Reward Students on a Budget without Material Incentives



Do you struggle keeping up with who earned a prize, buying prizes and finding time to give students prizes? Plus.. do you struggle to find prizes that aren’t junk and causing more problems in your classroom? Personally, I hate the idea that students have a good day and think that they automatically deserve a materialistic reward. Plus prizes can be hard to vary, and are usually cheap and lost within days. Thus.. the idea of the PINK SUPERSTAR was born.

Screen Shot 2018-06-15 at 11.24.47 AM

In my classroom, I use a clip chart combined with Class Dojo for students, parents and myself to track behavior. I know there are mixed feelings about clip charts, but personally, I LOVE it. You can read more about this combination of the clip chart and Class Dojo here.


Now.. getting to the point, my students take what “color” they are on very seriously. And my students are THRILLED and love to tell anyone who will listen when they land all the way on top of the clip chart and are on “pink”. This excitement stems from a few things, but mainly, because I make a HUGE deal about it when my students land on pink! When my students’ clips are on pink, they start to earn a lot of privileges. We call this being the PINK SUPERSTAR. Now, students are not the pink superstar as soon as they hit pink. Students need to be on pink at the end of the day in order to be the pink superstar the next day. This encourages students to continue this amazing behavior ALL day long.


First and foremost, pink superstars’ names get written up on my whiteboard. Whenever I need ANYTHING done, I ask my pink superstar to be my helper. This can be passing out papers, running papers to the office, being a line leader, holding my read aloud book, inspecting the floor… literally ANYTHING. This person also gets built in privileges that they automatically know they get, such as being a line leader ALL day long, helping with our lunch basket, being our computer checker, being our line inspector, being the floor inspector, AND in my room, this means they get to pick a flexible seating option to have at their desk ALL day long, OR they get to sit in my teacher chair (when applicable). Let me tell you, my kids LOVE it! This also makes my job so much easier because they WANT to help and then it takes some of the little tasks out of my own hands.

Another reason this works so well is because I also tell EVERYONE who our pink superstar is that day. The gym teacher, music teacher, art teacher, library teacher, principal, other second grade teachers and especially the parents know who the pink superstars are. This started by me just bragging out about my students who were on pink, and is now to the point where other teachers will ask me, “Mrs. Kelly, who are those pink superstars today?!” Most importantly, I always send a message on Class Dojo to the parents of the pink superstars telling them about their kids rock-star day. I just have this message saved on a “sticky” on my computer, so I can copy and paste it.. and it takes me 10 seconds to make this student and parents’ day.

This is an easy and free way to get your students amped up about their positive behavior and to also motivate students to have these kinds of days. I find this works especially well with my most difficult behavior kids.. because one day of being the pink superstar makes them want to have that privilege every day. The parents are also extremely invested, and sometimes parents even make deals with their kids about getting onto certain colors and earning privileges at home.

Hopefully you found what you were looking for in this blog post! If you have any of your own successes with this topic, please feel free to share helpful tips or stories below! Check back each Monday in 2018 for a new post on my blog. Enjoy!

Emily - The Mountain Teacher

Share your thoughts...

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *