Upper elementary students aren’t always easy to motivate but with the right student rewards, it can be done. That’s why I’ve rounded up 30 highly motivating ideas for classroom rewards that you can use right away.
But, that’s just the start. You can actually snag the complete list of 60 ideas for classroom rewards – absolutely free! Let’s face it, you can never have too many tricks up your sleeve.
Now, before we dive into using student reward coupons in the classroom, I go over the “ground rules” with students. It goes a bit like this.
First, although these rewards are meant to be exciting, you still need to get your work done. For example, if you earn bringing a stuffy to school, you still need to get your work done while having your stuffed animal with you.
Second, your reward can’t be disruptive to your fellow classmates. It can’t be a zoo in our classroom every time a student has a reward to cash in.
Third, you need to keep track of your own coupons. Keep it somewhere safe so it doesn’t get lost because you’ll need to “cash it in” when you want to use it.
Lunch With a Friend
Students pick a friend to sit with at lunchtime. For added fun, they could also pick a special spot to sit. You could even open it up to invite a friend from another class.
Sit in The Teacher’s Chair
You decide if students get to sit in your chair for the day or for a class period. They can bring your chair to their spot or can work at your desk. You call the shots!
Students get to explore their passions through free time. They can bring something from home or choose a class activity that they enjoy. Have them let you know what activity they will be doing during free time to make sure you approve.
Help Teacher Plan Activity
The student gets to get in on the planning action. Your student assists in planning an activity for the class, helping to make decisions along the way. Ideas are for students to help plan math rotations, give input on choices for an ELA choice board, or decide on the craft you’ll be making in Art when provided with options.
Personal PJ Day
Students bring the comfort of home by wearing their PJs. Students with this coupon will be the only ones wearing PJs, though, so make sure they feel comfortable with that.
Bring a Stuffed Animal
Students bring a stuffed animal to class. They get to show off their favourite stuffy all day, as long as they continue to complete their school tasks.
Be First All Day Long
These students get to be first for everything throughout the day. Examples are lining up first, getting materials first, leaving school first, you get the drift.
Be The Class Leader
Students get to lead the class for a period or even the whole day. They can be your “go to” person for any leadership jobs you need completed. These students could be in charge of leading morning meeting, a stretch in P.E., etc. They can bring forth suggestions, too.
Show and Tell
This one is a classic. Let students bring something special to share with the class. It allows them to connect with their peers. I promise, even upper elementary kids love to do show and tell. After they are done “showing and telling” they could ask three classmates for a positive comment or question.
Help Your Teacher
This student becomes the teacher’s trusty sidekick for the day. They’ll help out with small tasks, getting an insider’s perspective on what it’s like to be a teacher for the day.
Sit At Your Teacher’s Desk
This student gets to set up shop at your desk. It’s up to you if you’ll have students choose one class period to work at your desk, or if you’re willing to give it up for the whole day. Your choice!
Read to the Class
Your student can choose their favourite book, or part of a favourite book, and become the narrator. It’s a great way for them to share their love of reading with their peers.
60 Ideas for Classroom Rewards
Get your hands on the complete list of 60 classroom reward ideas. I’m sharing 30 in this post, but there’s more where that came from. Just drop your details below and grab the complete set. That’s 60 ideas for classroom rewards, right at your fingertips!‘
Use Pen for the Day
If your students are anything like mine, they’re obsessed with using pens. They are constantly asking if they can use a pen and my answer is usually, “Not this time.” With this reward, they can use the pen for the day, no matter the assignment.
A student’s dream come true. With this coupon, they don’t need to wear shoes. However, they should keep them with them at all times in case there is an emergency.
Pick Your Own Spot
Your student gets to claim their spot in the classroom for the day. This could mean choosing from spot choices that you’ve given them or letting them choose their own. Beware, if you let them choose their own they may end up in a whacky spot like working under a table. If you’re okay with that, then that’s cool.
Your student gets to choose to have indoor recess, even if their classmates are going outside. Keep in mind that they will need to be supervised. Students especially get excited about this reward during the colder winter months!
Students get to weather their favourite hat all day long. This reward only applies if your school and/or classroom has a no-hat policy.
This reward is a little tech treat. It’s highly motivating for those tech-savvy upper elementary students. They get a set amount of screen time (e.g. 15 minutes) to do something of their choice that’s pre-approved by you, their lovely teacher.
Eat With Your Teacher
Have a student-teacher lunch date. Students who love to chat and connect with you will love this one.
Double the playtime! Your student gets extra recess time. There are a few considerations with this one, do they get to continue to play outside? If so, who is supervising them at this time? Does this mean that the entire class gets to stay out and play with them? Do they get to have a friend stay out with them? Alternatively, they can come back into class and play quietly while the rest of the class gets started.
Use Special Supplies
Students can choose pens, markers, highlights, or other goodies. It’s your choice if you’d like them to bring these special supplies from home or if you’ll have special supplies for them to choose from. Also, will they use these supplies for one work period? Or be able to use them for the entire day?
Choose A Seat
The student gets to pick their seat for the day. This is perfect if you do flexible seating. They can stay at their assigned spot but change the actual chair that they are sitting on. For example, they may choose to sit on the floor or use a wobble stool.
Skip Morning Work
This student gets to start the day with a break! They get to pass on morning work, giving them a bit of extra time to ease into their day.
Positive Note Home
Send a glowing note home with this student to let parents know the good that they are doing in class. Tip: make sure that everything you share is accurate and truthful.
Music as You Work
This student gets to enjoy some background music while they work. This student must use their class headphones or bring in headphones to not disturb anyone. Their music choice must also be school-appropriate.
Students get to switch their class job for that day. This gives them an opportunity to put their leadership skills to work doing a class job that they enjoy.
Lead Morning Meeting
Your student gets to step into the leadership role of running the morning meeting with the class.
Gum in Class
Students get the green light to [responsibly] chew gum in class. It’s up to you if they need to bring gum from home or if you will provide them with a piece or two.
Help in Another Class
These students get a change of scenery while supporting students in another class. This works great if you do buddy classes as students can go support in a younger grade with students that they are familiar with. Make sure that the other classes’ teacher is okay with you sending your student and has something for them to help with.
Grab the 60 Engaging Ideas for Classroom Rewards
And there you have it, 30 highly motivating ideas for classroom rewards. Remember, that’s not all though. Drop your details below to grab your free download of the complete list featuring these 30 ideas and 30 more. That’s 60 student reward ideas to start using today!‘
Happy teaching! 🏻