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MS in Education Insight: Free and Inexpensive Rewards for Students

Walden College of Education MSEd students learn in their coursework about free or inexpensive rewards they can use to motivate their students.

Many elementary and secondary educators incorporate rewards and incentives into their teaching strategies to recognize student achievement in tasks big and small—appropriate and cooperative behavior, academic milestones, homework completion, random acts of kindness.

When awarded fairly and judiciously, they’re a hit with students, and many teachers report increased motivation in their pupils. A 7-year-old Florida second grader says she feels “excited and happy” when she earns recognition, and it spurs her to work harder. “And then I usually try, try to do better in school, because school’s important,” she says.

MS in Education Insight: Free and Inexpensive Rewards for Students

In the Walden University MSEd course Creating an Effective Classroom Learning Environment, one required reading is “Free or Inexpensive Rewards for Students.” Master’s in education scholars gather creative ideas for their teaching toolboxes, and you can too. Here are free and inexpensive options from the reading that you can use to reward your students:1

For Individual Students at the Elementary Level:

  • Assist the custodian.
  • Assist with morning announcements over the PA system.
  • Be a helper in another classroom.
  • Be featured on a photo recognition board.
  • Be recognized during announcements.
  • Be the first one in the lunch line.
  • Be the leader of a class game.
  • Be the line leader or the caboose.
  • Be the scout (the person who goes ahead of class to tell the specialist teacher they are on the way).
  • Be the teacher’s helper for the day. 
  • Borrow the principal’s chair for the day.
  • Choose a book for the teacher to read aloud to the class.
  • Choose any class job for the week.
  • Choose music for the class to hear.
  • Choose the game during physical education.
  • Choose which homework problem the teacher will give the answer to for a freebie.
  • Receive a coupon for a free test answer from the teacher.
  • Dance to favorite music in the classroom. 

For Individual Students at the Secondary Level:

  • Have an adult volunteer write a job recommendation.
  • Attend an all-school party on the weekend, sponsored and chaperoned by parents, with different areas for all interests:
    • Dance area
    • Basketball area
    • Game board area
    • Conversation pit
    • Graffiti wall (piece of sheetrock decorated with colored markers)
    • Karaoke area
    • Computer animation area
  • Act as assistant coach for any sport.
  • Assist PTO to develop ways to reward teachers who go out of their way to help students.
  • Call in a request to a radio station, which the teacher will play in the classroom.
  • Present a PowerPoint for the class on a particular subject of interest.
  • Choose what assignment the class does for homework. Design a theme for a school dance, ice cream social, or game night.
  • Dress as the school mascot during a sporting event.
  • Apprentice on a Saturday at a local store or business.
  • Be the water/towel person at a sporting event.
  • Do stagecraft for any school performance (lights, stage design, props).
  • Assist with the scoreboard at a sporting event.
  • Eat lunch with a preferred adult.
  • Get free entrance to a dance or sporting event.
  • Get a library pass to research a topic of interest.
  • Go to the grade school and teach students about a topic of interest.
  • Paint a ceiling tile to go in the hallway. 

How Can You Learn More About Education?

When you choose an accredited university like Walden for your online master’s in education, your curriculum will be filled with the latest teaching strategies and theories, and with impactful supplemental reading assignments like “Free or Inexpensive Rewards for Students.”

In Creating an Effective Classroom Learning Environment and other MSEd courses, you’ll gain valuable knowledge to use immediately in your education career. In fact, nearly 88% of Walden MS in Education alumni responding to Walden’s survey stated that their Walden degree enhanced their professional performance.2

Earning a degree online lets you set your schedule using Walden’s flexible learning platform. And with 17 specializations—including a self-designed option—in the MS in Education degree program, there are multiple paths to a rewarding teaching career. Let your love of learning lead you to a master’s in education online and begin creating effective learning environments in your classroom.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Education degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.

1Walden MSEd curriculum source:

2Source:; % calculated on total number of respondents to our 2015 survey.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,