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This post outlines how to easily implement a ticket reward system for classrooms, with a focus on elementary settings. 

A ticket reward system for classrooms is a management strategy that involves granting reward tickets to students in response to observing positive and appropriate actions.

Though there seems to be an endless number of classroom management plans and strategies that you can test out with your elementary kids, the ticket reward system for classrooms is simple, efficient, and at its core promotes positive reinforcement instead of punishment. 

Step-by-step, I describe how to establish this system in your own elementary classroom so that it runs like a well-oiled machine. 

Related: To set a strong foundation for your ticket reward system, consider adopting all or some of the components of the C.H.A.M.P.S Classroom Management plan. The two strategies pair well. 

Ticket Reward System For Classrooms

Step 1: Purchase Coupons to Use With Your Ticket Reward System.

First you’ll need to purchase a double roll of raffle tickets/coupons. They’re relatively inexpensive, and you’ll receive about 2,000 tickets per roll.

Step 2: Decide which positive behaviors and actions you’ll reinforce with the ticket reward system for classrooms. 

For which behaviors and actions will learners earn tickets? 

Here are a few suggestions…

  • Being prepared and ready for the lesson
  • Submission of homework on time
  • Swiftly starting “morning work” or “bell work” without prompting
  • Lining up after recess quickly and appropriately 
  • Following instructions the first time
  • Active participation in activities/lessons
  • When working with others, maintaining an appropriate voice level
  • Putting away materials neatly without teacher prompting
  • Playing fairly at recess
  • Not participating in excess chat during learning time
  • Remaining seated and quiet during an assembly
  • Using class time wisely
  • Persevering through a challenge without complaining
  • Balanced group collaboration
  • Walking in line quietly
  • Entering classroom quietly
  • Keeping desk tidy/organized
  • Transitioning between activities without distracting others
  • High marks on assignments
  • Thoroughly reviewing assignments before submitting

Also consider giving tickets for teams winning classroom games and activities.

The actions and behaviors you choose will depend on the behavioral goals that you’d like for students to meet.  

So be sure to include actions that align with your classroom procedures, routines, and rules. 

Ideally, you and your students have been discussing and practicing what these behaviors plus actions look like/don’t look like since the beginning of the school year. 

Step 3: Brainstorm Rewards.  

What types of rewards will you have? There are several options from which to choose. 

After completing your list, assign a ticket value to the prizes. For example, you may decide that each reward is worth 3 tickets. 

Though more effort is required in tracking, you could assign rewards different ticket values depending on the popularity of each prize. 

See our big list of fun rewards for students and reward coupons for students (coming soon).

Step 4: Determine When and How Students Will Exchange Tickets for Prizes.

Decide when you’ll allow students to exchange tickets for prizes.

Every Friday at the end of the day? Once a month?

Consider the needs of your class. 

Furthermore, how will the process work?

There are two simple options: 

  • Anyone with reward tickets “pays” the correct number of tickets in order to collect a prize. It’s essentially a Ticket Economy type of reward system that uses tickets inside of “money”. OR
  • You select 3 to 5 rewards to raffle off to students. The more tickets they enter into the raffle, the better chance they have of winning one of the prizes. Discard tickets not drawn during the raffle. 

The second option is more inclusive to those learners who struggle to earn a significant amount of tickets.

Quick Tip: Whichever option you choose, I recommend that you make sure that every kid who has entered a ticket(s) into the raffle is called at least one time within a month or so.

Step 5: Discuss With Students How They Can Earn Tickets.

Review the entire ticket reward system for classrooms with learners.

Explain the specific actions and behaviors that could earn them coupons.

Within your discussion, be sure to include the following key points…

  • The teacher is able to give tickets to learners anytime she/he observes certain behaviors. 
  • To claim the ticket, students must write their names on their tickets as soon as possible. Then they’ll immediately get back to work.
  • Students are responsible for keeping track of their tickets. (Provide snack-sized Ziplock™ bags to help them keep the reward coupons organized, if you wish.)
  • Highlight on the school calendar what dates prizes will be exchanged for tickets. Whether you’ll have students “buy” prizes directly with their tickets or do a raffle, explain the process so that they know what to expect. 

Step 6: Start Using the Ticket Reward System for Classrooms.

Now it’s time to implement the system. 

Ideally, you’ll want to begin the ticket reward system in your classroom at the start of the school year or semester. 

However, as long as you explain the process clearly to students and believe that this classroom management strategy will work well for their needs, carry on. 

Keep in mind that consistency with distributing reward tickets in addition to exchanging those coupons for prizes within an established time frame are key elements for success. 

Ticket Reward System for Classrooms: Frequently Asked Questions   

1. What if I have major discipline issues with a few students?

While the objective of the ticket reward system for classrooms is to reinforce positive behaviors, no system will eliminate 100% of your discipline problems.

Remain in constant contact with guardians of students who are challenging. Also keep good documentation of all communication.                                                       

2. How many tickets may students earn in a day?

There is no limit to how many coupons students may earn in a day or week’s time.   

For those learners who struggle to earn many organically, consider at times distributing tickets to the whole class for a job well done with a certain activity or lesson.    

3. Is there an easy way to incorporate whole class prizes?

To work smarter, you could simply award your class a whole class award for performing a specific activity or lesson well.

The given prize doesn’t have to be dependent on students’ possessing any tickets at all.

For ideas, take a look at our student-approved list of whole class rewards

4. What are the advantages of using a ticket reward system in my classroom?

  • There is a strong focus on positive reinforcement.
  • Students are not negatively affected by others’ poor choices. They earn tickets based on their behavior.
  • There is no need for you (or students) to keep track of time-consuming classroom management forms for each student.
  • You have flexibility in the types of awards you can offer.
  • Each day is a new opportunity for students to turn over a new leaf. Every day, learners have the potential to earn tickets.
  • Depending on the types of rewards/prizes you offer, students respond very well to this ticket reward system for classrooms!

Wrapping Up: Ticket Reward System For Classrooms

If you’re looking for a classroom management plan that focuses on positive reinforcement instead of punishment, then the ticket reward system for classrooms is definitely worth a try.

You’ll extrinsically motivate your elementary kids to choose appropriate behaviors, and they’ll earn rewards for doing so!

For other suggestions in implementing this fun behavior management plan, please share in the comments below.