8 Awesome Rewards for Elementary Students in 2022

In life, when we do well and exhibit hard work and persistence, we receive rewards, incentives, an increase in remuneration, or we get a promotion! There is always something for a job well done!

The same is true in the classroom!

Ever wonder how to delight students in the classroom?

Or how to keep them highly motivated and conform to appropriate behavior?

Or have you ever noticed how a gold star or stamping stars onto their palms or wrists suddenly change their momentum?

apple on top of a pile of books, colored pencils, and blocks

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Day in and day out, as teachers, we are into stimulating our students to learn effectively and to display desirable classroom behaviors. Hence, we need to dig into awesome rewards for elementary students.


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Researchers highly suggest the use of a reward system as a means of celebrating a student’s academic and personal achievements and good behavior.

The benefits of using reward systems are emphasized. Among these best results are the active participation of the students in the classroom and their conformity to good behavior.

Hence, we need to take hold of awesome rewards for elementary students. It is seen as one of the best strategies in helping students get motivated to learn at their best.

In this post, I’ll begin with the importance of having reward systems in the classroom and their amazing advantages.

However, as teachers, we have to be aware that rewards should be given accordingly so we will not go beyond what these rewards are really intended for.

Most importantly, giving out rewards, whether as intrinsic or extrinsic motivations, has a good impact on the student’s conformity to the set behavioral patterns in the classroom.

For me, the behavior modification system in the classroom is highly indispensable. Because I just can’t teach with unruly and uninterested students.

The reward system has been part of our schemes in teaching. My previous post revealed motivational techniques that sustain students’ best learning interests. Hence, we are already aware of the presence of intrinsically and extrinsically motivated students in our classroom.

Are you looking for an amazing reward system to bring your students together for achieving their learning goals? You have just come to the right page of knowing what are some of the incredible rewards that our students want. Here and now, I’ll discuss rewards for elementary students.

But, how does the reward system work?

The possibilities of what the reward system can do in our classrooms are endless: from increasing students’ participation to inspiring them to become better humans. Here are 5 steps:

1) Practical Means of Motivation

Elementary students are delighted to receive rewards like stickers, stars, candies, school supplies, and even the simplest cut-out shapes. These extrinsically motivated kids love to be recognized and they mostly benefit from the reward system in the classroom.

Furthermore, intrinsically motivated students who have the innate interest to learn and perform are extremely happy with our generous praises as rewards.

2) To Settle Differences in the Classroom

Every student in the classroom is unique. Hence, they have an equal share of differences. What do I do to keep them move as one?

acknowledge individual differences

Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash

I capture their best interest by extending rewards and by being consistent in doing so.

I exhibit fairness all the time to encourage my students to exert effort in their work and get discouraged along the way.

Every inch of their effort is appreciated and recognized through praises and by rewarding simple things that I can afford.

And, they’re glad about it and it beams through their countenances!

I make sure that my students get equal treatment and proper accommodation in the classroom. That is why I am doing my best to be consistent in my ways of extending rewards and praises.

3) To Promote Proper Attitude

How do I use the reward system to promote a proper attitude or good behavior in the classroom?

As a classroom teacher, I really intend to discipline my students. Apparently, self-discipline is a prerequisite to learning.

In other words, I find it necessary for the development of my students to help them keep track of their behavior so they get along easily.

Notably, I use the reward system to uphold the classroom rules and norms set in the classroom. Implementing a fair and consistent reward system will help promote the good behavior of my students.

For the classroom to become a healthy place to stay, its occupants have to display appropriate behavior. Hence, I make sure my students are following class rules and I extend rewards of good behavior.

I acknowledge their good behavior by giving them certificates at the end of every quarter as a form of recognition and encouragement.

4) To Help Students Build Confidence

Not all students in the classroom have the guts to participate. Some need an extra push to keep them moving and shine!

Giving out rewards as a form of recognition will inspire students to come out of their shells. Those who just whisper their answers to themselves because they are very shy to share their ideas are made to stand and vocalize their thoughts.

5) To Motivate Students to Prepare Assignments

Admittedly, I take advantage of this mode. It’s really distressing on my part when I see my students haven’t completed or worse haven’t done their assignments. I asked myself what’s wrong? What have I done? What went wrong?

Well, I noticed when I started out stamping stars on their notebooks, giving out colorful pens, and showing to the class best-completed homework, most of my students were getting conscious of the completion of their homework!

As I use homework as a reinforcement, my students are excited to finish the tasks and they are too excited to apply the skills and concepts they have learned in the classroom.

By extending rewards for completed homework, students tend to finish what’s on their plates! As a form of extrinsic motivation, the reward system really works best!

Now, let’s dig into awesome rewards for K-6 students. Who knows this can be a good start for a livelier and more interactive classroom!

Let’s take a closer look!

8 Awesome Rewards for Elementary Students

1. Awarding Certificates of Recognition

In my classroom, I usually practice having a Recognition Ceremony. I do it during Card Day where the parents are present. I do it after the parent conference.

Even though the recognition and awarding ceremony are just done in the classroom, I could feel the great satisfaction and happiness of the parents. They are very proud of their sons’ or daughters’ achievements.

I give certificates to the top achievers and to the character awardees. I custom make the certificates of my students. I can sense their best appreciation when they read their names on the certificates.

Certainly, I see the meaningful smiles of the parents as they accompany their children in receiving the certificates.

My students really treasure their certificates by keeping them on file in their portfolios. Others even put the certificates on frames and display them in their rooms or living rooms!

With this, I can’t stop myself from researching for the best designs of certificates online!  I use Canva Certificate Maker to save time in seeking the most attractive certificate templates available.

Yes, it is just a piece of stationery paper but it makes a difference for my students!

Take a look at my favorite award certificates here.

2. Using Colorful Stickers

Elementary students love what’s colorful and cute! Seeing the happy faces of my students when they receive their stickers makes me inspired to look for cute and colorful stickers on the pile!

Giving out stickers to my students is one of my non-food incentive ideas. I know that parents are very conscious of the health of their kids. And, I am sure candies are not among their food choices so I would not go into that.

When my students do well in their tasks and complete homework, a simple act of recognition will keep them doing so! Inexpensive forms of motivation always pay the best interest as they say.

A simple sticker of the student’s favorite cartoon character is a little reward that promotes a positive atmosphere in the classroom, thus encouraging the child to exhibit proper behavior and to perform constantly.

3. The Ticketing World!

To keep my students on their toes, I give out tickets for good behavior and excellent performance. The more tickets my students receive, the happier they’ll get.

The ticketing also works best in groups. As my students show collaboration in doing their tasks, they are rewarded for that.

They are rewarded for being quiet while doing their outputs, they are recognized for their active participation in the group tasks, and the like.

My ticketing world is on my table. My students are so excited when they see me arranging my colorful tickets. Some can’t wait but ask how to receive the colorful tickets!

4. Earning the Sparkling STAR

Wonderfully, the star system works in my classroom.  It’s one of the best recognition and award systems that use with my young learners.

I use the star system both in individual or group recognition for academic improvement and achievements, and for proper behavior.

It is very easy to implement and just needs your magical touch of creativity.

At the end of each week, the students joyfully are counting the stars in their boxes which are properly arranged on the shelves.  The student with the most stars will be given simple rewards like pencils, cutie sharpeners, ball pens, bookmarks, cute notebooks, and the like.

My students are made to understand that they earn stars for simple yet meaningful reasons. I can generalize it through the completion of desired tasks and for a display of behavioral goals.

In like manner, my students are to receive stars when:

Tick, Mark, Ok, Perfect, Check, Done, Sign, Good, GreenThey help a classmate.

Tick, Mark, Ok, Perfect, Check, Done, Sign, Good, GreenThey are polite in asking and answering.

Tick, Mark, Ok, Perfect, Check, Done, Sign, Good, GreenThey are responsible leaders.

Tick, Mark, Ok, Perfect, Check, Done, Sign, Good, GreenThey follow the instructions carefully.

Tick, Mark, Ok, Perfect, Check, Done, Sign, Good, GreenThey obey rules.

Tick, Mark, Ok, Perfect, Check, Done, Sign, Good, GreenThey keep their places clean and tidy.

Tick, Mark, Ok, Perfect, Check, Done, Sign, Good, GreenThey are mindful of their assigned tasks.

Tick, Mark, Ok, Perfect, Check, Done, Sign, Good, GreenThey get a passing score.

Tick, Mark, Ok, Perfect, Check, Done, Sign, Good, GreenThey perform well in different tasks.

Tick, Mark, Ok, Perfect, Check, Done, Sign, Good, GreenThey show academic improvements.

5. Random Picks!

When a student shows progress in his/ her performance, he/she is given the opportunity for the Random Picks!

I prepare a chart with numbered reasonable rewards and rolled papers with numbers.  When a student answers the question correctly during class recitations, he/she picks a number from the jar and enjoys great picks!

Here are my random picks that my students are excited to enjoy!

Enjoy Plus Points and Exemptions. This allows the students to enjoy additional points in quizzes and summative tests. For specific tasks completed, I usually give additional points like 2 points or 5 points.

Equally when my students have reached a milestone in class and have modest achievements, sometimes they enjoy the quiz exemptions. I’m giving them time to relax for a while.

Sit with a Chosen Classmate. I know that my students have a circle of friends in the classroom. And, they really claim to sit with their close classmates. Hence, I make it their privilege to do so.

Teach the class fun games. My young learners exhibit their best interests to lead the class not only in doing work-related content but also in giving energizers.

They love being called to lead the class in singing and dancing. With their great energy, they open fun possibilities in the classroom that will keep them enthusiastic!

Be the Best Company of the Teacher. As I noticed. most of my students love to be assigned simple tasks. They can become my wonderful assistants.

With this, I include this in my random picks of reasonable rewards. When a student happens to choose the corresponding number with this reward, he/she will be my little assistant for the day.

I will give the chosen student to perform some interesting tasks. Like, before the class starts, the assigned student is to check the attendance and monitor absences and latecomers.

Be a Little Teacher. When my young learners are assigned tasks they are excited about it. I can feel their eagerness when they approach me and tell me what else would I want them to do.

assigning great tasks to our learners

Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash

So, since they like it, I included it in my random picks. The one who receives this reward will aid me in maintaining order and discipline in the classroom.

This reward will also boost the confidence of my students because they are given the chance to reprove and prompt matters that concern behavioral management.

What a student will do when given this reward? He/she will act as the officer of the day and lead the rest of the class for the school activities on that specific day.  But, the student is to be chosen the previous day so he/she will be ready.

If I have to attend emergency meetings, the leader of the day will sit in front and supervise the rest of the class.

Significantly,  when I come back,  my little teacher of the day will give me the list of noisy people and will report to me what happened while I’m out.

Be the Class Monitor.  Have you tried this reward? No, it’s not punishing your students with tasks. This a marvelous part of setting high expectations for our students too!

In my view, I am assigning them recognizable tasks as a manifestation that I trust their capabilities.

When a student chooses this random reward, it seems likely that he/she is being assigned as a leader in the classroom that the rest of my students should recognize.

Earning this reward is indeed an opportunity for them to perform the duties to assist the class and the subject teachers. The rest of the class has to obey whoever is rewarded to be the class monitor.

As revealed by my class monitor’s performance, I could say that it’s effective. He/she is also assigned to maintain discipline when a subject teacher is not around.

6. Giving Notes With Encouraging Messages

Positive messages inspire students. I believe I can use encouraging messages to keep my students going. Inserting these keynotes in their notebooks or personally giving it to them will make them feel important and recognized.

giving encouraging messages as a form of reward

A simple ‘Keep up the good work’ Great Job’  ‘You are marvelous!’ I’m looking forward to a similar excellent work! will make their day.

I take the power of encouraging messages to lift students up! It’s my creative way of telling them that they matter and that they should not give up.

It feels good when my students are aware that their efforts are recognized and that I believe in their potentials.

I usually write my words of encouragement in post-it notes to perfectly remind them that their hard work is always recognized. My original handwriting makes it more meaningful!

Similarly, giving out encouraging messages to my students with different learning needs works well too. They need it most during their struggling moments.

Also, I tap my words of encouragement bank when a student refuses to work.

7. Making Use of Practical Tangible Rewards

Pinning ribbons of excellence or good behavior will work best too! My students really love wearing sashes of good deeds and academic excellence. Above all, this will make them feel really exceptional.

In my classroom, I usually do the pinning every Friday. And, my students are aware of that. For one thing, I have this act included in my orientation during the opening of classes.

They feel proud of it. Moreover, this will also encourage others to work hard toward their goals. If we are more passionate about our mission as teachers, then this simple act of recognizing students’ efforts is within reach.

So, why not give our students what they deserve. It will boost their confidence and motivate them to do their best!

8. Verbal Praises

If my students accomplish something even the simplest acts, automatically, I give them verbal praise. It is my way of establishing a culture of encouragement in my classroom.

rewarding student's creativity

Photo by Dragos Gontariu on Unsplash

Giving out effective praises to our students will inspire them to improve their work and to excel even in their modest ways.

When I give praise, I try to be specific about what I am praising them for. For example, for their great work in art, I would say, “I like your perfect combination of colors”. In reading, I usually say, ” I love the way you pronounce words!”  “You are exactly right!” I know you can do it”. In some areas, they love it when I say “You have a wonderful output”.

For a more comprehensive list of verbal praises, click this link and have your excellent pick!

Watch the video below and get some more ideas of a reward system that you can best apply to your students.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXl6V-V-314[/embedyt]

Everything Considered…

Motivating our students is tough. We need to be flexible with our motivational techniques and we extend to use the reward system. However, the reward system has to be done with accuracy and moderation to avoid its disadvantages.

It doesn’t cost us anything when we tell our students “Thank you for a job well done!”. It is just a matter of sincerity and consistency. It could have a profound impact on our students.

Recognizing students’ efforts is a perfect reminder that they have the power to achieve their goals. Clearly, we teachers are provided with comprehensive ideas of the best rewards for our students to help them boost their self-esteem in order to succeed.

Remember, our students prosper and go where they are appreciated, especially our young learners.  Rewards will make them even more excited to learn!

Why not share your best practices in giving rewards to students? Share them in the comments.