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Use Whole Class Rewards and Student Rewards to Help With Classroom Management

written by: Margo Dill • edited by: Trent Lorcher • updated: 2/14/2012

With your classroom management system, you can use whole class rewards to create positive reinforcement in your classroom, target a problem behavior, focus on transition times, or to work on general classroom behavior. Student rewards allow the class to work as a team for a common goal.

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    What is a Whole Class Reward?

    When it comes classroom management techniques, teachers have many different systems, plans, and philosophies. With whatever you use to manage your students, you can also incorporate a whole class reward system and give student rewards. Rewards may be a pizza party, extra recess or free time, one homework pass for each student, extra computer time, a field trip, or a special guest. In order to receive the whole class reward, the classroom behavior has to meet certain expectations over a set amount of time. For example, your students may need to focus on remembering to turn in their homework. So, you start a student rewards' program where you keep track of each day that every student turns in their homework. If students turn in their homework for 30 days in a 40-day period, then they will earn a whole class reward of one homework pass per student.

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    Why Use Whole Class Rewards?

    class party by woodleywonderworks You may think that you should not have to use student rewards because you already have good classroom management techniques, and most of your students follow the rules. You already use positive reinforcement every day, and your students shouldn't have to be rewarded for good behavior. But whole class rewards are not just about rewarding students or changing behaviors.

    When students are working together for a common goal, they are actually working as a team. They are encouraging and reminding each other of the rules they need to follow. With the above example of turning in daily homework, students will start reminding one another to turn in their homework, instead of you reminding them. Most of the time, each student will want to do their share and NOT disappoint the members of their class, so they will become more responsible for themselves and work for the good of the team. Student rewards help children to focus on someone else besides themselves.

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    Setting Realistic Goals

    You may wonder about your one or two students who will not cooperate with the rest of the students to earn a whole class reward or student rewards. This is where your professional judgment and knowledge of your classroom management techniques comes in. If the student in question has a behavior plan or an IEP, then ask the special education teacher to help you include the student in the whole class reward without that student stopping his class from earning the reward. As the teacher, you can also overlook certain behaviors from one or two students--again using your professional judgment. For example, if you have a student who has Asperger Syndrome, he may not be able to help blurting out answers. If your whole class reward is focusing on raising your hand before you speak, then you may have to ignore his speaking out or change the whole class goal to fit his disability. Be careful not to exclude this student from the reward or make him stick out. Students should work hard to achieve the reward, but it shouldn't be impossible.