18 Reward Ideas to Use in the Classroom

One of the things I’ve been pondering all summer is how to translate my favorite elements of teaching in a classroom into an online learning setting–games, reading, rewards. I’ve worked on many ideas for including fun and engaging activities and games during virtual meetings. So, let’s talk rewards. Now, before anyone jumps on me about rewarding kids for expected behavior, I get it! I agree! But, everyone deserves praise and recognition for a job well done. Incorporating whole class rewards encourages teamwork and builds morale.

My tips for class rewards would be to provide choice, buy into their excitement and keep it novel. Here’s some options for distance learning rewards that are fun and motivating!
  • Virtual lunch with the teacher: Have an extra special virtual meeting to eat and chat. You could do a snack or drink break instead of an entire lunch for a quick treat!
  • Class game: There are SO many fun games you can play virtually. You could even sneak in some review. These interactive digital games are perfect to pair with any skill or subject!
  • Cut assignment in half: Pick or let students vote on an assignment and allow them to do half of it. 
  • Show and tell: A whole class show and tell virtual meeting might take a really long time. I would suggest spreading this out over a week and having a few kids share each day.
  • Dress up day: Brainstorm some options: costumes, fancy clothes, sports gear ect. 
  • Raffle prizes: I realize this one might be a little tricky as far as getting a prize to students. Maybe save it for closer to when you will be back in person? Put everyone’s name in a hat and raffle off some prizes–books, school supplies, bookmarks, snacks
  • Digital Dance Party: Throw on some KidzBop and get dancing! Share this Disco Ball video for added fun! 
  • Positive email to parents: Easy and free! Share why you are celebrating your class and encourage them to join in on congratulating their child.
  • Virtual Field Trip: So many great options out there! My bestie put together this choice board you could pick from! 
  • School page shout out: Does your school have a FB page or newsletter? Ask for your class to be featured and share why they are so awesome!
  • Special virtual meeting visitor: This was my FAVORITE thing to do in the spring! I had our math specialist, reading specialist, music teacher, P.E. teacher, principal and even a parent join me and my class on our virtual meetings. They could lead an activity or just be there to support the lesson! Let your class pick who they’d love to see. 
  • Invite another class: This could be SO much fun! While I didn’t do exactly this, I did have an entire grade level virtual meeting once. I invited extra teachers and we split off into breakout rooms to share a writing piece. 
  • Choose a GoNoodle song: This one is usually one of my most popular individual rewards. Don’t forget you can use GoNoodle in your virtual meetings! I pick the song unless my students have a pass so this is a special treat.
  • Mystery Reader: I LOVED doing this in the spring. I would invite a special guest and they would come into the virtual meeting with their video off (and name changed!). Students would get to ask yes or no questions before they revealed who they were and then read a book!
  • Joke Sharing: Get out those joke books! Have each student pick a joke or two to share with the class. Spread it out over the week as a fun way to start each lesson.
  • Vote on teacher’s hairstyle: Your students will LOVE picking out a stylish or silly hairstyle for your to try out. 
  • Change name for the day: In the virtual meeting, have students choose a silly name for the day. They can click the … in the corner of their video screen (on Zoom) to change it. Don’t forget to call them their name and change it back at the end!
  • Virtual scavenger hunt: I’m sure you have seen lots of scavenger hunts floating around. This is such a fun and easy way to reward positive behavior!
Keep track of your class progress towards earning a reward! These digital class incentive trackers are the perfect tool! Set a goal, choose a reward and work hard! Students will stay motivated with all of the different tracking options to choose from.

These can be used in PowerPoint or Google Slides. Just share your screen to display during your virtual meetings. I would suggest showing them at the beginning and then updating them on their progress at the end, too!  

I think it’s so important to continue to find ways to have fun and motivate students. Just like in the classroom, students will need extra encouragement to stay on track with their learning goals and class incentives are the perfect way to uplift students’ attitudes while creating a classroom community.

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