The Little Stuff: Rewards to be Used on a Daily or Weekly Basis
Let Students Read The Announcements
This one will probably appeal more to middle school students than high school students, but it’s still very effective. Instead of having an administrator or other staff member read the daily announcements, reward high-performing students by letting them do the job instead.
Pick The Playlist
Lots of teachers play music during free time, or when students are working. Why not reward students by allowing them to pick the playlist. When a student earns a reward, give them a playlist pass.
The student can then go home, and put together a playlist for your approval. Later, after the playlist meets your approval (classroom appropriate), add it to your musical rotation.
It may be a good idea to allow students to remain anonymous. Some will want to wow the class with their picks. Others might worry about being teased.
Free Homework Pass
This is just what it sounds like, and it’s always a hit. This works as an individual reward, and as a classroom reward. However, it is important to be very clear about the criteria.
For example, the class gets a homework pass if everyone passes a quiz with a grade of C or better, or students who end the week with all of their behavior points get a pass to use one day the next week.
The Medium Stuff: Rewards to be Used on a Monthly Basis
Here is another great reward for middle school students. Designate one day each month as a theme day. Pick the themes yourself or let students weigh in. Themes might be:
Students who meet the criteria can be given passes or ‘tickets’ indicating that they are allowed to participate in the theme day festivities.
You could even hold a brief awards ceremony where you hand out certificates for funniest or most elaborate costume.
Criteria for being included could be getting caught offering students smart paper help, showing kindness to others, or having excellent attendance.
Prime Parking Passes
Many schools use a lottery system to assign student parking. Others use a first come first serve basis.
This means that some poor students spend the entire year parking at the back of the lot while others are able to park much closer. Why not designate a few primary parking spots just for students who are doing well.
The criteria you use can be academic or behavioral. Whatever you pick, students who qualify have their names placed in a jar. At the end of the month, names are drawn and the lucky students get to use the prime parking spots.
The Big Stuff: Major Incentives For Quarter Semester And Year End
Skip The Final
This is a great way to reward students who have really hit it out of the park academically.
Students who have an A or better, along with exemplary behavior can be given the opportunity to take a pass on their final.
It’s a good idea to let students know about this one at the beginning of the year. It’s great motivation for working hard all semester.
Fun Field Trip
What better way to reward excellent classroom behavior and progress than to take students on a fun field trip at the end of the year or semester.
Pick a handful of excursions that are in a budget, and student friendly. Then, let the class vote on the option they like best.
Once they’ve chosen, let them know what it takes to earn it.
If possible display a progress chart on the wall. This will let students how close they are to earning their special year-end trip.
Rewards work. This is true even for adults in the working world. The trick to making them work for older students is to use a currency that has meaning for them. The rewards listed above should do that quite effectively.