools who use LiveSchool to improve their culture with school-wide points tracking.
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100+ Reward & Incentive Ideas

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