Creative Rewards for Your Middle School Classroom

 10 Creative Rewards for Middle School

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Relationships are essential to a successful middle school classroom. As a new teacher (many years ago), I spent a lot of money on pizza parties for my class, cupcake parties, and cookie parties. And while the students loved it, it got expensive - QUICK! Add on food allergies and it was impossible to have rewards like this.

I want you to learn from my mistakes. Classroom rewards don't have to cost a lot. As a matter of fact, it can be free. That's right - free.

Group/Class Rewards

1. Chalk Time. Let your students select their favorite color of chalk and let them color on the sidewalk near your classroom. Can't go outside? This reward can be played inside the classroom by turning it into a game of Pictionary where one student is given an item to draw and the other students have to guess correctly.

2. Karaoke.  You can find karaoke videos on YouTube, and your students will love this! Give them an actual microphone for a fun surprise. If you don't have a microphone, give them a "magic" marker to sing into. This works best if the class next door isn't taking a test. :) 

3. Game Time. After teaching for 20 years, I always seemed to add new board games to my classroom as I found them on sale. Your students will love learning to play a new board game or card game. Plus, this is a fun alternative to more screen time.

4. Music Time. Allow students time to listen to music of their choice. In my classroom, our grade level purchased a set of headsets for each classroom. While most students would bring their own headsets daily, this extra set allowed us to continue the fun when a student (or two) would forget theirs at home.

5. Videos. Allow students to select from your curated list of videos/sitcoms. Depending on the class, I've shown from I Love Lucy! to Blue's Clues to The Fairly Oddparents. With a quick poll of your students, you should have a couple of class favorites to watch.

Individual Rewards

6. Sit in a Fun Chair. A student favorite was the comfy class chair in the front corner of my classroom. While it was originally for students to read books, I quickly saw that students would work extra hard on a project to be able to sit in the chair for a certain amount of time. If you don't have a fun chair, you can also let them sit in your teacher chair. :) Helpful Hint: Look for these chairs at yard sales.

7. Stickers. A popular class favorite - stickers. I used stickers in my classroom to reward students who were on task. It didn't take long until every student was on task so they could earn a sticker. Their grins as I placed it on their desk was magical. This worked on my most chaotic classrooms, too. You need to try it if you haven't.

8. Choose a Partner. Give students who are on task the option to sit beside a friend for a set amount of time. They will enjoy having the choice, and they will work hard with their partner to ensure you give them the option again.

9. Wheel of Prizes. Now this prize wheel can be used a number of ways. You can determine a prize based on what color they land on OR you can tape a small piece of candy (Jolly Rancher or sucker) on the wheel. Students will love the mystery of this reward.

10. Homework Pass/Extra Points on an Assignment. Middle schoolers love having choice, and this reward is awesome for them to decide when to use it. 

Still unsure of what reward would be best for your middle school classroom? Ask them. They love to have input into their day especially if you are talking about rewarding them.

I would love to know how these rewards work for you. 

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