Student engagement can be challenging—but it doesn’t have to be! Here are some incentives, tips and tricks to help maintain engagement throughout the year.

To keep your students’ attention focused and on task, try offering them rewards with more frequency then you typically do throughout the school year. Maybe try awarding incentives every other week instead of monthly. This will help maintain attention.

If your students are earning positive behavior points, try offering them double points on specific problem behaviors that your school is experiencing. If you have specific days that are more difficult to promote engagement, like Fridays, try double points given on that day of the week.

It’s easy to forget that even the smallest win is still a win when it comes to positive behavior reinforcement. Now, more than ever its important to reward small positive behaviors with as much enthusiasm as the larger ones. Make special announcements and shout outs to students caught doing the right thing.

Restlessness can sometimes be an understatement, especially leading up to breaks such as Thanksgiving, the holidays, Spring Break, and summer. Use this energy and movement to your advantage and incorporate this into your incentives and lesson plans. For example, offer an incentive that allows students to go outside or be active, instead of being stuck in class.

Creating a tiered incentive program allows even lower point earners to get involved and see how it feels to be part of the Hero program. Students will often disengage if their chance of receiving an incentive is low. Let them have a taste of what receiving an incentive feels like and how easy it really is to earn points. The lowest tier can be something small, but it will have a powerful impact on your school-wide student engagement.

Student Incentive Ideas

  • Principal lip sync to song of students choice
  • Principal cooks lunch for high point earners
  • Photo booth—for students and friends
  • Pick music for lunch (lunch DJ privileges)
  • Free year book
  • Free prom ticket
  • School store—snacks, school supplies, etc.
  • Take class outside for lesson (if whole class shows up on time)
  • Laser tag or dodge ball in the gym
  • Dress-down / hat day
  • Snack pack classroom delivery
  • Food truck party
  • Video game access during lunch
  • Pep Rally
  • Student gets to assign seats in class for the day
  • Bring class pet home for the night
  • No homework pass
  • Phone zone (special space where cell phones are permitted)
  • Teacher vs. student game
  • Lunchtime pass to front of line
  • Locker choice
  • Off-Campus privileges
  • Gift cards
  • Tickets to local attractions
  • Snacks or drinks—cookies, can of soda, candy bar, etc.
  • Raffles for bigger prizes
  • Dunk Tank with Administrator
  • Mystery Event
  • Sit in Principal’s / Teacher’s chair for a day
  • Local team memorabilia
  • Listen to music while working
  • Principal cooks for high point earners
  • Color a teacher’s hair
  • Hover boards
  • Flash drives
  • Special HERO dog tag or badge with privileges attached to each color
  • Principal kisses pig / llama / cow
  • Principal wears a funny costume
  • Lip sync contest
  • Parter with local businesses for incentives
  • Themed dress day
  • Party—movie, pizza, karaoke
  • School spirit gear
  • Recognition on announcements
  • Field trips
  • Tickets to sporting events or dances
  • Student of the month
  • VIP Lounge / Game Room access
  • Open gym time
  • “Anything that pulls the student out of class, especially for food!”
  • Recess extension

We hope these ideas will help keep your students motivated an incentives throughout the year. Have any incentives that are successful at your school? We’d love to hear! Contact us, or let us know in the comments below.