So you have your mock class scheduled. You’re prepping your materials. But heck…. what are you going to do for rewards. They want you to add teeth to a smiley face, or chase a game piece up a ladder onto a helicopter. Well the smiley face seems awfully cheesy… even for a five year old. How in the world are you going to display the helicopter thing? Didn’t it say to keep your reward visible?
What do you do? When I was doing my interview and mock classes, I didn’t want to spend too much money on a job I might not get. There’s a saying that says “you have to spend money to make money”. And maybe that’s true for some things, but I’m cheap. I don’t want to spend too much, especially if I don’t even have the job yet.
Your Printer is Your Friend
My very first reward system (that I did actually use in my mock classes) were printed coloring pages that I’d colored and put in a picture frame. I could use the glass as a whiteboard. I could remove tape and sticky tack easily. It was perfect. I used this for a very long time.
These are a great, cheap, effective reward system that you can make your own. My students and I gave bananas to a monkey. We filled buckets with fish. We collected alphabet letters.
It’s a little basic, but my students enjoyed it, and it was an effective motivator when I first got started.
Legos are International
The first problem I ran into with the printed reward system was that it was less effective with my middle and upper level boys. I tried Pokemon, but it didn’t work for me. I had an awesome regular who liked to give teacher rewards. He loved Legos! I started using little Lego sets like this in some of my other classes and they were great! The hardest part of this reward was keeping my own children out of the pieces.
I love stickers. There are so many cute options for both boys and girls. You can tailor them to a lesson – cars, animals, and clothing have been some of my most successful, lesson-specific rewards. You can really do almost anything – pirates, princesses, space craft. The options are limitless. You can print coloring pages and put them in picture frames for a back drop, or you can draw scenes on a whiteboard. I put magnets on the back of my stickers for easy clean-up.
I am a terrible artist, but Pinterest has some great easy tutorials. I have one student who is obsessed with Spider Man. He wears Spider Man p.j.s to almost every class. I found a great tutorial here, and he loved it. I also used a Zootopia breakdown for Easter that was a huge hit. I like this option because I can really tailor it to the student. There are animals, characters, and lots of other ideas on Pinterest.
This is by far my favorite option right now. I found amazing 12-piece puzzles at the Dollar Tree and put magnets on the back. You can get large packs of them online, but there are some great options on Amazon too. Melissa and Doug have a great line of 12-piece kids’ puzzles. You can find lots of toddler puzzles that can be used for these kinds of reward systems as well. Get a little magnetic tape, and it’s
easy to display them during class.
These options will help you be more original in your mock classes. VIPKID cannot require us to use these reward systems, but they ask us to use them to improve our classes. Reward systems do not have to be time consuming or difficult. They don’t even have to take a lot of time in class. My students are much happier with extra rewards in class. They enjoy the game.