Motivators & Incentives for Elementary Students
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Motivators & Incentives for Elementary Students

Some of the Best Incentives and Motivators for Elementary Students

Getting kids interested in class assignments can be tough. Keeping kids interested in class is even tougher. How can you get them involved in learning and keep them interested? Should you kill them with candy or whip out a ruler and demand answers? Obviously, candy works better, but here are some new ideas to keep their attention without tricking them with treats.

Create a Token System

Creating a token system can be a good way for students to earn rewards for desired behavior. In effective token systems, students know which behaviors and outcomes warrant tokens, the values assigned to the tokens, and the culmination of the incentive system. The system needs a currency, and it works best when students can earn tokens frequently, with opportunities during each class or subject.

Some ideas for currency are:

  • Points
  • Stickers
  • Tickets
  • Play money

A culmination of the token-earned period needs a due date, rewards, and a basic cost structure. Keep it all simple!

Due Date or Ending Period

  • End of the week
  • End of the class
  • End of the day
  • Homework pass
  • Candy
  • Pencils and/ or erasers
  • Teacher’s assistant for a week
  • Extra points added to an assignment
Cost Structure
  • Students who earn the most tokens: homework pass, extra points
  • 5 tokens= homework pass
  • 4 tokens= teacher’s assistant

    Try using a balloon board

    Make the balloon board color coded. At the top of the board, add larger balloons as a key.

    • Green Balloon-Good Behavior
    • Yellow Balloon-Warning
    • Blue Balloon-Lost Privileges
    • Red Balloon-Teacher Calls Parent

    Give each student a pocket with the student’s name on it. At the end of each week, if the student still has a green balloon, they get to visit the treasure box (use stickers, candy, or other incentives). Prepare the balloons before school starts. Get green balloons for the whole class, yellow balloons for about half of the class, and possibly 5 blue and 5 red. Put them in a small mini pocket chart and velcro it to the bottom of Balloon Board for easy access.

    Implement class drawings on Fridays

    The rewards can be things like:

    • Sit at the teacher’s desk for the day or some special station in the classroom
    • 15 minutes playing an educational computer game
    • Be the “caller” for bingo
    • Make up a math problem for the other students to solve
    • Go to lunch 5 minutes early with a friend
    • Stay out for a longer recess with a friend
    • Choose your seat for the day
    • Read a favorite book out loud to the class

    There are other free things you can use as rewards. You can really tailor these rewards to fun things your class enjoys. Perhaps pick 2 or 3 winners and then for fun, pick one more and that person is the “Cool Person of the Day”. In the end, it’s about getting students motivated and keeping them motivated in the classroom!! You can check our Motivators and Incentives section for other ideas!

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