This post originally appeared on the blog Stories by Storie

I think most teachers would prefer a world where all students were intrinsically motivated, but it just isn’t an everyday reality.  Many of us dig deep into our pockets and find extrinsic rewards to help change certain student behaviors.

Guilty!

Once I started adding up those little rewards, I knew there had to be a better way, so I started brainstorming ways to reward my students without the need to dig deep into my pockets!

"I think most teachers would prefer a world where all students were intrinsically motivated, but it just isn't an everyday reality," says Storie Belden.

Before determining which coupons to use in my classroom, I took into consideration the following:
My Management & Teaching Style
School Rules & Policies
Student Interests

Then I was able to come up with the following rewards that students could purchase with their classroom money.  
 
"I think most teachers would prefer a world where all students were intrinsically motivated, but it just isn't an everyday reality," says Storie Belden.
These reward coupons are the perfect motivator for students who get bored with the daily grind and just need a break. In my class, this means skipping out on morning work, a free homework pass (for an individual or the entire class), writing with a special pen for the day, or taking a break from academics to have 20 minutes of free choice time.
 
"I think most teachers would prefer a world where all students were intrinsically motivated, but it just isn't an everyday reality," says Storie Belden.

I don’t provide a lot of edible rewards, especially when I have provided a designated snack time in the classroom. However, one of the most popular rewards has been to eat lunch in the classroom with a friend and the teacher.  I’m not sure if the kids are nosy about what I eat or just want to escape the chaos noise of the cafeteria.

Another fun reward is chewing gum in class. Gum chewing is often a big no-no with the custodians, which kind of makes this one all the more enticing to students. I figure one or two students chewing gum and being closely monitored is okay, especially when I can make sure it has been properly disposed of.

"I think most teachers would prefer a world where all students were intrinsically motivated, but it just isn't an everyday reality," says Storie Belden.

Flexible seating seems to be a trending term, but to me it’s been a seating option for years during certain times of the day.  Traditional desks have their place, but I know if I need to move and get a fresh perspective throughout my day then my students do, too. Some of the reward options I provide are using my teacher’s chair for the day, sitting on the floor with a pillow for the day, moving a desk next to a friend’s for the day, or choosing another special spot around the room for the day. If you teach primary, you probably spend a good portion of your day with your students on the carpet. For some students, being able to choose their spot on the carpet first is a big deal, so I also offer that as a reward.

"I think most teachers would prefer a world where all students were intrinsically motivated, but it just isn't an everyday reality," says Storie Belden.

You know those students who constantly need your attention or are seeking the attention of their peers? Why not let them have the stage for a bit. In my class, students can be rewarded with reading a book or poem to the class (or principal). They can also lead the class in a game, brain break, or activity.

"I think most teachers would prefer a world where all students were intrinsically motivated, but it just isn't an everyday reality," says Storie Belden.
You’ve had a bad day before, right?  Well, chances are your students are likely to have a bad day, too! 
 
Is there someone in class you just can’t work with today?
I have a pick your own partner pass for the days when you have been assigned a partner and just can’t make it work.  
 
Is your desk a black hole where papers disappear?
I also have a pass for those constantly disorganized students.  In fact, I volunteer as tribute will clean and organize their desk for them during recess (for a price, of course).
 
Is your patience paper thin?
Why not cut the line and have your work checked first for the entire day!
 
Tired of doing the classroom job you despise or just need a break?
Grab a coupon so you can pick your classroom job first or simply change jobs with a classmate for the day!
 
 
You can grab these free reward coupons here. There is now an editable file so you can create your own coupons to match!
 "I think most teachers would prefer a world where all students were intrinsically motivated, but it just isn't an everyday reality," says Storie Belden.
 
I kept the coupons on display in a pocket chart. I would place post-it notes with prices on the front of the pockets on days my students were shopping for coupons. Since prices can change at the store all the time, my prices changed throughout the year, too!
"I think most teachers would prefer a world where all students were intrinsically motivated, but it just isn't an everyday reality," says Storie Belden.
 
Most of these coupons are intended to reward the individual students in your classroom. If you’re interested in ideas to motivate your entire class, you can read more about how I set goals with my entire classroom here:
"I think most teachers would prefer a world where all students were intrinsically motivated, but it just isn't an everyday reality," says Storie Belden.
"I think most teachers would prefer a world where all students were intrinsically motivated, but it just isn't an everyday reality," says Storie Belden.
 

Happy Teaching!

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"I think most teachers would prefer a world where all students were intrinsically motivated, but it just isn't an everyday reality," says Storie Belden.Storie Belden is an educator from Washington with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. She taught for 12 years before taking some time off to raise her two children. Storie enjoys creating resources for the classroom, spending time with her family, reading, and playing soccer. You can find teaching resources in her TpT store or connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog, Stories by Storie.