Ideas for Teachers – Creative Rewards For Elementary School Students
Giving awards to elementary age children is a great way to get them to participate in class and love learning. Rewards encourage students to do well on tests and assignments, participate in discussions, use good teamwork, and even help the teachers and other students. Plus, they make the students feel good about themselves. Some teachers use candy or stickers, but there are lots of creative ways to reward students.
Prizes and Passes
One of the most obvious ways to reward your students is with prizes and other incentives. Extra recess time and homework passes are popular options, giving hard-working kids some much needed free time. Other kinds of special passes work too: you can let students eat in the classroom for lunch, play a game during a normal study time, or get to hang out with an adult they admire during recess. Simply doing something different from the usual school day routine is appealing for a lot of kids. Many teachers also use prize boxes, sometimes called “treasure boxes.” Fill it with treasure like playdough, crayon packets, bendy straws, or other little prizes. Students who win a pass to the prize box get to pick out a treasure to keep.
Another way to reward students is to give them more responsibility. That might not sound like much fun to adults, but young students love to feel like they are capable and important. Giving students leadership positions or responsibilities is exciting for the students and easy for the teachers. You can let a student lead the lunch line, choose a class game or activity, help you teach a lesson, draw on the board, deliver something to another class, or complete other small tasks. Rewarded students will gain confidence and learn responsibility.
A straightforward way to reward elementary students is to encourage them. Visuals are especially useful. Spoken praises are nice, but young children are more likely to appreciate something they can see or feel. You can put stickers and smiley faces on assignments or put success stars next to student names on a bulletin board. Sometimes writing a note of praise can be a great encouragement too. After all, students can bring written notes home to their parents, show it to friends, and see good words about themselves every day. Recognizing students during announcements or displaying their projects in the classroom are other ways to show encouragement.
Reward the Whole Class
Awards don’t just have to be for one student. Teachers can also reward the whole class. Classes who behave well as a group — are quiet during study time, use good teamwork, etc. — can enjoy these awards together. Promising elementary students a field trip day or a class day outside will encourage students to work together. Outdoor rewards are especially helpful because kids get fresh air and exercise while they learn. Having a pizza party, watching a movie, dancing to music, or playing a fun class game are great rewards too.
Make It Fun
Whatever rewards you choose, make sure to make it fun. Reward students who work hard by letting them wear their pyjamas to school or doing arts and crafts. Give students points for accomplishing tasks, then let students pick prizes once they reach a certain score. For elementary students, competing for points will be almost as much fun as the prize itself. Some teachers have even tried role playing with students to encourage them to do well. Let your students choose imaginary characters and give that character points when the student does well. Your students will love using their imagination and learning at the same time.