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How to Motivate EVERY Student in Your Class

We all need motivation in our lives. As adults, our motivation can come from many sources. A desire to hear praise from the boss, a deeply ingrained work ethic, or just a simple need to pay the bills. Learning what will motivate students is key to a successful behavior plan.

Everyone needs encouragement

For the last 5 years, I worked with a principal who didn’t take the time to find out her teachers’ motivations or provide them with any sort of positive encouragement. Because of this, she lost over 20 teachers in the last few years, including myself.

All of the teachers needed different things from the principal to feel successful. Some of them would have loved for her to come in and compliment them on a bulletin board. Many teachers liked praise for going above and beyond their work duties. I know a few who would have worked extra hard after receiving a $10 Starbucks card. All of them needed different forms of motivation, and our students are no different.

Everyone is motivated differently

When I first started teaching, I bought the typical wooden treasure box from Michael’s. I filled it up with cheap party toys from Target and Walmart. My kids were mildly interested in the toys (some more than others), but I felt like I was going to the store every week to fill it up with more STUFF.

One day while searching through Pinterest, I saw the idea of using a rewards binder instead of (or in addition to) the treasure box. I downloaded a simple version that had around 5 additional prize options. An example of the choices was – no shoes for the day, or bringing a fluffy friend to school.

I didn’t take away my treasure box, I just offered these rewards as an alternative. My assumption was that my students would still be drawn to the treasure box and the cheap plastic wonders within, but boy was I wrong!

It shocked me how few of them asked to see the treasure box. Many of them chose another reward (one that didn’t cost me any money)! I was also surprised by what each child chose. It was fascinating to see what caught their eye. It helped me to get a better picture of them as an individual.

Give them a choice

Changing to this reward system really gave my students more buy-in to our behavior system. I used punch cards with my students, and once they got 20 punches they could choose from the reward binder. If you want a free copy of those punch cards, check out this link:

Behavior Punch Cards

Once they filled up their punch card, they would peruse the binder to see which reward they would like. Quick management note – I gave punches out at the end of the day, so once their card was full they would put it on my table.

The next day (after they finished their morning work) they would pick a prize. If I did punch cards and prizes all at the same time we would never get out the door to go home! : )

I created a new rewards book recently that I wanted to share with you. Just fill out the info below to get the freebie! I’m hoping you will be able to motivate all your students with it as well!

Rewards book

Motivate All Students

Give it a try in your classroom, and let me know how it goes! You don’t have to use all of the rewards provided, you can pick and choose what works for you.

I’m also a big fan of doing whole class goal setting and rewards. This reward book can also help you choose a group reward to celebrate your achievements!

Want to learn more about behavior management? Check out these posts to get some fresh new ideas:

You can also check out the behavior management section of my TPT store!

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