Classroom rewards are normally an important piece of the classroom. Teachers give incentives and rewards in classrooms more often than we realize. It may be a gold star on a worksheet or 10 extra points on a quiz. Regardless of what shape it takes, the purpose is always the same—to motivate students to achieve. But does this method actually work?
The research is somewhat inconclusive on whether or not extrinsic motivations like rewards are effective in the long run. There are some studies that suggest they are helpful in the short term. For example, one study found that students who received small awards for completing their work spent more time on task and had a higher rate of task completion than those who were not given any awards.
It’s also important to keep in mind that not all students respond to rewards in the same way. Some students may be more motivated by tangible rewards like candy or toys. However, others may prefer intangible rewards like extra free time or privileges. As a result, it’s important to experiment with different types of rewards to see what works best for your students. Below are some ideas to help you start on the right path!
Classroom Rewards Students Love!
When it comes to rewards, there is no one-size-fits-all solution; different rewards work better for different students. Some students may respond better to tangible rewards such as candy or stickers while others may prefer intangible rewards such as praise or recognition from their peers. Whatever reward you choose, make sure that it is meaningful and relevant to your students.
Praise & Reinforcement-Praise and Positive Reinforcement
Sometimes all it takes to make a student feel special is a few words of praise. Instead of using extrinsic motivation like candy or prizes, try focusing on intrinsic motivation by giving your students compliments or simply telling them how proud you are of their hard work. This type of positive reinforcement can go a long way towards motivating your students to continue working hard. Leave your students little sticky notes of encouragement or motivation on their desk. You can also make pre-made notes to send home with your students.
If you’re looking for something that will really excite your students, why not try virtual rewards? Virtual rewards could take many forms, such as extra time on their favorite computer game or an extra hour on their tablet. This type of reward encourages students to engage with technology, but also provides an outlet for them to use it responsibly. By rewarding them with something they enjoy doing anyway, you can be sure that your reward will be appreciated!
Fun and Games
Games can be an excellent way to reward your students in the classroom. Whether they’re playing board games or a collaborative class game, games are a great way to engage your class while also teaching them important lessons about teamwork and cooperation. Plus, when everyone is having fun together it makes learning more enjoyable!
Exciting, Tangible Awards
One of my all-time favorite incentives that truly works in my classroom (and the kids go crazy for) are my prize jars. I choose 5-6 inexpensive prizes like stickers, candy, ice cream, 5 free points on a quiz, and erasers. These are prizes that are not going to break the bank. Throughout the week, I hand the students tickets for answering questions correctly, homework, quiz grades, behavior, and any other reason I think a students deserves a ticket. At the end of class, my students can choose which jar to put their tickets in, and every Friday, I choose a winner. Of course, you are probably are wondering how I handle the different classes? I bought five different colored rolls of tickets! This is how I can quickly can pick tickets for each class.
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There is no one magic solution when it comes to finding effective classroom incentives, but experimenting with different types of rewards is a good place to start. Ultimately, the goal is to find something that motivates your students to achieve their academic goals—whether it’s a tangible reward like candy or an intangible reward like extra free time. Whatever you decide, make sure to give rewards consistently and fairly so that your students know that their hard work is paying off.