An Easy Way to Promote Teamwork in the Classroom


Being part of a team is not something that comes naturally to most young children.  Teamwork and cooperation are skills that need to be explicitly taught and practiced, especially in kindergarten!  However, this type of instruction is not always easy to fit into the school day. In this post, I’m sharing an easy way to promote teamwork in the classroom: Using whole-class rewards and incentives!   

How to promote teamwork in the classroom

What is a Whole Class Reward System?

A whole-class reward system can be any positive behavior management system that encourages your students to work toward a common goal.  There is generally one centralized system for tracking the progress toward this goal.

Dinosaur behavior incentive in a pocket chart

My favorite whole-class reward system is the Build-a-Reward chart.  After setting a behavior goal for the whole class, the students work toward the pre-determined reward by exhibiting that target behavior.  You don’t have to wait for the entire class to be perfect in that behavior all at the same time. That would be frustrating for you AND your class!  Instead, point out individual students when they are modeling the target behavior and then add a piece to the whole group reward chart. When the chart is complete, the class earns the reward. 

How a Reward System Can Promote Teamwork in the Classroom

A whole class reward system can be about so much more than just “catching kids being good”. When you are specific and consistent you can help build teamwork and a strong sense of community while motivating positive behavior choices, too! If this is something you’d like to see in your own classroom, keep reading!  I’ll walk you through the four ways that a whole class reward system can promote teamwork in the classroom.

1. Work Together Toward a Common Goal

If you think about what makes a group of people a “team”, it’s the fact that they are working together to accomplish a common goal.  A soccer team works together to win a game.  A marketing team works together to create a strong ad campaign.  An IEP team works together to create an appropriate and effective educational plan for an individual child.

When a classroom has only individual methods of tracking behavior goals, it’s easy for students to become competitive.  Even if the goal is essentially the same, their progress is being tracked separately.  This puts them on different teams in the same game.  Bringing a whole-class reward system to your classroom is an easy way to promote teamwork and reduce some of the competitiveness between students. This can go a long way in building community in your classroom!

Children in a classroom working together

2. Increase Communication Between Peers

As we all know from being on various teams, it’s not enough to just bring a group of people together and the goal is magically met.  The people on the team need to be able to communicate effectively. Whether it’s calling out to teammates on the soccer field or sharing input as an IEP team member, communication is essential when it comes to teamwork.

When you have a whole class reward system in the classroom, your students will naturally begin to communicate with each other regarding the behavior goal. With young kindergarten students, this can take some reminders and modeling.  However, it’s always fun to see them encourage their peers and remind them of the common goal.  These peer interactions can often be more effective than reminders from the teacher!

3. Recognize Positive Behavior

Have you ever been part of a team when one (or more) teammates aren’t pulling their weight or have a negative impact on the success of the team? This can happen in the classroom, as well!  When you spend a lot of your time and attention focused on behavior correction for individual students, the rest of the class can become frustrated and even annoyed with the frequent interruptions. This is also difficult for the individual students who are only ever receiving feedback for negative behaviors!

When you use a whole-class reward system, you are able to focus on the positive behaviors exhibited by all of the students in your class.  This includes those students who might need more frequent redirection!  It’s such a positive shift in the classroom dynamic when these students can earn a piece of the reward for the whole class. It sends a message that all students are valued and needed as the team works together to meet the goal. 

Unicorn build-a-reward chart

4. Celebrate Together

Finally, the best part of teamwork is meeting the goal and celebrating together.  It really builds community when students can enjoy a whole-class reward for a job well done.  They are able to recognize and celebrate their teamwork in working toward a common goal.

More Tips for Promoting Teamwork in Kindergarten

Check out this video for even more tips for promoting teamwork in kindergarten.  Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you’d like to be notified of my future videos!

Whole Class Reward Systems for the Entire Year

Would you like to incorporate more team-building into your kindergarten classroom? You should give my Build-a-Reward charts a try! 

I have created a large bundle of whole-class reward charts that you can use to promote teamwork in the classroom. This bundle is full of themed rewards that can bring a touch of seasonal fun to your classroom all year long.  You can adjust the rewards to include different numbers of pieces to earn, based on the needs of your class and your schedule.

The Build-a-Reward charts are designed to be low-prep and easy to use.  Just print, cut, and add to a pocket chart or bulletin board!  If you’d like to take a closer look at everything included in this bundle, you can find it in the Teaching Exceptional Kinders shop or on TPT.

Save These Tips for Teamwork in the Classroom

Be sure to save this post if you’d like to come back to it later!  Just add the pin below to your favorite teaching board on Pinterest.  You’ll be able to quickly find these tips and resources whenever you’re looking for a way to encourage teamwork in the classroom.

An easy way to promote teamwork in kindergarten


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