Compiled by Laura A. Riffel, Ph.D. from schools implementing School-wide PBIS
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In School-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), many schools are seeking ways to reward students in ways that give recognition and attention from peers and adults without costing much money. These pages have been compiled from working with Pre-K through High Schools on successful rewards used as incentives for students and staff.
Individual teachers can use these rewards in their classrooms or they can be part of a universal effort for PBIS. Ask students to share their ideas with you about “What would mean the world to you? What could an adult give you that would let you know you had done a good job; but, it can’t cost much money?”
I was once riding a school bus in a very large metropolitan city, prior to providing PBIS training to the bus drivers. While we were running the route, the bus assistant came up to me and pointed to two boys directly behind me and said, “He’s the first worst kid on the bus and that one over there is the second worst kid on the bus.” After I thought the students had time to calm down from her negative comments, I turned around and asked these middle school students the “what would mean the world to you” question. Here are there answers:
“Oh man. I see people when they throw a football it goes straight. When I throw a football it goes all crazy. If someone could teach me how to throw a football straight; that would mean the world to me.”
“I suck at spelling (pardon the language). If someone could tell me how to be a better speller. That would mean the world to me.”
I am continually amazed at the answers students give me to this question. I read somewhere that we have decreased face time with children by 62% since the 1950’s. It seems that one of the best rewards we can give them is our time.
Free or Inexpensive Rewards for Individual Students 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 (Person who goes ahead of class to tell the special teacher they are on the way)
Be the teacher's helper for the day
Borrow the principal’s chair for the day
Buzz cut a design in an agreeable male’s head
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
Cut the principal’s tie off and have your picture featured on a bulletin board with the neck part of the tie as the frame. Keep the tip for a souvenir. (These ties are donated by parents)
Coupon for free test answer- like phone a friend on Who Wants to be a Millionaire
Dance to favorite music in the classroom
Design a class/school bulletin board
Design and make a bulletin board
Do half of an assignment
Draw on the chalkboard
Draw on a small white board at desk
Draw pictures on the chalkboard while the teacher reads to the class (illustrating the story being read)
Duct tape the principal to the wall during lunch or an assembly
Earn a free pass to a school event or game
Earn a gift certificate to the school store or book fair
Earn an item such as a Frisbee, hula hoop, jump rope, paddleball or sidewalk chalk, which promote physical activity
Earn extra computer time
Earn extra credit
Earn free tutoring time from the teacher (spelling secrets, math secrets, writing secrets)
Earn play money to be used for privileges
Earn points for good behavior to “buy” unique rewards (e.g. Autographed items with special meaning or lunch with the teacher)
Earn the privilege of emailing a parent at work telling of accomplishments
Earn privilege of wearing a hat for the day
Earn time with a friend to play Wii Fit (get one donated through www.donorschoose.org)
Eat lunch outdoors with the class
Eat lunch with a teacher or principal
Eat lunch with an invited adult (grandparent, aunt, uncle)
Eat with a friend in the classroom (with the teacher)
Enjoy a positive visit with the principal
Enjoy class outdoors for the whole class
Enter a drawing for donated prizes among students who meet certain grade standards
Extra music and reading time in class
Get “free choice” time at the end of the day
Get a free computer lesson from the computer teacher
Get to eat lunch with a special teacher
Get a “no homework” pass
Get a drink from the cold water fountain (There is always one fountain that is better)
Get a flash card set printed from a computer
Get to dance in class- Have top grade come down and teach lower grade how to do a dance
Get a video store or movie theatre coupon (things that have been donated through community involvement)
Get extra art time
Get to go read in a special place (i.e. a bathtub filled with pillows)
Get to play dress up at lunch time and sit at special table (suits and dresses- hats etc.)
Getting a yard sign to put in your yard about your “excellent behavior”
Go on a walking field trip (earn privilege for whole class)
Get picture of self and a friend on scrolling picture frame or hung in the hall on a bulletin board
Getting to design school gotchas and have them printed for whole school
Go to the library to select a book to read
Have a drawing lesson from the art teacher
Have a free serving of milk
Have a reading party- bring slumber bags, pajamas, flashlight and favorite books- go into gymnasium and get everyone situated – then turn out the lights and let everyone read inside their sleeping bags for an hour or two. Teacher can be set up in a pop-up tent.
Learn how to do something special on the computer- like graphics or adding sound
Learn how to draw something that looks hard, but with help is easy
Listen to music while working
Listen with a headset to a book on audiotape
Make deliveries to the office
Name put on school marquee outside the school
Name put on scrolling marquee with a specific message “Emily Jones says smile and eat your veggies.”
Operate the remote for a PowerPoint lesson
Pick a game at recess that everyone plays including the teacher
Play a computer game
Play a favorite game or puzzle
Play secretary at the board for the teacher (write what the teacher tells student to write)
Read a book to the class
Read morning announcements
Read to a younger class
Receive a “mystery pack” (gift-wrapped items such as a notepad, folder, puzzle, sports cards, etc.)
Receive a 5-minute chat break at the end of the class or at the end of the day
Receive a note of recognition from the teacher or principal
Receive a plant, seeds and a pot for growing
Receive art supplies, coloring books, glitter, bookmarks, rulers, stencils, stamps, pens, pencils, erasers and other school supplies
Receive verbal praise
Rent space on a hallway bulletin board to display work
Run the smart board for the teacher
Secret cupid (leprechaun, bunny, mayflower, Santa, pumpkin, Johnny Appleseed, snowflake)- this person remains anonymous. This person watches all day and then reports to front office who had the best behavior witnessed in the school all day. That student is announced at the end of the day to come down for a 25 point gotcha. Keep the mystery spy a secret.
Select a paper back book to take home to read from the teacher’s personal library
Sit at the teacher’s desk for the day or a set amount of time
Sit next to the teacher during story time
Sit with a friend at lunch, assembly, etc.
Sit at a special bench during assembly
Take a free homework pass
Take a trip to the treasure box (things that have been donated by others)
Take care of the class animal
Take class animal home for school vacation time
Take glitter eye shadow and touch top of children’s hands and tell them they sparkle
Take home a class game for a night
Teach the class a favorite game
Teach the class a math lesson
Use colored chalk
Use the teacher’s chair
Walk with a teacher during lunch
Watch a video instead of recess
Work as the Principal apprentice for 20 minutes
Work in the lunchroom
Write with a marker for the day
Write with a special pen for the day
Write with a special pencil for the day
Awards Special Staff Can Give to Whole Class:
At the secondary level- the class that was in the room last the previous day earns a homework free night when the golden plunger is left suction cupped to the white board. (Golden Plunger Award is from the custodian for the cleanest classroom)
Book Shaped Clock- for best manners in Library
Gold or Platinum LP Record for class with best manners in Music for the week
Golden Apple Award for class with best lining up at recess
Golden Maracas Award for class with best manners in Spanish class
Golden Mouse Award for class with best manners in computer class
Golden paintbrush Award for class with best manners in Art class
Golden Plunger Award- for the cleanest classroom. Line leader carries the golden plunger around the school and all other classes must stop and salute.
Golden Spatula Award- for class with best manners in the cafeteria.
Golden sports trophy for class with best manners in PE
Golden Trash Can Award
Platinum of all of the above- since platinum is the new “gold”
Shelf Elf for best manners in the Library- sits in winning classroom for a week
Sock it to Ya’ – Best manners in PE class
Free or Inexpensive Rewards for Individual Students Secondary Level
Adult volunteers to write a job recommendation for the student
All school party on the weekend with different venues for all interests: (students with zero ODR’s get to come) Have parents sponsor and chaperone:
Graffiti wall (piece of sheetrock painted white with sharpies of various colors)
Computer animation area
Assisting Coach for any sport
Assisting PTO to develop ways to reward teachers who go out of their way to help students
Call in to radio station and make a request and teacher plays station in the classroom during appropriate time.
Chance to go to grade school and teach students about a topic of interest
Choosing to do a PowerPoint for the class on a particular subject of interest
Choosing what assignment the class does for homework
Designing theme for school dance, ice cream social, game night
Dress as the school mascot during a game
Earn the chance to apprentice on Saturday at a local store or business
Earning the chance to be the water/towel person at a sporting event
Earning the chance to do stagecraft for any school performance (lights, stage design, props)
Earning the chance to scoreboard assist at a game
Eating lunch with a preferred adult
Free entrance to a dance
Free entrance to a football, basketball, etc. game
Free library pass to research a topic of interest
Get to paint a ceiling tile to go in the hallway
Get a golf cart ride from the student parking lot up to the school in the morning and then again at the end of the day
Getting a postcard in the mail telling parents what teachers admire most about their child
Getting picture on school poster about school expectations
Getting to apprentice at one of the business partners with the school (grocery store, bank, etc.) on the weekend.
Getting to buzz cut a design in the principal’s hair (custodian’s hair)
Getting to cut the principal’s tie off (use loop to frame student’s face on a bulletin board of fame)
Getting to duct tape the principal to the wall
Getting to listen to music during lunch
Getting to scoop food at the cafeteria for a lunch period (social opportunity)
Getting to shoot a video about the school’s expectations to show on CC TV
Getting to sit at a special table in the lunchroom with friends
Getting to stay after school and shoot hoops with a teacher of choice or a few friends
Give students the template for a PowerPoint game (tons available for free online) “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader”; “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”; “Jeopardy” etc. Let them make up a review for a test using the template.
Hall pass to leave class 5 minutes early and go by the coldest water fountain
Having the computer teacher teach special computer programming skills (kids want to learn gaming skills)
Help from an adult of choice on a class they are struggling with (Free tutoring)
Homework free night
Learning how to do something of interest on the computer (animation, graphics, CAD)
Learning how to play chess
Learning how to play sports even if they didn’t make the team
Let student make a bulletin board in the front hall highlighting an event of choice
Make the morning announcements
Office aid for a period
Opportunity to be part of a brainstorming adult team at the school
Opportunity to eat lunch outdoors at a special table
Opportunity to eat lunch with a parent or grandparent at a special table
Opportunity to introduce the players over the PA during a home game
Opportunity to shadow business owner for a day- credit for writing about the experience
Opportunity to shadow the principal for an hour or the day
Opportunity to take care of lab animals in Science class
Opportunity to wear jeans instead of school uniform for a day
Principal grills hotdogs for students who have 0 tardies in the month & this student helps
Privilege of leaving book in class overnight instead of having to lug to locker
Privilege of seeing embarrassing photo of adult that no one else sees (Senior Portrait)
Put highlights in a willing teacher’s hair (pink, purple)
Reserved seating at a school play for student and five friends
Secret Wildcat (whatever your mascot is). This person watches all day and then reports to front office who had the best behavior witnessed in the school all day. That student is announced at the end of the day to come down for a 25 point gotcha. Keep the mystery spy a secret.
Send home a postcard about positive things the student has done this week
Serve as a student ambassador if visitors come to the school
Serving as a “page” for a local politician for the day
Serving as a door greeter for a parent night at school with a badge of honor to wear
Singing karaoke during lunch (approved songs)
Sit at score table in basketball game
Sit in score box at a football game
Sitting in the teacher’s chair for the period
Special parking preference for a day (get to park in teacher’s parking lot)
Special recognition at any school event- Guest DJ one song at dance etc.
Special seating at lunch table with friends
Student gets to pick which problem the teacher will make a freebie answer on homework
Student plans spirit week activity for one of the days (hat day, sunglasses etc.)
Teacher aid for special needs classroom
Teaching special needs student how to play a game
Group Contingencies with Group Consequence
Zorro or Zero the Hero runs around the school in the lunch room eating lunch with students if there is a zero office discipline referral day the previous day
Home work free night for whole school if there are zero “tardies, absences, etc.” (whatever has been a previous problem make it the contingency for the reward)
Principal sits on roof of school for the day if school has 10 days with zero office discipline referrals
Anything along these lines: principal kisses a pig- gets duct taped to the wall- dresses in opposing team colors- wears a funny costume (kids love to see adults do something funny)
Make a giant football field on the wall in the hallway- each class has a football on the field. Every day they have zero absences, zero office discipline referrals, zero tardies etc. – their class football moves forward 5 yards. As each class crosses the finish line they earn a homework free night or an extra recess. Their football size is increased and they start all over again. Others keep moving toward a touchdown
Elementary Level- “Bear Hugs” given to individual classes for group compliments. Class that gets the most bear hugs each week earns the right to carry special bear around the school for the next week.
Play appropriate (student recommended) music between class changing period for all but one minute- last minute before bell rings play Polka music. Continue with reward as long as tardies to class remain low (set the criteria).
Set a criteria- if there are 40 days with zero office discipline referrals a volunteer will donate their hair to “Locks of Love” and a student drawing from gotchas will determine who gets to cut off the pony tail.
At the secondary level, getting parents to school at night is sometimes difficult. Offer 100 free gotchas to any student who gets their parents to sign in and attend the parent night activities.
Adult gets to pick what the topic for a faculty meeting is going to be
Adult gets to rent the principal’s chair for the day
Ask an office supply store to consider donating their clearance items to the school and have a “store” for all the staff members to come in and “purchase” office supplies with gotchas they received from each other.
Ask everyone to start a diary writing down 3 things that went well each day. Ask the staff to bring their diaries to faculty meetings. Reward staff for bringing the diaries and give out chocolate kisses to everyone who shares at least one thing from their diary.
Ask one of the classes to plant some seedlings and get them going. Then pass out blooms to all staff members. Leave a note saying, “I know you’ll nurture this plant to full beauty because of the way you nurture children.”
Ask parents to send in praise via email. At the end of the day, do a David Letterman’s mail bag and read the kudos that came in via email about staff members. Give kudos to the parent who shared by sending a hand written note. It won’t take long for word to spread that compliments are appreciated.
Ask the cafeteria staff to bake some special cookies. After a particularly difficult day, invite all the staff to come down for cookies in the cafeteria. Have the PBIS team set up ready to entertain. The PBIS team might be dressed as Alvin and the Chipmunks and lip sync the Alvin and the Chipmunks song. Another idea is to have the PBIS team put on lipstick and paint eyeballs and a nose on their chins. Then lay across a table with heads hanging backwards with stocking caps over their hair, face, and nose. Then lip sync to a silly song like “We are Family.”
Ask your employees what makes them tick. Ask each employee to list their values that guide their daily decisions. During conferences with individuals ask them to compare and contrast their values with the mission of the school.
At Family Math Night all the adults are highlighted in a video montage
At the beginning of the year, have staff fill out a questionnaire on spouse and children’s birthdays. Send birthday cards from the school to spouses and children. Recognizing that staff members have lives outside the school is very important.
Bring in a masseuse and a massage chair and provide free massages during planning periods. Darken the staff lounge, play classical music and burn candles (if the fire marshal approves). Do this during one of the more difficult months for student behavior. (October, December, March, April, May).
Bulletin board highlighting staff of the day showing treasures provided by their family (surprise) If you have about 90 staff members one every other day would work
Call each other by name especially in front of the students. “Good morning, Mrs. Turquoise.” And Mrs. Turquoise says, “Good morning, Mr. Purple”. Modeling appropriate greetings is very important for the students and using names with each other shows respect for individuals.
Call in an ice cream truck to come to the school the last day of criterion reference testing. Have the truck show up after all the students are gone and invite all the staff to come down and have an ice cream on the PBIS team. Tell them they are “Way Cool, the way they accomplished all the testing this week.”
Create an instruction manual based on skills developed or used by team members in the school. Beginning of the year tips from the experts. Take a picture of each staff member with their words of wisdom and print the book off for all staff. Give a copy to new staff members and substitute teachers. For example, “Mr. Green’s recipe for cheering up students on a difficult day. Do a magic trick. Have two brown paper bags. Put a piece of fruit in one brown paper bag and staple it shut. Ask the students to guess what fruit is in the bag. Have little slips of paper and pretend to write the fruits that the students name on pieces of paper and drop them in the other brown paper bag. Now tell the students that you will be able to pull out the exact name of the fruit in the sealed bag. Reach in to the open paper bag and pull out a slip of paper and amazingly read the name of the fruit that is in the bag. Show the students that it indeed says “apple” (or whatever fruit). Then open the sealed brown paper bag and show the apple. The students will be amazed. What the students do not know is that you wrote “apple” on every piece of paper that you put in the open brown paper bag. Even though you pretended to struggle even to write the word rhubarb- you were really writing apple. It’s a great mood breaker. “ Put a picture of Mr. Green on this page. On the next page you might have Mrs. Brown’s great math experiment. “Mrs. Brown asks her students to answer this question: Which would you rather have? A dollar a day for the next 30 days or a penny on day one, two pennies on day two, four pennies on day three, eight pennies on day four and so on for 30 days? The students guess and then Mrs. Brown shows them that pennies doubled each day for thirty days comes out to 10,737,418.23 dollars. It is great fun to watch their faces.” Put Mrs. Brown’s picture on this page.
Do a staff survey and find out everyone’s favorite snack. Stock the staff lounge with snacks one day a week. The PTO could help furnish the snacks.
Donut day- These donuts are in honor of Peggy’s contribution to the PTO(get local business to donate the donuts)
During morning announcements highlight something that an adult in the building did and tell why
Duty free lunch period
Each day have the entire PBIS team spend ten minutes looking for someone doing something that furthers the goals of the PBIS plan of action. Give out special gotchas good for leaving school 10 minutes early on a day of choice.
Encourage employees to post their values in a conspicuous place in their respective rooms.
Find a beauty school and get someone to volunteer to come in and do 5 minute manicures
Flowers on the desk from someone’s garden (with permission)
Get a donation of a shopping cart to keep at the school for adults bringing in huge loads of supplies
Get a parent volunteer to be at the door in the morning dressed in a tuxedo. Have them speak in a British accent and greet each staff member as they enter the building. They could say something like, “Cheerio, we’ve been anticipating your arrival Mrs. Yellow.”
Give each other affirmations. When someone says, “Oh my goodness, I don’t think I can handle another day of Johnny and Susie swinging from the chandelier.” Make sure the staff is ready to tell each other “You can do it.” “I know you can do it.” “I have faith in you.”
Give out thank you cards to all staff members and ask them to write one a week to someone on the staff. Ask them to write to different people each week.
Give out the Depends Award during staff meeting. Take a pair of Depends ™ Undergarments and spray paint them gold. Give out the Depends Award to the most dependable person each week. This is an award they can keep until It is passed on to the next person. Be specific about how each person is dependable.
Go around a local mall and ask the store owners to donate items to celebrate great education staff members. If the PBIS team splits up the mall, they can collect a huge bevy of items for give away items for the adults. Use these as prizes for recognizing everyone’s contributions to the greater cause.
GOOSE- Get Out Of School Early- No staying for the 30 minutes after school (Some schools GOBL- Get out of Bed Late- they come in 30 minutes later in the morning on a Monday morning) Principal covers class in both cases.
Gotchas work for school personnel, but only if everyone remembers. Put three silver dollars in your left pocket in the morning. As you compliment different adults in the building, move a silver dollar from your left pocket to your right pocket. At the end of the day, all three silver dollars should be in your right pocket. (You move from left to right to help you remember you are doing the “right” thing.)
Have the entire staff fill out a sheet answering this question: 1) Name something about yourself that no one else would ever guess. Each morning read one clue and give everyone an answer sheet. Each day they are to guess who the mystery person is based on the clues read that morning. After all the clues have been read, invite the whole staff to a pizza party. Read the entire list of clues and have people guess aloud and then have the real mystery person confess their secret identity. Have a prize for the person who gets the most guesses correct.
Have the PBIS team read books that would be helpful for teachers and create “Cliff’s Notes” on those books for the staff. Send it out in a weekly newsletter. Book idea: Marzano’s “What Works in Schools.”
Have the principal make up a rap song about being cool in school and perform it on the CCTV for the school- Staff of the Day get to be background dancers
Have your PBIS team go online and post positive statements about each one of the staff members on the school website. Example: Meet John Jones. Loves waterskiing and horseback riding. We love the way Mr. Jones is always at the front door to greet the students.
Highlight staff strengths in the parent newsletter. Let the parents know the strengths of each staff member throughout the year.
Hire a celebrity impersonator to come to the school and visit classrooms. For example: Abraham Lincoln visits the school and comes in each classroom giving a small history lesson tying something special about the adults in each room to the history lesson. For example, “I was the only president to ever own a patent. I designed a special idea that helped boats float over sand bars. I was good at floating boats and Mrs. Blue has designed a special chair that lets students get their wiggles out.”
Hire the high school choir to change the words to a popular song and serenade the staff with a kudos song some morning.
Identify what each staff member does best and have an “Academy Awards” ceremony with statues for each person. Invite the parents to come to the award ceremony.
If a staff member has a problem, find out about it and figure out a way to help them. For example, if a staff member’s child is struggling in Algebra find another staff member who is willing to tutor that member’s child in exchange for something they need- like their car washed.
Instead of criticizing an employee who has behaviors you would like to “target” for change, make a positive intervention. Express to the employee what needs to change and end with a statement affirming, “I have confidence in you that you can get this done.”
Invite spouses and children to come up for the catered dinner on the nights staff needs to work late.
Invite staff members to the next board meeting and stand up and compliment their achievement to the board.
Limo ride to school and home for staff of the day- This sounds weird but funeral parlors will sometimes provide this service for free if they aren’t using the cars that day- “Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell” rule applies (they will be silent partners).
Make a deal with the staff. “If we have 100% attendance for the Criterion Reference Testing then the PBIS staff will wash everyone’s car on a non-rainy day.”
Make it a point to give one hand written note a day to someone who has done something exceptionally well.
Mini-fridge for a week in the adults’ office area filled with his or her favorite drink
Name the conference room after an employee each week. Base the choice on someone who has received a lot of gotchas that week. Make a sign for the door and make sure to call people down to the Violet Conference Room.
Once a month host an ice cream social with a “sister”- “brother” school. Alternate schools each month and let teachers tour getting ideas from each other on lesson plans, bulletin boards, etc. I Spy something great I’d like to duplicate
Order business cards for each staff member (http://www.vistaprint.com/frf?frf=691384697124 ) Pick a design that fits each person’s personality. Vista Print has almost free deals on business cards.
Order enough flowers for each staff member to get one and stand at the door as each person enters and tell them you appreciate the way they help children “bloom” in this building.
Organize a lunchtime game that everyone can watch. For example, set up a jeopardy game, who wants to be a millionaire etc. in the staff lounge and challenge two contestants during lunch to play while others watch.
Pass out grape juice in plastic goblets at the next staff meeting and toast each other. Keep going until everyone has received a toast.
Permission to leave the building at lunch time for lunch off campus
Plan a big faculty meeting or inservice at someone’s house – with a pool and a grill instead of sitting on the little dot seats in the cafeteria
Poll your staff to find out what they would like to have training in and then have your PBIS team decide where some training opportunities exist and who should go to those trainings.
Post goals in teachers’ lounge and graph results. Example: Positive phone contacts home- shoot for 2 times the number of students in the school. Set the goal of 200% in 6 weeks. (graph phone calls, post cards, emails, notes)
Postcard sent home detailing something admired in the adult
Preferred parking space
Principal and staff member trade jobs for a day
Principal institutes a pineapple upside down day- Everyone comes in and is assigned a different job for half a day- Everyone has to have their job description or lesson plans written down step by step
Principal kidnaps a class after PE or recess and take them somewhere else. Send a messenger to the teacher telling him or her to put their feet up for 20 minutes. Teach a lesson to the class on something of interest to you- American History- Art etc.
Principal leaves love notes on adults’ desks – not the 6:00 news kind- the kudos kind
Principal takes over morning or afternoon duty for an adult in the building
Principal writes lesson plans for teacher for one period
PTO designs 4 strokes for every poke lanyard for all adults in the building
PTO takes turns baking a casserole once a week for an adult “gotcha” receiver
Scrape ice off windshield of Staff of the Day’s car
Sneak into the school over the weekend and write a note on each classroom white board telling them to “Have a Great Week”
Special table outdoors for teachers to enjoy sunshine during lunch
Supply a box of birthday cards to each staff member. On birthdays, encourage each staff member to fill out a birthday card and do a drive-by carding by hiding birthday cards all over the person’s area throughout the day. For example, the birthday person might find a card taped to the staff restroom mirror, or on the coffee pot and so on.
Surprise an adult in the building by letting two or three students wash their car- be careful on this one though- There are also services that come on sight and wash cars for a fee- possibly PTO could sponsor
Surprise staff by greeting them at the door with a cup of hot coffee or diet coke (know what everyone’s drink of choice is) Just say, “We are so glad you are here today.”
Surprise the staff with a scavenger hunt all over the school. As each person enters the building have them see a sign that says “Immediately check your box.” In their boxes have a candy bar that says, “Your next clue is awaiting you at the coldest water fountain in the school.” When the staff members get to the coldest water fountain, one of the PBIS team members will be waiting with a bottle of water that has the next clue taped on it. This will go on and end up in the cafeteria where the team meets up again and has a breakfast ready for all the staff members.
Surprise whole staff and take them on a group outing on a weekend- for example: 1) movie theater to see an uplifting movie, 2) breakfast at a restaurant, 3) BBQ at someone’s house or 4) pool party at someone’s house (preferably someone with a pool J ) Ask the corporations to donate the services or at least make a generous discount.
Survey the staff and find out what their least favorite part of the job is. Throughout the year, have the PBIS committee do one disliked job for each person. For example, Mrs. Green might dislike bus duty. The PBIS team might take Mrs. Green’s bus duty some Friday and let Mrs. Green go home early.
Take a survey of the staff on their favorite magazines. Ask PTO to purchase some subscriptions to put out in the staff lounge.
Take an old real estate sign and paint it with white enamel paint or chalkboard paint. Each day when the staff are pulling into the parking lot let them see the PBIS team has written a special thank you to one staff member for something outstanding each day. “Mrs. Orange, we love the way you handled the bullying situation yesterday.” “Way to Go.”
Think about each employee’s strength and ask them to share that strength with others. This could be done through faculty meetings, one to one mentoring, etc. Make sure when the employee is asked to share, they are told why they were chosen. “What made them stand out as an exemplar in this area?”
Valet parking for a day
When a new employee comes to the school (including substitutes), set expectations by planning a small celebration welcoming the new person. Make an intercom announcement welcoming the substitute and ask everyone to make them feel welcome.
When employees have to work extra (PTO, Parent Teacher Conferences, etc.) provide a catered dinner. (You can get parents to donate pot luck or ask a catering company to support your school by donating)
Free or Inexpensive Rewards for Parents to Give Their Children for Good Behavior at School Young Children
Assist the parent with a household chore
Send an email to a relative telling them what a good job they had done on a project at school. In other words, email Aunt Linda and tell her about the “A” you got on your spelling test.
Get to decorate paper placemats for the dining room table for dinner that evening
Get to choose what is fixed for dinner that night- example: “You get to choose, I can make tacos or meatloaf. Which do you want me to fix?”
Get to help parent fix dinner- shell peas, peel potatoes, make art out of vegetables, make ants on a log etc.
Get to be the first person to share 3 stars and a wish at the dinner table (3 good things that happened that day and one thing they wish had gone better.)
Get to create a family night activity- roller skating, hiking in the park, picnic dinner on the living room floor or under the dining room table with blankets over the top.
Camp out in the backyard with a parent.
Get a car ride to or from school instead of the bus
Get to have a picture framed for mom or dad’s office
Get to choose the game the family plays together that night
Get to choose the story the family reads out loud together (read the classics)
Get to go with a parent to volunteer at a retirement home (the children will get tons of attention)
Get to gather old toys and take to a shelter for children who have nothing
Get to ask friends to bring dog and cat food to their birthday party instead of toys that will break. Take the food to a shelter the day after as a reward. They will get a ton of attention from the staff.
Bury treasures in a sandbox for the child to find. Put letters in plastic Easter eggs and they have to put the letters together that spell treat the child will receive. (ideas: a walk with grandma, bike riding at the park, etc.)
Make special mud pies in the backyard with mom or dad or have a family contest to see who can make the best mud pie.
Dig shapes in the sandbox and then decorate with items found around the house. Pour inexpensive plaster of paris into the shape and wait to dry. When it’s pulled out it will be a sandy relief that can be hung on the wall (if you remember to put a paper clip in the plaster of paris on the top before it dries )
Get to go shopping with a parent as an only child. Give them a special task to look for something that you are seeking. For example: “Here’s a picture of a blue blouse that I’m trying to find. Help me look for something that looks like this.”
Take all the kids to grandma and grandpa’s except one and let that child stay home with mom and dad and be “only child” for the weekend. The other kids will get spoiled with lots of attention by grandma and grandpa and the “only child” will get lots of attention from mom and dad. (If you don’t have grandma and grandpa nearby- trade with another family taking turns to keep each other’s children.)
Download a fun recipe and let your child help you make that recipe as a surprise for the rest of the family that evening. (put up signs that say “Secret Cooking in Progress”. Must have special pass to enter the kitchen.
Surprise your child with a scavenger hunt around the house. If they read, give them written clues hinting as to where the next card is hiding. At the end have them find a note that tells them their big prize. (If your child can’t read, you can use pictures.)
Make a story on the computer with your child using Microsoft’s PowerPoint program. Let your child be the star of the story.
Let your child take the digital camera out in the back yard and then come back in and turn those pictures into a story on the computer. Help them print off their book for a distant family member.
Go outside and collect cool leaves and flowers. Come inside and put those leaves and flowers between two sheets of wax paper. The parent will iron these two sheets together and create placemats for everyone in the family for the evening.
Start a family story at the dinner table and each person in the family has to tell a part of the story. The child being rewarded gets to start and end the story.
Let your child earn 5 minutes of either staying up later or sleeping in in the morning. Use that time to read together if they stay up later.
Play secretary and let your child dictate a story to you. Type up the story and send it out to some relatives who will call them and tell them how much they liked the story.
Write a story for your child where the child or their personal hero is a character in the story.
Change the screen saver on your computer to say “My child is the greatest.” …or something that would make them feel good about themselves. Do this at your office and then take a picture of it or take your child to your office on the weekend and let them see it.
Let your child help you do the laundry and then pay them with a special dessert for dinner. Be sure to say, “Since you helped me save time by helping me fold the laundry, I have time to make this special dessert for dinner.”
Help your child organize their room giving them a mnemonic to help them remember where things go- for instance teach them the color order of the rainbow and then teach them to hang up their clothes in color groups matching the order of the rainbow (ROYGBIV). Later on when you catch them hanging up their clothes in the correct place draw a “rainbow” award for their good work and put it on their door as a surprise when they come home.
Have the bedroom fairy come while they are at school and choose the bedroom that is the neatest. Hang a fairy from the doorway of the room that is the neatest and that person gets to sit in “Dad’s chair” to read that night. (or something that would be appropriate at your house).
Mystery grab bag. Take an old pillow case and put slips of paper inside listing some of the prizes on this page and let the child draw out the prize they are going to get for their behavior reward.
Let your child dictate where you drive on the way home from a location. In other words, they have to tell you turn left here…turn right here. If they happen to steer you into a Baskin Robbins Ice Cream Parlor, it wouldn’t be a horrible thing to stop and have a family treat together.
Give your child a special piece of jewelry that belongs to you to keep and wear for the day. (Nothing that costs a lot of money- but something that looks like it is special to you.) The child will feel special all day long.
Take your children to the library one at a time and give them special one on one time at the library checking out books or listening to stories.
Sign your child up for acting lessons (they have to have earned this privilege). Many universities offer free acting classes on the weekend for children.
Take your child to an art gallery and then have them draw a picture of their favorite painting or statue. Possibly stage a mini art gallery tour of the child’s work for relatives who are coming to visit. Serve cheese and grape juice.
Take your child to the university astronomy lab. (It is usually free). Help them place stars on the ceiling of their room in their favorite constellation. If possible they could paint the stars with “glow in the dark” paint.
Take your child on a nature walk and collect rocks. Bring the rocks back home and have a contest painting the rocks to look like animals.
Have your child collect some toys they have outgrown. Clean up the toys and take them to a local hospital children’s ward and donate the toys to the ward. The child will get lots of attention and feel good.
Go to your local appliance store and ask them to save a refrigerator box for you. The next time your child earns a reward, give them the box and help them plan and decorate the box to turn it into anything their imagination desires.
Make Papier-mâché Halloween masks by taking punch ball balloons and spreading the paper strips over the balloon shape. Make noses, horns, tongues whatever they desire and then paint when dry. You will have a unique and free Halloween costume and you will have given your child ton’s of attention.
Find an old fashioned popcorn popper (not an air popper). Spread an old sheet out on the living room floor, put a little oil in the popper and then have your children sit outside the perimeter of the sheet. Put a few kernels of popcorn in the popper and watch them fly up in the air. The kids will love watching this. For a special treat pour cinnamon sugar on the popcorn after it pops.
Find some light balsa wood and create a boat powered by a rubber band and paper clip paddle wheel. Make a unique sail and take the boat to a creek or lake nearby and help your child launch their boat. Be sure to take a butterfly net to retrieve the boat when it goes downstream. (Proactively, you could put an eye hook on the front of the boat and attach some fishing line to it so it can be brought back to shore.
Take your child fishing. It’s a great place to have some really in depth conversations.
Take your child for a ride looking for items that start with each letter of the alphabet. Take the child’s picture in front of each item that starts with that letter and then put it together as an ABC Book. For example: “This is Johnny in front of Applebees.” “This is Johnny in front of BlockBuster.” And so on….
Check with your local humane society and see if they allow children under 18 to volunteer to feed and water the animals. (Some shelters only allow adults over 18). Let your child earn the privilege of going to the shelter to feed and water the animals. Perhaps they can walk a small dog or pet a cat.
Take your child to the local fire department. As long as they are not busy, they will be glad to show the child around and give them some great attention. Most children have seen a fire truck, but few have actually gone to the fire department to see what it looks like.
Play the “Gatekeeper Game” with your child. A description of this game is available on www.behaviordoctor.org (under books- Stork Manual page 60.)
Tell your children you have a surprise performance for them. Get a stocking cap and lay on a sturdy table with your head hanging chin up in the air. Cover all of your face with the stocking cap except your chin and mouth. Draw two eyeballs on your chin and then lip sync to a silly song. It looks really funny, like a little headed person with a big mouth singing. Then let your child put on a performance for you.
Play hide and go seek in your house in the dark. Turn out all the lights and have everyone hide. One person is “it” and they have to go around the house and find the people who are hiding. It’s really a great way to help your children not be afraid of the dark. You can limit it to one or two rooms if your children are young.
Ask your children if they’d rather have a dollar a day for thirty days or a penny a day that doubles each day for 30 days. In other words on day one 1 cent, day two 2 more cents, day three 4 cents and so on. Once they decide then help them figure out which one would have been the better deal. $10,737,418.23 at the end of 30 days with the double the pennies per day.
Give your child a nice piece of manila paper and some wax crayons. Have them color a design on every inch of the paper- could be stripes or wavy lines- whatever they desire. Then have them cover the entire page with black crayon. They color over the entire page. Then give them a paper clip and have them open one end and scratch a cool design into the black crayon. The colors underneath will show through. Do an art gallery tour and have tea and cookies after looking at the different pictures.
Teach your child how to throw a football, shoot a basket, kick a field goal, hit a baseball, putt a golf ball. Then for fun, switch hands and try to do all of those things with the opposite side of the body.
Find an old croquet set- probably on Ebay. Set up croquet in your yard and challenge your child to a game of croquet. The winning child gets to choose what the family eats for dinner.
Turn your dining room table into a cave by covering it with blankets, quilts and sheets that cover the top and sides down to the floor. Lay inside the cave and draw picture by flashlight to hang on the wall of the cave- just like the caveman drawings. You can safety pin the pictures to the “cave walls”.
Have a talent night for the family. Have everyone keep it a secret what they are doing and then perform for each other.
Teach your child how to darn a sock and then turn it into a magical sock puppet. Put on puppet shows for each other.
Take a tension curtain rod and put it in the door frame with some old curtains attached. Let your child put on a talent show for you as they enter through the curtain.
Attach cork panels to a wall in the kitchen or put in a large picture frame and put a special piece of art, poetry, or an exceptional paper on the board and have the entire family view and comment at dinner on the highlighted piece.
Let your child design thank you cards, birthday cards, or holiday cards and use them to send to friends and relatives. Make sure they sign their work.
Buy your child an inexpensive digital camera and have them take pictures and then gather the family with popcorn and watch the video on your television by hooking the camera to the television or upload to the computer and attach the computer to the television. Have everyone choose a favorite photo and talk about it.
Have a date night with your child as an only child. Take your child out to dinner and a play or a movie.
A gallon of paint is inexpensive. Let the child choose the color and help them paint their room. You can also buy mistake paint (colors that didn’t work out for others) and let the child paint a mural on their bedroom wall.
Teenagers need extra-curricular activities; however, these activities are expensive. Work out a deal with the karate teacher, horse stable, art teacher, sport coach etc. Offer to provide transportation, house cleaning duties once a month, or precooked meals to get a discount on these classes for your teenager.
Teenagers have a difficult time with their emotions. Download yoga lessons from online and do yoga breathing exercises together as a family. Talk to your child about using these techniques when they feel tense at school.
Make a deal. If your child maintains the grades you agree upon, does not have any unnecessary absences, and has been agreeable, allow them to take a mental health day and stay home on a day you are home as well. Go window shopping together, fishing, go-kart riding, or whatever would float your child’s boat. My mother did this with us when we were children and I still remember these days fondly.
Let your teenager play their music during dinner and talk to you about why they like each song that plays.
Watch an old black and white classic movie together and talk about how movies have changed. My children loved “Harvey” with Jimmy Stewart when they were teenagers.
Write half a story or poem and let your teenager write the other half. Submit the story for publication.
Scan your teenager’s papers or art work and have them bound in a book (www.lulu.com has inexpensive binding available). Present the book to your teenager at a special dinner.
Make a scrap book of your teenager and their friends with ticket stubs and pictures and present at a surprise party.
Save your change for a year. Let your teenager choose what to do with that money. One family that I know saved enough to take a family of six to Disneyland.
One of the greatest gifts you can give to a teenager is to teach them charity. Sign up to work in a soup kitchen, nursing home, or other similar area and work with them once a month.
Organize a neighborhood football or basketball game “oldies” vs “youngsters” or “men” vs. “women” and then have a block barbecue afterwards.
Let them drive the “good” car for a special occasion.
Surprise them with their favorite dessert for no special reason.
Write a story about the 20 things you love about them. Include fun pictures.
Choose a family member of the month and make a poster of them. Let them choose Friday night dinners for the month.
Teach your children how to play a game like Spoons, Canasta, Poker, etc. and have a family game night.
Turn out all the lights in the house and play hide and go seek in the dark. The person that can stay hidden the longest gets to choose the movie the family watches on Saturday night.
Hire your child to be an interior decorator and using only items available in the house, redo a room in the house.
Do your own Trading Spaces. Parents redecorate the teen’s bedroom and the teen redecorates the parent’s bedroom.
Use plastic Easter eggs and put dollar amounts in the eggs on slips of paper and number the eggs with a permanent marker. Play Deal or No Deal with one of the parents playing the banker.
Help your teenager study for a test by downloading a free Who Wants to be a Millionaire PowerPoint game and put the answers to your teenagers’ test into the game and then play to help them study.
Tape record your student’s study questions onto a tape recorder for them so they can listen to them while they are going to sleep.
Make flash cards for your student’s exams to help them study for a big exam.
Help your teenager organize their notebook using color coded folders for each subject and pocket folders for study cards.
Hide positive messages all over your teenager’s room, in their books they use at home (you don’t want them to get embarrassed at school), on their bathroom mirror, etc.
Watch Jeopardy and give each family member a pad of post it notes or index cards. Have everyone write down what they think the answer is and keep points. The person who wins gets to pick what the family does as an activity that weekend.
Do some research for your teenager. For example, if your teen is studying Greek Mythology go to the library and check out all the books on Greek Mythology for them or download some appropriate materials from the Internet (be careful of the Internet as some information is not correct).
Take your teen to a museum, on a nature walk, to a sporting event, whatever would float their boat. It’s the time you spend with them that is important and there are many free events you can attend.
Make a special mix CD for your teen of their favorite songs. You can upload i-tunes and then copy their own CD’s into the program and mix and match their favorite songs onto one CD so they don’t have to flip through CD’s to listen to their favorite songs.
Have a contest to see who can find something that no one in the family can guess what it is. For example, a shirt stay, or the inside spring to a toy, things that might not be recognizable away from their use.
Have everyone come to the table with a quote and then a contest to see who can guess who made the quote famous.
Surprise your teen with a scavenger hunt all over the house when they get home from school. Make the clues hard to figure out. I always had a little prize at the end like baseball cards.
Let your teen host the training of a guide dog. This will teach them responsibility and give them a sense of pride.
Help your teen become a big brother or sister to a child who needs a mentor. There is no greater gift you can give yourself than that of service to someone in need.
Grant Opportunities for Schools
http://www.uboost.com/integrations/pbis Uboost has set up a special link on their website where PBIS schools can sign up and each teacher who signs up is given 250,000 free points they can use to give to students. The students can spend their points doing the following: