Classroom Reward System: Tips for Long-Term Success


A classroom reward system is a great way to support your behavior management and encourage students to make positive choices over the course of the school year.  However, this is not something that you can simply set and forget.  In this post, I’m sharing tips that will help you ensure that your classroom reward system will be a sustainable tool that lasts all year.

Classroom Reward Systems: Tips for Long-Term Success

Benefits of a Classroom Reward System

A classroom reward system is a behavior management system that encourages positive behavior choices. This is something that can benefit your classroom management in many ways:

  • Create Routine: A classroom reward system can add structure and predictability to your schedule.  Students will look forward to this part of your daily routine! Plus, a strong classroom management system will help to ensure that your classroom runs more smoothly if you need to have a substitute teacher.
  • Foster Positive Classroom Climate:  When you incorporate a classroom reward system into your routine, you’ll find that the atmosphere of your classroom shifts. You’ll find yourself on the lookout for positive behavior to reinforce.  This will have a positive impact on your classroom environment!
Crayon box build a reward system

Classroom Reward System: Tips for Long-Term Success

How can you ensure that this helpful tool will last all year?  Here are five tips that will help you have long-term success with your classroom reward system.

1. Be Consistent

One of the most important things you can do to ensure your reward system will last all year is to use it consistently!  It can have a very negative impact on student motivation when they realize, despite their best efforts, the classroom reward system is rarely used.  Even worse is when the class works toward the reward only to have it switched out for something else or not given at all. 

build-a-reward behavior system ice cream version in a pocket chart bulletin board

If you decide to use a classroom reward system, be sure to choose something that you can use consistently!  This is why I love the Build-a-Reward system.  It’s simple to use plus it remains on display as a reminder to acknowledge positive behavior choices throughout the day.

2. Monitor Student Buy-In

In addition to inconsistency, there are other things that can negatively impact student buy-in for your classroom reward system. In fact, it might even seem like they are deliberately sabotaging the class’ success. However, it’s more likely that students are overwhelmed by the expectations of the classroom goal or feel like they get more attention for their negative behavior.

Be sure to watch for students who don’t seem to be motivated by your classroom reward system.  Are those students being recognized for their efforts to make positive choices? Do they need a different level of support for their behavior?

3. Supplement with Individual Reward Systems

When a few students don’t respond to the classroom reward system, it can be tempting to stop using it.  Just remember that the majority of your students are experiencing the positive impacts of the whole-class reward system, even if it doesn’t seem to be effective for all of the students. 

A yeti token board

While flexibility is important in classroom management, it’s not realistic to expect a whole-class reward system to meet ALL of the needs of ALL of your students ALL of the time. Instead, consider supplementing with individual reward systems for students who need that level of support. A token board or sticker chart are both low-prep options for rewards that you can use to support individual students while maintaining the whole class reward system.

4. Address Different Behaviors

Another hurdle that teachers encounter when using a whole group reward system is that the students of September are much different than the students of April or May.  Their behavior needs are very different, so it might feel like the reward system itself needs to change.  Instead of doing this, use a flexible reward system that can address different behaviors.  You’ll be able to customize your system to focus on whatever behavior is most pressing at that time.

Behavior and reward options

The Build-a-Reward system comes with many different behavior cards that you can use to adjust the goal for your reward system throughout the year.  From walking quietly in the hall to sitting at the carpet, you’ll be able to quickly identify a target behavior that your students can work towards. There are also many different reward options since student interests grow and change over the course of the year, as well.

5. Use Different Themes

The final challenge in using the same behavior system all year long is that it can become dull and predictable.  It’s very helpful to use a whole class reward system that has the ability to use different themes as the months progress. 

Cornucopia build a reward

This is why I love the Build-a-Reward system.  Every reward is a new puzzle for the students and they are always so excited to earn each of the pieces.  The system can easily be switched out for different holidays or even just different themes based on what you’re learning in class that week. It’s amazing what a different theme can do to keep everyone excited about the class reward system!

Printable Classroom Reward System Bundle

Do you like the idea of having a classroom reward system that will last all year long? I’ve created a helpful reward bundle to make it easier for you to do just that! This Build-a-Reward bundle has more than 25 different sets of rewards with a variety of behavior and reward cards. You’ll be able to mix and match to create a classroom management system that will grow and change along with your students, all while maintaining a consistent routine. 

Build-a-Reward Whole Class System - Complete Year-Long Bundle

If you’d like to take a closer look at everything included in this resource, you can find it in the Teaching Exceptional Kinders shop or on TPT.

Save These Tips for Successful Reward Systems

Be sure to save this post if you’d like to come back to it later!  Just add the pin below to your favorite board on Pinterest.  You’ll be able to quickly find these tips and resources for classroom reward systems whenever you need them!

Sustainable Classroom Reward Systems


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