I know your time is limited, so let’s get straight into today’s topic: non tangible behavior incentives!

When I began teaching, I had a reward system as part of my over all behavior system. Students would earn “money” over the course of week and on Fridays got to spend it in our class “store”. The store was full of fun school supplies, toys and little knickknacks.

By my second year of teaching, halfway through the year, I realized this just wasn’t working. I constantly had to make sure the store was “stocked” and half of the knickknacks ended up scattered all over the classroom. Friday’s were often very busy days, but I had to make sure we had time for the “store” so my students could spend their “good behavior” money. 

Ditching the Tangible Rewards

So I decided to make two simple changes. I still wanted to reward my students, they enjoyed our store and deserved it.

The first thing I did, was get rid of the tangible rewards and began using “coupons”. These coupons were for anything from homework passes to extra technology time.

The second thing I did, was change the frequency of the “store shopping” day. We went from every Friday, to once a month on the last school day of the month. This worked so well for me because the last day of the month could land on any day of the week, not just our busy Fridays. Now, keep in mind that my students were third graders, so a longer time between shopping days was fine. 

behavior incentives coupons

Simple Changes Yield Results

Doing these two simple things was a game changer for me. I didn’t have to worry about stocking the “store” because I printed the coupons out one time (making multiple copies) and laminated them so they would last the whole year. Students would turn in their coupons as they used them over the course of the following month and the coupons would go right back into the “store”.

Also, going from every Friday to once a month made shopping day that much more special and students enjoyed these rewards more than the toys they were getting previously. I’ve been using this system ever since (with tweaks here and there depending on the class).

I encourage you to take some time and evaluate your behavior management and reward systems. Don’t ever feel like you HAVE to stick with something just because you started the year with it. If it’s not working, change it and move on. 

Stick around for more simple, straight forward tips!