Classroom Rewards Advice Wanted

2 Sep

As a third-year teacher, classroom management is something that I am constantly working on improving. Most of the time I think I do a pretty good job, but I’m a long way from perfection. I really love the idea of positive reinforcement as a classroom management tool. Because of this I’ve been searching Pinterest the internet in search of classroom reward systems, and I’m a little overwhelmed by all the options out there.

A lot of the options I’ve stumbled across seem pretty complex. They involve pennies or popsicle sticks or little pom pom balls and then these things are traded in for stickers which are added up to equal different amounts and then those amounts can get you a coupon which you can then use to “purchase” a reward. Ok, so maybe that’s an exaggeration, but you get my point. These systems involve a lot of storage and an intricate filing system that just isn’t plausible in my current teaching position. I’m a middle school teacher with 90 students to keep track of, not an elementary teacher with a class of about 30. Furthermore, I don’t have my own classroom in which to store these objects or walls hang a sticker/incentive chart on. Throughout the day I travel to four different classrooms, so what I need is simplicity.

I know this much: I love the systems that involve reward coupons like “Listen to your iPod while you work” or “Sit next to a friend for a day.” What I’m struggling with now is how exactly to have my students earn these rewards. It seems clear that I need to hand out some sort of ticket or token which they would then turn in to earn those rewards. But how often do I hand out these tokens? What do they need to do to earn a token? How many tokens do they need before they can earn a reward?

The closest system I’ve found to what I’ve been envisioning is one in which paper tickets are handed out for positive behavior, 100% on tests, etc. Once ten tickets are earned, students can put their names in a drawing for one of the reward coupons. At the end of the month, three names are drawn and those are the students who actually earn the reward.

Are there any teachers out there who have tried a similar system? What has worked in the past for you? I’m particularly interested in advice from middle school teachers. Any tips or tricks would be much appreciated!


2 Responses to “Classroom Rewards Advice Wanted”

  1. kaylashook September 2, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

    Ok, so I admit, I’m an elementary teacher, but I think this idea could work for you. It’s very similar to what you have already said. The Special Ed. teachers I work with have used this system because they travel around to various classrooms with different levels of students.

    A ticket system similar to what you are talking about, but a giant roll of tickets they sell at Wal-Mart or office supply store. Give them out for desirable behaviors, or those that students are being successful with according to their behavior contracts. You could then either make a menu of items they can buy with their tickets, or so a drawing like you said. I have a list of 125 totally free rewards for students on my blog under classroom management (Homeworkopoly Rewards). That way you could possibly just carry around a list with you and not even have to give out coupons. It could just be a choice–just like choosing off of a menu. 🙂

    Hope this helps.

    • Andrea September 17, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

      Thanks so much for the advice! I do really like the idea of carrying around a menu instead of coupons – much more manageable. I haven’t started anything yet (since I’ve been preparing for my maternity leave), but when I get back from my leave I’m going to try this out. Thanks again!

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