The problem? What would be considered a reward to an elementary school student sounds more like the depths of hell to a high school student. So, I decided to compile my own list of free or inexpensive rewards for students of the older variety.
I am an anti-extra credit sort of teacher (yes, I know, one of THOSE teachers), but I still feel like there are times that students deserve some sort of reward. My reward system is really just a way to trick students into good behavior and ease the stress of classroom management. How? Make being bad (innocently bad) a reward for doing something great rather than an invitation for doing nothing at all. Let the kids that do what they are supposed to feel like rebels, let them live on the edge, and use them to keep the lazy kids in line!
Class games? A great score on a test? In class on time? Helping another student? Being kind? Working well in a group? All of these may be situations when I reward students with one of the following coupons...
Nothing will drive your students insane like seeing someone allowed to stand at the door while they are forced to remain seated.
For your more academically motivated students, being able to ask a yes or no question of the teacher during a test is the ultimate sense of security. It's not extra credit because they not only have to decide on the question to ask but also on what to do once they know the answer. Much better for the brain than extra credit!
Since no high school student can make it through the day on one battery charge, this one is especially popular. At least they won't be using it while it's plugged in, right?
At our school, student loathe study hall. Forced to sit in silence for 30 minutes is the ultimate punishment. Let them spend that time being part of your classroom instead.
Being able to loom over the rest of the students in the ultimate gesture of non-conformity is one of the best rewards a student can get. Have them move to the back of the row so that they don't block the view of other students.
Watch your other students look disdainfully at the mobility and plush comfort of that kid in the rolly chair.