I think most teachers would prefer a world where all students were intrinsically motivated, but it just isn’t an every day reality. Many of us dig deep into our pockets and find extrinsic rewards to help change certain student behaviors.
Once I started adding up those little rewards, I knew there had to be a better way, so I started brainstorming ways to reward my students without the need to dig deep into my pockets!
Before determining which coupons to use in my classroom, I took into consideration the following:
My Management & Teaching Style
School Rules & Policies
I don’t provide a lot of edible rewards, especially when I have provided a designated snack time in the classroom. However, one of the most popular rewards has been to eat lunch in the classroom with a friend and the teacher. I’m not sure if the kids are nosy about what I eat or just want to escape the chaos noise of the cafeteria.
Another fun reward is chewing gum in class. Gum chewing is often a big no-no with the custodians, which kind of makes this one all the more enticing to students. I figure one or two students chewing gum and being closely monitored is okay, especially when I can make sure it has been properly disposed of.
Flexible seating seems to be a trending term, but to me it’s been a seating option for years during certain times of the day. Traditional desks have their place, but I know if I need to move and get a fresh perspective throughout my day then my students do, too. Some of the reward options I provide are using my teacher’s chair for the day, sitting on the floor with a pillow for the day, moving a desk next to a friend’s for the day, or choosing another special spot around the room for the day. If you teach primary, you probably spend a good portion of your day with your students on the carpet. For some students, being able to choose their spot on the carpet first is a big deal, so I also offer that as a reward.
You know those students who constantly need your attention or are seeking the attention of their peers? Why not let them have the stage for a bit. In my class, students can be rewarded with reading a book or poem to the class (or principal). They can also lead the class in a game, brain break, or activity.