5 Awesome Incentives for Classroom Behavior

As all teachers know, student misbehavior is disruptive to classroom settings and learning environments. A few ways to help students understand the importance of keeping control of themselves and their actions is to reward them when they work hard to achieve behavior goals. Below are a few ideas for helping students learn good behavior:

Warm Fuzzy Jar

via A Love for Teaching
via A Love for Teaching

The Warm Fuzzy Jar is designed to encourage class participation in doing good for fellow pupils. The idea is that when students do an act of kindness, they receive a pom pom (or “warm fuzzy”) and it’s placed in the jar. When the jar is full, the students get a class party–the catch is that every student has to participate in filling the jar.

This is a creative (not to mention cute) idea, and can be expanded to so many different incentivizing techniques. For example, the students collectively could get a pom pom for every day (hour, recess period, etc.) they behave as a whole. Rewards, of course, can differ as well: a couple days without homework, game days, etc. depending on your budget and class size. Click the photo for the source.

Puzzle Poster

via Clutter-Free Classroom
via Clutter-Free Classroom

The Puzzle Poster is an image that is laminated and cut into shapes. You can either glue magnets to the back, or paste your puzzle on magnet board before cutting.

The idea is simple: each time students have good or exceptional behavior, they can add the next piece to the puzzle. When the puzzle is finished, they are rewarded with an extra recess. This can, of course, be done with any number of images to signify any number of rewards–or you could even turn a class picture into a puzzle so they are putting their own faces into place! Click the photo for the source.

Coupon Cards

Coupon Cards are a great way to reward individual students. They are easy to design (just a simple word document) and can be handed out one by one. Great ideas, especially for older students (high school or middle school), could be:

  • Listening to your iPod while working
  • Homework pass
  • Skip-A-Quiz pass

Chocolate Savings Account


A great idea for teaching students self control along with good behavior is the Chocolate Savings Account. When students use good behavior, they get a chocolate coin (or any candy) added to their “savings account.” This isn’t an immediate reward, but can be collected by the student at the end of the school year (once a month, etc.). This teaches that students are still rewarded for doing good things, but that their reward might not be immediate.

The teacher would create a chart in the classroom, and mark when students earn chocolate. At collection times, students bring up their final number and get “paid” in chocolate coins! This could be used for any age range–and the possibilities are endless!

Star Charts

A classic is Star Charts, where students who behave well receive gold stars. Getting gold stars is such a popular behavioral incentive that getting the star is the reward itself! Of course, teachers can add extra prizes for students that receive a certain amount of stars on their charts as well.


HGU team edit 6/12/15: Above all, remember that what matters most is cultivating your relationships with individual students!  If you’re looking to challenge your thinking on incentive systems altogether, we highly recommend reading Pernille Ripp’s article, “Before You Hand Out Those Rewards, 5 Questions to Ask Yourself.” Also, check out our post on intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation to learn more about the research behind motivating students.

Featured Image: Nuwandalice


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