As the school year works its way toward winter break, the weeks leading up to the holidays are prime time for lessons in character development. Being intentional with social and emotional learning can benefit students in ways that go far beyond the classroom. The holidays, in particular, are a great time to focus on specific themes such as gratitude and generosity.
No matter what grade level you teach, the month of November can be the best time to demonstrate gratitude to your students. Here are ten free ideas to reward students as you actively teach them about gratitude.
10 Free Student Reward Ideas
1. Classroom Shout-Out
As you teach your students about gratitude, you will find there are plenty of times you can express your own gratitude for their actions. Simply acknowledging a student during class will shine a spotlight on their positive actions.
2. Thank You Notes
Express your gratitude with a more private and personal form of recognition, such as a thank you note. A handwritten note can be kept and re-read many times and is a great way to acknowledge a student who may not particularly enjoy the spotlight.
3. Positive Phone Call Home
Typically, families receive limited personal contact from their child’s school unless it’s for a negative reason. Turn that around with a positive phone call home. Sharing wonderful news about their student can brighten everyone’s day.
4. Class Awards
Every classroom has its star student, the class clown, and the mischief maker. But in your classroom, who has the best manners? Who is the kindest? Which student is the most helpful? Spend some time identifying positive traits for each student in your class and recognize them with a special certificate during an in-class awards ceremony.
5. Art Show
Encourage student creativity around the topic of gratitude by hosting a student art show. It’s a great way to get students talking about the things they are thankful for as well as giving them a creative outlet. Shine the light of recognition by displaying their artwork in a public area of the school.
6. Class DJ
There will likely be some time in your classroom schedule for a little downtime prior to the holidays. Task your students with finding music that demonstrates gratitude in all its forms and let them compile a playlist. Turn that (vetted) playlist over to your class DJ during free time.
7. Classroom Assistant
Actions inspire gratitude, and what better way to encourage positive action than selecting classroom assistants? Recognize positive behaviors by selecting students to assist you in many of your classroom duties, such as delivering items to the office, passing out papers, and helping with classroom equipment. It’s a great way to thank them for their actions, and they’ll appreciate the opportunity to feel important and helpful.
8. Share Your Expertise
By this point in the school year, you have a pretty good idea about the extracurricular subjects that excite your students. Recognize their expertise by allowing them to share what they know with the class.
9. Preferential Seating
Some students want to sit front and center in the classroom, while others prefer to be in the back corner where they can observe the entire class. Most will choose to sit near a friend if at all possible. Your seating chart serves an important purpose in terms of classroom management, but preferential seating can be a powerful reward.
10. Bulletin Board
Few things are more enticing for teachers and students alike than decorating a classroom bulletin board. Make it a class project! A board dedicated to the concept of gratitude can take two formats: sourcing your students to discover what they are thankful for or expressing your own specific gratitude for each student in your class.
Using PBIS Rewards to Recognize Students
Social and emotional development can go hand-in-hand with a PBIS initiative. The values expressed in your school’s behavior matrix can form the foundation for character development. As you incorporate social and emotional learning into your classroom routines, you can recognize students for meeting expectations.
PBIS Rewards can help you to quickly and efficiently recognize students for positive behaviors, both in and outside of the classroom. You can even adapt your classroom behavior matrix during November to place increased focus on gratitude in action. Reinforce positive behaviors by recognizing and awarding points to individual students or groups via the app or the web portal. Because it’s digital, this recognition takes a fraction of your time as compared to manual PBIS initiatives. Recognize, award, and get back to teaching quickly instead of using precious minutes to hand out paper tokens.
Improve classroom and schoolwide efficiency by digitally managing your PBIS initiative with PBIS Rewards. Contact us to learn more!