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reward system?

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Danielle Breslin Danielle Breslin 1695 Points

I am about to be a sophomore in college with early education and I like to start planning and try to figure out what kind of teacher I want to be to my student. Well I started to think of ways I could motivate or engage them by possibly doing a reward system. I remember when I was in elementary school my teachers done something like that. Any ideas or thoughts about whether its worth trying?

Jill Aller Jill Aller 1770 Points

Fred Jones' PAT (Preferred Activity Time) is a great way to start doing the reward system. Check out his website

Kathy Jenkins Kathy Jenkins 885 Points

After 25 years of teaching, I've found that positive rewards are fine IF they are intermittent and not every time. Students quickly develop a sense of entitlement very quickly if they learn to expect an extrinsic reward. Additionally, it's helpful to structure those times so that over a reasonably short time period, everyone in the class gets one of those rewards. Also, if everyone can't be rewarded for something, you can soon develop an extremely competitive situation fast when you're actually better off fostering cooperation. Be extremely selective in how you go about implementing this type of system. Best wished!!!

Cassandra Edmond Cassandra Edmond 515 Points

I am not a full time teacher but I am an after-school-care teacher at Devon Aire Elementary. I have 35 second grade students at the moment and at that age children love to run around and talk ALOT. Having 35 students was a bit overwhelming for me when I first started but I thought about a plan that will encourage my kids to behave. What I do is, I have my students on a point system. There is a site called Class Dojo where you can manage each of your student's points. You have options where you can give individual students points or you can give the whole class. I usually give the students points when they complete homework, when they are on task, when they help clean the classroom, being kind, or helpful in the classroom (You can create your own tabs and label the behaviors you'd like to give points for). Now, if they are misbehaving, for example, they haven't completed homework, they are off task, or out seat; they will have a point deducted from their name. I usually display this on the smart board so that the students can view their points and see how they are doing. With my students, if they receive 15 points by the end of the week (Friday) then they will have a treat or toy from the treasure box. And the kids love it! Because what kid doesn't like candy or toys?! So, my kids really try their best to behave in the classroom because they know if they behave, they'll get a reward at the end of the week. I also do "Star of the Week" and star of the week is the student who gets the most points by the end of the week. Each week is a different student so that all the students have an opportunity to become the star.

Amy Yee Amy Yee 2205 Points

I am currently finishing up my last semester of student teaching in an kindergarten classroom. I have found that a reward system can be quite effective when used appropriately. When teaching students, especially students in the primary grades, it becomes somewhat of a necessity to have a reward system in place at the beginning. Students are more likely to do something when they know that they will be getting something in return. However, like many people in this form have mentioned, giving out extrinsic rewards or motivations only work to a certain extent. When students are just beginning to learn how to behave and learn in a classroom, it might be a good idea to reward them with things such as toys. However, you should gradually start introducing other rewards such as having them choose what classroom helper they would like to be for the day. And, if students cannot continue to show positive behaviors or improvement, then they should know that their reward might have to be taken away from them. It might also be a good idea to consult with your school and see if they have any reward system in place. At my school, they have this thing called "Cha-Chings" (a note stating the good behavior and a golden coin) where a teacher or school personnel can report the student for good behavior. When that happens, the principal calls that student into the office so that she can make a phone call to the student's parents and essentially brag about them. The student then gets to keep the golden coin and gets additional rewards from the principal as well.

Linda Ngo Linda Ngo 2775 Points

After reading all of the post about the reward system, this would definitely give me a better idea of how I'm going to reward my students for my future teaching.

Jamie Edgington Jamie Edgington 275 Points

I am currently in a classroom that uses the DOJO method. It is a free website and app you can check out. You can make it specific to your class and my second graders love it! when they get a specific amount of points they can choose from the bin which has prizes like candy, dollar store toys, and even passes (for no shoes, no homework etc.) Check it out! 

Jamie Tuttle Jamie Tuttle 1195 Points

I am a student teacher right now, so I do not have too much prior experience, but I have not had too much success with using a reward system to motivate children to participate in the classroom.  At a summer camp I work at we used to motivate our campers to participate in some games by providing a prize for a winner.  The campers ended up expecting a prize for every game instead of playing just for the fun of it.  So all in all, I think that other strategies, such as creating fun and engaging lessons and activities, should be used to motivate our students to participate.   However, I do believe in using a reward system for younger students, and certain older students.  I also think that students can begin to depend on rewards, but I do think that it works for some students, especially younger students.  

I am a student teacher at an elementary school. I find the reward system effective if it is used to help students develop intrinsic motivation. In other words, I think that the rewards should be intermittent. Even though there are many reward systems out there, it is important to note that a reward system may work one year, but it might not work with another class. In other words, I think it is important to get to know your students in order to know what kind of rewards will motivate them. In addition, it is also important to pay close attention to the implementation of the system and the effect it has on individual students. Currently, I am working with a student who was given rewards to encourage him to do work or to encourage him to not misbehave. Since the student was given the reward before producing any work, now he demands rewards before doing anything. If he is not given rewards, he throws away the work or claims to be tired. Therefore, I think that implementation of the system is key.

Ashley Randall Ashley Randall 1535 Points

Hello, I am also a current student, and i am majoring in Early Childhood education. I have heard a lot of mixed reviews about the traditional reward system. I always thought a reward system would be great in the class especially because like you said, I have grown up seeing them in my own classes. However, as i continue my education as a future teacher I find that extrinsic reward systems may not always be so beneficial. I think it is important to focus a lot more on an intrinsic reward system. Furthermore, most extrinsic reward systems can cause embarrassment to students. If you use a extrinsic reward system i think you should research different ideas and methods. Make sure that students aren't being embarrassed, and make sure that the system is properly rewarding positive behavior and disciplining negative behavior. Make sure students are understanding what behaviors you want to see and which behaviors you don't want to see. Furthermore, provide students with rewards that are fun, but yet still educational. Giving a child a student is nice, but it is not really benefiting them. Perhaps students can get extra time on the computer to play educational games, or perhaps you can have a book shop where students can choose a book to keep, or choose the next book for you to read for class. There's a lot of good ideas for rewards besides giving candy and stickers!

Danielle Breslin Danielle Breslin 1695 Points

Ok and a lot of what you said makes sense and I do agree. Thanks :)

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92316 Points

Daniel Pink has a couple of books out that are excellent reads:
Drive and
A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future
I found the Drive book to be a great resource on intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation.

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92316 Points

Daniel Pink has a couple of books out that are excellent reads:
Drive and
A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future
I found the Drive book to be a great resource on intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation.

Emily Carlson Emily Carlson 1570 Points

I think a reward system is a great idea. It helped motivate kids to pay attention so they can get the reward.

Tammy Huang Tammy Huang 1785 Points

I have noticed that in my student teaching class (kindergarten), my guide teacher uses table jars and adds a marble to the jar when their table is behaving, participating, listening, etc. When it fills up, they can go to the treasure box and pick something out such as pencil, stickers, crayons, stamps, etc. She also has a whole class reward jar. She uses an individual behavior chart with the stop light colors (green = great day, yellow = warning, red = inappropriate behavior / no choice time). If all the kids are on green, she adds a marble to the whole class reward jar. If that fills up, they get a party or watch a movie. For example, a popcorn party, pizza party, watch the movie "Frozen", etc. For individual rewards, she gives out stickers. For example, if the class was noisy during whole class discussion and she notices that a few students are sitting nice, she would say "I like how ___ is sitting nice and ready to listen." And gives her a sticker. It's funny how quickly the other students will notice and immediately sit nice and quite.

Joanne Harkness joanne harkness 435 Points

We were just exposed to the Dojo website that you can use in classrooms. I have not seen it done in any classrooms I am in; however, the presentation looked great and students in the credential program who have worked with it love it. Also, do design a program that will take more time for you to do. It should not be a punishment for the teacher and a reward for the students.

Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43175 Points

I have taught middle school for 22 years and have used both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. Early in my career, it was so much easier to use the external motivators such as watching the movie, “Frozen.” Now however, there are often pacing guides that have to be caught up with, testing that has to be done – after all, we leave no child left untested or left standing – so every moment has to be spent teaching in order for students to score well on the building, district or state assessments. You now have to be super careful about allergies, so food is always questionable. Personally, I don’t want the liability. Stickers are nice, but what happens when those stickers end up somewhere they shouldn’t be, like the screen of a computer and now the computer is ruined. I know, we are not talking about all children, but the reality is, it only takes one. For years now, I have changed my focus from “rewards” as such, to motivating students through acknowledging their quest for learning. A new system that has emerged within the last year or so includes electronic or digital badges students can earn. These badges are similar to what you can earn here in the NSTA Learning Center. The good news is, the badges can follow students through their whole academic career. As they gain knowledge and accomplishments, badges are awarded electronically. Some resources I’ve looked at that have helped mold my thinking on the digital badge system are: Digital Badges in the Classroom; What is a digital badge? On this last website, there is an excellent YouTube video, “What is a Badge” that is really worth watching. I would be really interested to know if anyone has used the digital badge system, what program you are using and how well it is working.

Caroline Dillon Caroline Dillon 315 Points

I think some sort of reward system is crucial. Students (like adults) like to have something to look forward to! I have seen many reward systems in the classes I have taught in and observed in. In just about all classes i've experienced there has been a table points award system. Typically theres 5-8 tables in one classroom and when they all work together to be the first ones quite/paying attention with their desks cleared they get a point tally and at the end of the week the table with the most points gets to pick out a prize from the treasure chest or some sort of reward. This simple reward system is exceedingly motivating. Keep in mind that every reward system comes with some sort of complications. Students will be sore losers. So you always have to teach students to be happy for their classmates and support everyone in the room.

Elyse Chan Elyse Chan 865 Points

This is great thing to point out. I am in my first year of student teaching and I realized how my cooperating teacher reinforces classroom community by having students support each other when others are rewarded. Nonetheless, in the beginning a few students were bothered for not getting a reward when they wanted, but now they learn to be content as everyone in the class will have a chance to be rewarded. 

Ashley Kirkwood Ashley Kirkwood 455 Points

I am in my credential program right now and one reward system I heard about was some type of money system. The students receive monopoly money and can use the money to pay for things and reward items. The teacher who explained this to my class told us that she would have the students keep a check book in order to keep track of their money. I think this is a good idea because it provides multiple purposes; it can be a math activity, reward system, and teach them about money! Good luck!

Kathryn Cleary Kathryn Cleary 460 Points

I find this topic very interesting because there are so many alternatives now a days to the traditional reward system of stickers, candy, and prize boxes. I don't think these methods teach children positive behavior. Kids now a days have outsmarted these systems and in most cases only exhibit the behaviors we want to get the reward. I like the idea of giving table points as a reward for table groups. This will hopefully motivate students to work collaboratively toward a common goal. This system is very low maintenance and would only need to be addressed every semester or quarter. I'm sure this could work for all grades, but it is probably more well suited for the higher grades.

Chris Leverington Chris Leverington 4035 Points do you have time to do all the stuff you do???

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92316 Points

Isn't that the truth, Chris?! I hope her administrators appreciate her!!!

Stephanie Camacho Stephanie Camacho 1780 Points

I am also a student but I have had the privilege of being a teaching assistant for 3 years. Sometimes I would need to take care of a class while the teacher was in meetings and depending on the grade level I did different rewards for good positive behavior. I set high expectations of how they should behave with me. I either did a point system or made fake coupons that said "I am an awesome leader", if I had the time I would even make badges they could wear that said "I was caught being a leader". I stayed far away from candy, since kids are naturally hyper and some parents would send them with only a soda and hot cheetos for lunch. If I gave anything away, it would be pencils, erasers, and sharpeners. Since I am a teaching assistant and did lunch duty everyday, if the WHOLE class behaved I would give them "free friday", where they could sit with whoever they wanted in the class during lunch. As a teacher you could reward them with taking them back to class for lunch, or eating lunch with them. The possibilities are endless, you just have to find what feels right to you.

Jessica McDaniel Jessica McDaniel 2440 Points

I think it depends on your students and what works for them. I was a manager at a retail store with over 100 employees and they were all different. Some just wanted acknowledgment of their hard work, others wanted monetary, some a drink or snack would do. Just find out what works best. I am currently doing student teaching and asked my cooperating teacher if she uses DOJO. She said she starts to use it when needed. When that becomes old to the students she has other reward systems she uses.

Sarah Sanchez Sarah Sanchez 1555 Points

Reward systems are great and work for all elementary level students. I personally like rewarding the students with certificates towards something they want. It should be about the students interest.

Destiny Huggins Destiny Huggins 10040 Points

I am also a student and have also heard mixed reviews on reward systems. One that I saw that I liked was when as student did something positive they would put a chip (poker chip) with their number on it into a bin. All the students this. At the end of the week the teacher would draw a chip from the bin at random. So, there was no guarantee that if you were good you would get something, but the better you were the better chance you had. I sort of thought that was an interesting way to go about a reward system.

Christina Hong Christina Hong 1110 Points

Rewards system can be beneficial in the classroom, however there are some ways it can hinder a child’s learning as well. It all really depends, but the reward should definitely match the task at hand and should be given at appropriate times only. Rewards can be a great tool to motivate children to do their work, however it may result in their effort only to achieve that extrinsic reward. I grew up on a reward system also when I attended Elementary School and noticed that many people who did not receive rewards were often left feeling sad or with low self-esteem. For me, I was book smart and sometimes received rewards, but when it came to other subjects like art and physical education, I would lack and watch others be considered the winners while I was left in the dark. This may be how some others felt when it came to math and reading when they couldn’t receive rewards. I guess it really depends on the task, the effort, and the timing of the reward. I think a great way to implement the reward system is to do it based on the class, that way everyone works as a unit to behave and try their best. Maybe having a jar to fill with marshmallows or something that would allow the whole class to receive an incentive once the jar was full like a pizza party or a movie afternoon. I think these would motivate kids more rather than individual prizes for completing required work.

Leslie Gonzalez Leslie Gonzalez 2260 Points

As a future teacher, I myself always think about the kind of classroom environment I want to build for my students. Part of classroom management is determining how you will reward students. I personally like rewarding students with activities they enjoy doing. For example, if a student is on task all week Friday allow him to play on the computer or play with play dough, etc. I am not for the whole conduct chart displays in the classroom because that puts students on blast and they may feel embarrassed by it. I think they will be much more likely to behave if they know they will get to do something they enjoy than just doing it for green conduct or a sticker! Here is a website with great ideas. (:

Jane Kim Jane Kim 2130 Points

At the school I work at, the teacher has a class reward at the end of the month if they meet certain requirements. The rewards can range from a class trip to a class pizza party or anything of that sort. The requirements include raising hands while talking, participating in class, and such. From my observations, this reward system seems to be going well. The students are all working together towards the goal, so it encourages teamwork as well.


Reward systems are great for students because it is a form of motivation to get them to work towards the main goals the teacher has set. I have seen many classrooms reward their students by tables. Each table has to work as a whole in order to receive the reward so if one does something wrong this causes the whole table not to be rewarded. This seems to builds team work everyone motivates other to do the right thing in order to be rewarded.

Sarah Kim Sarah Kim 1415 Points

I would really, really recommend taking a look at different literature on classroom management. There has been a lot of research done on different types of strategies to become the type of teacher you want to be. Looking at options will be able to help you reflect on yourself and your future plans for teaching. It'll be able to guide you towards your decision-making and add insight!

Arielle Gutierrez Arielle Gutierrez 995 Points

I like giving preferred activity time (PAT) as well. I don't liekt hte idea of too many extrinsic rewards and PAT rewards with time/an activity. The students are actually doing something production, rather than getting a sticker that'll last a minute or two.

Yunet Pelaez Yunet Pelaez 2980 Points

Hello everyone, I am a student at Florida International University (FIU) and I am currently enrolled in the education program. FIU allows us students to become knowledgeable about the day-to-day instruction in the public schools and well as putting what we learn in the classroom to practice. I would like to share a reward system I discovered during my field experience. It was great to see how well students react to a reward system. I must say, I believe reward systems are a great way to keep students engaged and motivated. During my field experience, I witnessed a fourth grade writing teacher use a reward system that she named "The Marble Game". The teacher had the students sit in clusters and created table teams. The students each had a cup with their table number written on it. The teams would earn marbles for staying on task and following directions. For instance, during transitions, the teacher gave marbles to the groups that were ready for the following lesson. On Fridays, the teacher counted all the marbles in each cup and the team with the most marbles got to pick an item from a treasure box. The reward system the teacher used motivated students to work as a team and stay on task throughout each day, it seemed to work effectively.

Sha' Antoinette Price Sha' Price 4615 Points

I like the idea of The Marble Game. This would definitely teach students to be accountable for their actions. Students would also be aware of how their behavior can affect their classmates.

Allison Oharriz Allison Oharriz 610 Points

One of the positive reinforcments that I have seen that I enjoy is the coupon box. Teacher makes a coupon box were if students are behaving well all week long, they can go ahead and pick which coupon they want. ( Sitting in the teachers chairs, swapping desk, reading by themselves in the library, etc) this gives the student a chance to make a choice and then they have to decide when they would like to use this coupon in the classroom. The coupon privilege could be taken away if they are misbehaving though..

Nanako Kaieda Nanako Kaieda 1850 Points

I am a preservice teacher as well and in the class that I have been in during my student teaching placement uses "free time" as a reward for the students. (special ed / middle school setting) The students are allowed to do what they want for a short period of time (about 3min average). Some students jump around, bounce a ball, be on their phone, and etc. Some students choose to be on a learning game that helps with their spelling. With the technology that we have now, a reward could be being on a learning game for 5min or something. Reading all these great posts was very helpful as well to know more ideas and practices other teachers are doing. Thank you everyone!

Sandra Gonzalez Sandra Gonzalez 960 Points

It definitely works for some students but not all. During my two years of student teaching, I was able to work with 3rd grade students as well as kindergarteners. The 3rd grade teacher had a reward system but the K teacher did not. The reward system involved stamps. When students showed good behavior in the classroom, that behavior was rewarded by getting stamps, which they could trade in for a small prize from the treasure box. Most students liked the idea with the exception of a few. They also received stamps for scoring well on their exams or certain assignments Some students had a difficult time behaving so all the block teachers had to come up with individual behavioral plans for those struggling students. Usually the ones that misbehaved were the ones who did not really care to receive stamps. I even heard one of the students say, "I don't care to get stamps in this class because there's nothing I like from this treasure box. I rather get them in the other class." The other block teacher he would go to must have had "cooler" treasure.

ELANE GIRWARR Elane Girwarr 385 Points

A common reward system used amongst younger classrooms is the red, yellow, and green light system. I was in a classroom where the teacher had crowns, which was the school mascot. Unlike the light system students were actually rewarded for positive things done with class; a reward was gaining additional crowns. At the end of th week if a student had acquired a certain amount of crowns they were able to go to the treasure chest. I personally liked this system because the light system only reflects negative behavior while the crowns system also rewarded students for positive gains.

Kayla SanMartin Kayla SanMartin 395 Points

Have you ever heard of It is a website and app and you create an account for your class. You input all of your students names and they are featured as little monsters on a webpage. They also have an account with their monsters and have the option to change what they look like. The parents also have a login so that they can communicate with you. I display the webpage on my smartboard and you give the monsters negative and positive points depending on the students behavior. At the end of the week, if the students make it to 15 positive points, they get a reward. I love it, it is the most effective class management tool I have ever worked with. Give it a try! Hope this helped you.

Daniel Carroll Daniel Carroll 18610 Points

No. If you are interested in engaging students... Be engaging. Even tough kids want approval..... Show approval for small accomplishments at first. Then acknowledge the accomplishments, but only show approval for achievement later. It is not a game... It is a relationship.

Ariana Cruz Ariana Cruz 1225 Points

Doing a gem jar for the class is perfect when you are wanting a reward system in your classroom. Check out the link below!

Jennifer Arbaiza Jennifer Arbaiza 1635 Points

I think you should decide to use a reward system after you see what kind of classroom you have your first year. My current students right now are an extremely rowdy group. I've come to learn that a reward system works with them because they need that extrinsic motivation in order to behave well. I've also seen classrooms in which teachers are able to use intrinsic motivation in order to get the students to behave and it works just as well. I would personally use intrinsic motivation in my classroom if I could but like I said, it depends on the kind of classroom that you have.

Sammi Toia Sammi Toia 360 Points

A reward system is definitely a good thing to have in your classroom. It is also important to have a consequence system. Mine are both related. I have a few different reward/consequence systems that we use in our classroom. I have a monetary rewards system that is individualized with each student. This is a good way to reward the students while also helping them learn about financial responsibility. They receive money (that I created online) for good behavior, good work, and other similar causes. Students also have classroom jobs that they get paid for. Each month, I have a student store where the students can spend their money for prizes and fun things. Students are aware that if they misbehave, they may be required to pay me money in return. We also have a class reward system. Our school assigns each grade level a college to look up to. Our school is Yale, so we have a stuffed animal dog (since their mascot is a dog) who gets dog treats in his food bowl for good behavior. As soon as the class fills up the dog bowl they get a whole class prize. 

Karolina Baltierrez Karolina Baltierrez 1700 Points

I am a student teacher currently working in an elementary classroom. My cooperating teacher uses the reward system where she gives points to the teams/groups that are the least quiet. Once the students see her rewarding a group because of their behavior or because their tables are clean, etc., they also want to get a point as well. As result, they start to behave and do the same thing as the group who got rewarded. I have seen positive results with this reward system. Hope this helps!

Stephanie Bravo Stephanie Bravo 1415 Points

In my classroom we have a built in school wide reward system where students receive something called lab loot which is essentially fake money. They receive a loot when they go above and beyond expectations. They are able to save up and go to our school store to buy items. It really does work with all students. Because I do not want them to always expect this, I try not to do it so often. It keeps the students on there toes as to when they will earn a lab loot. 

Taylor Hurd Taylor Hurd 480 Points

I am currently a student teacher in a second grade classroom. My guide teacher uses a money system in the classroom forgood behavior and for completing homework. The students get fake money. About every two months, my guide teacher will have "store" for the students. She will have a variety of items for them to "purchase". They have to use their fake money to "purchase" the items. The students love this and they always want to be on their best behavior and complete their homework so they can buy the big items. 

Olivia Yoo Ji Hyun Yoo 805 Points

I'm currently student teaching in a life skills class also in Houston, TX. My cooperating teacher believes in heavily and likes using the method of using checkmarks and the token system for his students for the reward system. I think it is a wonderful idea watching the young students get motivated to earn checkmarks for them to win prizes with tokens earned from their checkmarks at the end of class.

Dexter Valley Dexter Valley 50 Points

I think award systems are great for students, especially for Elementary students. For them, it is a reassurance that they are doing the right thing as for the Teacher it is reinforcement for example A student answer a five question concisely right in class. As a treat the Teacher could give the student a sticker or let the student sit in the special seat.

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