If you are looking for classroom incentives for positive behavior and effort I highly encourage you to create a Punch It! Board. It’s super easy to make and something the students in my class never tire of!
This is an incentive system that can be adapted to any classroom and great for use at home use as well.
Students who are fulfilling positive behaviors or trying their best get to “punch” the tissue paper on a cup of their choice. They tear the tissue paper away to reveal a coupon or small trinket and return the rubber band to reuse.
I began using the Punch It! Board when I was holding a Read-a-Thon in my 5th-grade classroom. As students read 10 pages they received a raffle ticket to place in a drawing. If I drew the student’s raffle ticket, he or she got to “Punch It!” for a prize. The prizes consisted of rubber bracelets, bookmarks, house points tickets, and stickers.
When I saw the enjoyment and enthusiasm of my class for the Punch It! Board, I decided to amp things up a bit. I made a new, much larger board to use as a classroom incentive board! Being a larger board, I could use it more often without having to refill the cups with prizes on a daily basis.
Supplies for creating your own board:
Constructing your board:
- glue the words, “Punch It” across the top of your foam board
- arrange your plastic cups and hot glue the bottom of each one to your board
- place your reward items inside each cup
- secure a 4x4 inch piece of tissue paper over the tops of each cup to hide your reward
Tip: I like to have a stack of 4x4 tissue paper pieces cut out ahead of time so that replacing them on the cups is quick and easy!
Rewards for your cups:
- coupons for lunch with the principal, cupcakes with the teacher, free time, etc.
- sit with a friend passes
- homework passes
- house points tickets
- trinkets like small games, bouncy balls, badges, novelty erasers, etc.
My school has a house system like the one in Harry Potter. The students work to earn points for their house. I created tickets with varied point values to place inside my cups. If you'd also like to use house points, you can download an editable version of my tickets.
The board can also be used to build relationships. Pop coupons for lunch with the principal, morning tea with the teacher or free time to get to know a new friend can be popped into the cups to nurture connection and create a sense of belonging.
Another lovely idea is to use it as a birthday board. When a student celebrates their birthday, they're allowed to punch the board to reveal a small gift.
In my classroom students are allowed to punch the board when:
- I see someone doing something kind or them supporting someone
- they're being good listeners
- a table cleans up their area first
- students do well in a review game
- they help with a classroom chore
- students use their manners
The chosen student/s come to the Punch It! Board with great excitement and punch through the tissue paper to reveal their prize!
It is such a simple concept but the kids LOVE IT!
The benefit for teachers and parents alike is that students don’t seem to tire of it and it is easy to maintain. The anticipation of the opportunity to have a turn keeps the kids eager to please. I see improvements in listening, completing assignments, working well in groups, and working to be helpful and kind to everyone!
One of the most pleasing things is how often students recognize kindness and citizenship of their classmates. Many times they will suggest that another student is given an opportunity at the board! Kids receive positive reinforcement for good choices and appropriate and desired behaviors. They look forward with excitement to what will be behind the tissue paper when they get a chance to Punch It!!
Finding an incentive that really motivates students can be difficult! With a little bit of time and money, you will reap a lot more in rewards within your classroom, not to mention the motivation for students to do their best!
AUTHOR: Amy Hassler, Year 5 teacher
After more than 20 years of teaching, I have been blessed to teach both first and fifth grade. During that time I have found a passion for classroom transformations and hands on, interactive games within the curriculum. I have been married to John for over 25 years and we have three children who are the light of my life. Finding ways to positively reinforce classroom behaviors and kindness is important to me. We are not only educating minds, but growing compassion and acceptance for others. Please follow my journey of teaching and learning on Instagram.