Middle School Student Reward Ideas

Although I'd love it if all of my students are always intrinsically motivated in class, it just doesn't happen as often as I'd like. For the times when my students need a little extrinsic motivation (or when a student goes above and beyond on their own), I like to have a few options on hand to reward individual students.

Rewards for Individual Students
  • A call or email home about the great things the student did in class: This means a lot to many students and is a wonderful way for a teacher to build a connection with the families. I try to use this reward for my most difficult students who don't often hear about the good things they do.
  • Extra credit: I use this sparingly so the grades are still a true reflection of the concepts students have mastered during the year.
  • Candy: This is always a winner.
  • Homework passes: Students value the time they spend outside of school and are grateful to get an occasional break from homework.  Here are some free homework passes I created.
  • Stickers: I'm always surprised by how much middle school students love stickers. I don't know if it is because I get super excited about stickers myself and that influences them or if they just plain love stickers. Also, middle school students like to wear their stickers on their faces (FYI).
  • Books: Even though I teach science, I still like to give books to my students. During the summer I try to stock up on the very inexpensive books that can be found at garage sales.
  • Choosing the music played during class: When students work on projects or assignments in class I like to play music in the background. Students love choosing the music themselves. Just make sure the student understands that the chosen music must be school appropriate.
  • Allowing food during class: In my classroom, snacking during class is generally a no go, so when students can have food they get pretty excited about it. Students can bring in their own snacks, but I don't allow them to share the food unless they make arrangements with me beforehand and bring enough for everyone. 

When to Use These Rewards
  • As a prize for the winners of review games
  • When a student gives a particularly thoughtful response to a question
  • When a student is spotted doing something especially kind for others
  • Attending tutoring outside of class time
  • Consistent effort during class
  • When a student goes above and beyond on an assignment
  • When a student is particularly helpful to a substitute teacher

I hope these ideas work for your classroom and your students!  Remember to check out the free homework passes in my Teachers pay Teachers store.

 Free Homework Pass

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