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August 19, 2019

Rewards & Incentives Students Will Actually Love

The right rewards can engage students in your schoolwide PBIS system. Read below to get ideas for any age that won't break the bank!
LiveSchool 101: Happy Teachers, Engaged Students, and Better Data
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PBIS rewards can change the way a school operates, on a variety of levels. A consistent system of recognizing students can lead to higher test results, happier teachers, more engaged kids, and a more positive environment overall.

But in order for it to work, the rewards themselves need to be enticing enough to catch kids’ attention, without blowing your school’s budget. So we’ve pulled together some teacher-recommended tips for building a stockpile of fun rewards for your own school. 

Download our list of student reward ideas for elementary, middle, and high school students to get started, and read on to see how other teachers use creative incentives in their classrooms.

Reward with group activities. 

It’s a team effort to get classrooms engaged and students excited about school. Why not celebrate as a team too?

Most middle school rewards and incentives focus on individual recognition (and that’s not a bad thing!) But mix it up by incorporating some group activities for the whole class, or even multiple grades. 

  • Award tickets to games, dances, and school trips when students earn enough good behavior points. 
  • Schedule smaller outings (like a trip to the local pizza joint) when the whole class consistently improves their behavior. 
  • Have class outside, or give the entire grade extra time at recess. 
Students at Freedom Crossing Academy with enough LiveSchool points had the option to enter a raffle to win a donated ticket to a Jacksonville Jaguars football game!

Encourage healthy competition!

Everyone wants to be the MVP. In this case, that’s earned by being prepared for class and engaged in the lesson instead of scoring the winning goal. 

Create a few different teams within your school, and track their behavior points collectively. These teams could be divided by grade level, or mixed between grades. Make sure students can see the points rack up by displaying their progress on a bulletin board or in morning announcements. 

Nicole Clark, third-grade teacher at Kingsway Elementary in Charlotte County, FL, created student teams and arranged a competition using the House Points feature of LiveSchool. Teachers even encouraged the kids to show their team pride by wearing their class colors, and announcing competition updates on the school news. 

Get teachers involved. 

Teachers can have some fun, too! Look for ways to include teachers and staff in events and group rewards - the more that can actively participate, the better. 

Teachers at Orondo Middle School in Wenatchee, Washington, decided to reward the students who earned the most behavior points with a pretty epic soccer game between teachers and students. The first teams to participate (7 teachers, 11 7th graders, and two 6th grade referees) took the game very seriously. 

Students and teachers enjoyed this creative reward, building relationships between the players in the process


“It was such a close game that we delayed the start of the period after lunch a few minutes for the teachers to recompose themselves,” said 5th grade teacher Mark Shorb. 

But their efforts paid off! Teachers won the game 1-0, and the soccer game has gone down in Orondo Middle School history.

Track points in a central location. 

No matter what behavior management incentives you decide on, make sure your behavior goals are clear, and rewards are fairly distributed. This is essential in order to keep the student body excited, and foster buy-in from the kids and the teachers.

LiveSchool makes it simple to track behavior points based on a customizable rubric


The best way to do this is through an electronic app like LiveSchool, which tracks behavior points by student, grade, and teacher. This platform allows everyone to see how close they are to their goal, and what types of behaviors are earning them those coveted points. 

Ready to build your own bank of behavior rewards? Here’s our list of PBIS recognition ideas to get you started!


Share your own ideas with the LiveSchool community! Post a photo of your favorite behavior reward on Facebook or Instagram and tag @whyliveschool! 


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