Classroom Reward Systems by VIPKid Teachers

For many teachers, a reward system is indispensable when teaching a new language to young students because it serves many purposes. Rewards can take different forms and be implemented in a few ways during class. For example, if rewards are stickers and emojis, they can represent the progress students are making in their lessons and the efforts they are putting into their classes. But rewards can also be games which serve to either enhance class material or provide a break during classes. Here are how some VIPKid teachers define their reward systems and their favorite kinds of rewards. 

A reward system motivates or interests students to do well. I use it as a reminder to make sure that I am encouraging and praising my students.. My favorite reward systems incorporate the content they are learning. For example, food in food related units or coloring a picture in the colors unit. -Amy CY

A visual way of reinforcing positive student progress, whether small or large. One of my current favorite reward systems is an emoji reward board I made where they get fun smiley faces as the advance positively through the lesson. -Kathryn Bratcher

A reward system breaks up the monotony for our students. It also gives them something to look forward to and work towards. My favorite reward is having my students earn food for MAC (a tennis ball which I have cut open about half way and added eyes to. He eats the food after they have chosen which food they want to give him. Another favorite reward is build a sentence reward on Google Slides. I have been using the superheroes one lately. I also like to find a star ones on Google Slides -Rosslyn Academy

A reward system is providing students a visual indicator of their progress throughout the lesson. It is an important factor in extrinsic motivation while also providing opportunities to extend student learning. I like fruit face as a reward system. -Samantha Moll

A reward system is something extra to give the students encouragement. For lower levels, I like 3d props of toys and characters they recognize. For older students, I like to have the reward tie into the lesson by using the vocabulary to play hangman, tic tac toe, or asking questions to engage them in discussion. -Lauren Gelbart

I define a reward as a genuine positive statement of encouragement. I feel that it does not have to be always a star or a secondary reward. However, a pat on the back, thumbs up. good job, or saying I am proud of you. I use the stars, stickers and secondary rewards in each class. However, I add the positive encouraging words, too. -Tracie PB

A reward system is anything that a student receives for doing well. It could be a sticker or a high five. For the younger students, a reward system can help motivate them and keep them engaged. The older students don’t care about it as much, and due to the high level of content in each lesson, I only use stars with the higher level classes. I feel like a secondary reward wastes time that could be spent on discussion. I feel the stars along with an honest compliment are sufficient for the higher levels. -Stephanie Jarand (ZE)

A time management system that allows you to pace yourself, give the kids a break, and gets them to “woohoo” with you!! -Susan Fellows

A reward system is a way to keep the student engaged and motivated. It keeps the class fun and makes them feel good. It’s not about perfection, it’s about putting forth effort and letting them know you are proud of them. For my younger kids I love ice cream. For my older kids I use encouragement rewards or we do questions. -Emily Littler

A reward system should be age appropriate and be something the student and yourself can interact with and be excited about! I am a nomad teacher so to speak, so I keep my rewards systems simple but FUN! For the younger students, I use color blocks (we extend by counting how many colors they received, their favorite colors, etc.) For older students I have found drawing “mystery” pictures or google slides where we reveal different pictures! Easy prep and lots of opportunities to build rapport with your student and extend a lesson! -Sierra Schaller

A reward system is meant to encourage students. However, they are also great resources to teach vocabulary, reinforce key language skills, and build rapport with students. My favorite rewards are ones that give a student choice. For example, I have made a “Build a Robot” reward where students choose which robot head, neck, arms, etc. they want. Not only does the reward get the student answering questions, but it also reinforces the vocabulary learning in Unit 5 of Interactive Level 2. -Ilona Halkides

Reward system is a way to connect with your student and allow for a “brain break” every few minutes. I love “draw dino” as my go-to! -Megan Seaney

A reward system (in VIPKID) is something fun – a brain break – that helps break the intensity, and sometimes the frustration, of a difficult 25-minute lesson for the kids. It provides positive reinforcement and provides an opportunity for student-teacher bonding. It can also spark conversation! My favorite reward system is paper find-a-stars adapted for various levels and lessons and student interests. -Stacey Putman

I would define a reward system as a visual indicator of a child’s progress. This is important for some younger children who are visual learners and need motivation beyond regular encouragement. It will help these children remain focused and achieve their learning goals. -Jennifer PGSZ

A reward system is something that engages the student so they know they are doing a great job but also to give a teacher a chance to get to know a student a little. This is extremely important because it has allowed me to engage and learn my students on many different levels. Some of my favorite reward systems are games. We play tic tac toe, don’t spill the beans, barrel of monkeys, cooties, matching card games( i made some with different foods, colors, or any vocabulary from any of the lessons), stacking games with wooden animals, hangman, othello, legos and build things, color bears, connect four. These work for all ages. Not to mention is a great way of teaching the students something new and learning more languages. – Cassandra Aldridge

I use rewards as a way to reinforce positive behavior and to help build my students’ confidence. One of my favorite rewards is a fairy garden where my student receives a fairy to put in the fairy garden whenever she does something well. I like to create my own rewards by using things that my students enjoy. -Heather Nevelier

A reward system is a device that helps keep the students engaged and motivated.  It is designed with their age and interests in mind. I have recently used a stuffed fake tree and pulled small animals out of it.  I was surprised that even my older female students were interested in this. For the older boys i use sports car pictures and add some goofy pictures of a rabbit or dog driving a car.  It usually brings smiles. -Janice JH

A good reward enhances the lesson somehow and requires the child to interact in some way. My favorite is my Mommy Fish who has lost her babies. I use it in trials and with my new L2. It covers family, feelings, counting, colors. It’s a hit with boys and girls. -Amanda JVZ

There are many fun and constructive ways to reward students for their hard work. Thank you to all the teachers who gave some insights on their reward systems!