7 Fun Reward Systems That Will Keep Your Students More Engaged
Teaching children can be challenging. If you’re teaching an adult, chances are, they’re there because they want to learn. Most children, however, would much rather be watching their favorite TV show, so it’s important to make the class fun and engaging. One of the best ways to do this is with a reward system. Plan a reward system with 4 to 6 rewards and give one to the student periodically throughout the class when they have done a good job. You can use this to reinforce good behavior and to encourage the student to try harder so that they get more rewards. All of my reward systems rely on a whiteboard the students can see. The rewards will be placed on the whiteboard. Here are some of my students’ favorite rewards.
This reward is very simple and is a favorite among my very young students. There are two ways to do this reward. The first is to print out a picture of a pizza pie with about 6 slices. Cut each slice out and put magnets on the back of the paper. You will want to either use construction paper or to laminate the picture. Every time the student does a good job, give them a piece of pizza. You can hold it up to the camera and pretend to eat it first. Little kids love pretending to eat fake food. Don’t ask me why. Make sure to spread out the rewards so you don’t give them all at the beginning of the class. The second way to do this is to start with the base of the pizza and add toppings as you go.
This is similar to the pizza reward and almost as popular. I have also found that students who are too old for most food rewards often still enjoy this one. Find pictures of a bun, a patty, a slice of cheese, a slice of lettuce, and onions. Print them out individually and add one to the whiteboard periodically throughout the class. By the end of the class, they should have a massive hamburger.
3. Sweets (ice cream, different cookies or donuts, candy, or all of them together)
Yes, I have a lot of food rewards. Very young kids absolutely love these kinds of rewards and ask me for them over and over again, so it’s good to have several different types. You can have an ice-cream reward where they get one scoop of ice cream every time they do a good job. You could also have a reward with different donuts, cookies, candies or cake!
4. Buying clothes
This reward is a favorite among my older students. Print out fake money and put them in envelopes marked “1” and “2.” Put different amounts of money in the envelopes so that sometimes the student will get a lot and sometimes they will get a little. Then print out a cartoon person and some clothes that you can layer on top of them. You can find free dress up paper print out dolls online. Throughout the class, when the student does a good job, hold up two envelopes. The student then chooses an envelope and you take out the money and write how much they have on the whiteboard. Alternate giving them money and allowing them to buy different articles of clothing. To make this reward simple and easy, use a small whiteboard you can hold and put three articles of the same type of clothing, such as three hats, and write different prices under each. Hold it up and let the student buy a piece of clothing. Older students love earning fake money and buying things. This reward can be done without money to make it simpler. Alternatively, you can use the money system with any reward that involves a student choosing items.
5. Tic Tac Toe
Some students love to play games during class. Throughout the class, play 3 or 4 games of tic tac toe. Depending on the student, you should probably let them win the first and last game but win one of the games in the middle so that they don’t feel like you’re letting them win. To make it more interesting, instead of X’s and O’s, you could print out pictures and have games like pirates vs ninjas or Megatron vs Optimus Prime.
6. Disney Princesses
Print out cute pictures of 6 Disney princesses and show one periodically to the student, then put it on the whiteboard. By the end of the class, they should have collected all 6 princesses. To make this reward more exciting, download GIFs of each princess and show a GIF each time you give them a reward. You can use this same idea for other things like My Little Pony and Pokémon.
This is my favorite reward. Draw one line of a picture each time the student does a good job. Try to do this so that the student has no idea what you’re drawing until the end. If the student likes drawing, have them draw with you, copying each line as you draw it. By the end of class, you should have completed the picture. I typically look up easy ways to draw animals and find something cute. I have also drawn things I know my students like, like Pikachu.
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The most important thing to remember about a reward is that it is there to reward the student. Ask your students what their interests are and cater to that. Don’t get caught up in the rules of your reward system and just make sure they are having fun. I have noticed a drastic change in my students’ behavior when I found a reward that they liked. It keeps them motivated and makes learning fun.
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