Keeping kids motivated in an age of smart phones and social media can be a tough task for any teacher. Students sometimes need some extra incentives and praise to keep up their hard work and learning. Fortunately, rewarding students for great work and behavior is one of the best perks of being a teacher. Here are five easy ways you can recognize student achievement without needing to plan an elaborate ceremony or reward system.
1. Positive phone calls home
Most parents have received that dreaded phone call from a teacher notifying them that a student is misbehaving or is not doing well in a class. Positive phone calls home can make a huge difference for parents and students. Parents will be overjoyed to get a phone call praising their child’s progress and kids will love that their parents get to be involved in their success.
2. Certificates of achievement
It doesn’t take a full ceremony to reward good behavior. Consider using small certificates of achievement to reward weekly good behavior, success on exams, or a student who has shown improvement or a particular act of kindness. Printable on colorful paper or certificate paper in your classroom, these small certificates can serve as tangible rewards for students.
3. Positive Behavior Systems
Positive behavior systems provide a reward economy – usually school based paper “dollars” – to reward students for achievement and good behavior. These school economy systems are a great way to reward achievement in the classroom and in the school. You can choose what to reward coupons for, letting you target student work, behavior, or improvement. Many teachers find success setting up a small classroom store that students can choose rewards from. Consider rewards like use of a special chair, five minutes of computer time, or extra time in a favorite activity. Small prizes such as stickers are also popular with many students.
4. Student work display
Displaying good student work not only models successful work to students, but also recognizes student achievement. Choose several projects or assignments that show off the best work of your class and create a colorful, noticeable display location in your room. Special seasonal bulletin board borders, colorful letters, or colorful paper can highlight student achievement.
5. Spotlight on the student
Perhaps the easiest way to recognize student achievement is to point out success and positive choices to the class right on the spot. For example, a student who raises her hand consistently might be praised to the class for consistently meeting classroom expectations. While this technique is simple, it can be powerful praise for a student to receive recognition from their teacher and their peers. This technique also has the added benefit of modeling good student behavior to the entire class.
With these five simple techniques, you can reward student achievement and help keep your students engaged and motivated.