I find that building relationships with your students, positive reinforcement, structure, and goal setting are essential to a smooth running classroom. We have whole class, small group, and individual student goals. When goals are met, we celebrate!
For whole class, I use brownie points, which is a brownie tray with brownie images. I put 1 brownie on the tray when the class meets a goal such as walking quietly in the hall. I change it up throughout the year, but this is how I typically start the year. Warm fuzzies are another great option.
I typically have the students choose a reward as we are setting the goal. This gives the students something to work towards and look forward to.
Keep in mind teachers have various teaching styles, which includes how they manage their classroom. These are simple, cost effective ways to reward your class. I prefer to give my students experiences they will remember and maintain a healthy classroom. Below are 10 ideas for whole class rewards that are not food:
1. Dance Party- turn on Go Noodle and let your students choose brain breaks.
2. PJ Day- Enough said. Kids love wearing their pajamas to school. Add in a stuffed animal and they have a fun reading buddy.
3. Mystery Reader- I host a mystery reader every Friday in my classroom. Students love having their mom, dad or grandparents spend time in the classroom. When it is a whole class reward I pick a staff member.
4. Bubble Party- Weather permitting, but last year I bought a pack of 6 bubble wands at Wal Mart and let my students play on the grass area outside our classroom.
5. Lunch in the Classroom- I don't know about you, but my students always look forward to eating lunch in the classroom. When we have our early release day once a month, students have to eat in the classroom and they have so much fun with their friends. If your school has space, eating outside is another option.
6. Flashlight Read to Self- Students bring in a flashlight for read to self time. Fun way to change it up.
7. Free Choice- Students can draw or play. They know which stations they have access to. Our Lego wall in the hallway has been very popular.
8. Craft- First Grade Blue Skies has so many directed drawings that are very easy to implement or you let your kids create their own art.
9. Extra reading- Yes, this has been a reward in my class. Students love spending time reading to each other and sharing their thinking in our classroom library.
10. No shoes- Students put their shoes (socks must stay on) in their cubby and enjoy learning in their socks. They put shoes back on for lunch, specials, and recess.
As many of us are in the back to school season, I hope you find some of these ideas helpful. I would love to hear other other non-food rewards that your students love. Let me know in the comments!