Putting it all together

Hi Rachel,

Of course, I would be happy to write out a quick summary for you. Thanks for asking!

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First, please don’t worry. It is perfectly normal to be overwhelmed.


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Here are some links you may find useful:

How to find the child’s interest

What rewards can you buy to save money?

If you can only buy one reward, what do you buy?

Here are some answers to your other questions:

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Where do you store your rewards?


I store all of my rewards in the same place I store my teaching props.

You can get one of your own here (non-affiliated link)

Number pocket chart

Main points of rewards:

  • Start with one reward, you don’t have to buy a ton of toys
  • Use rewards to teach a concept
  • Rewards can be adapted to students age, gender, English language level and interests (see this blog post for more information)
  • STREAMLINE (see this blog post for more information)
  • How and when to reward is based on timing and goals you are working on

A word on rewards not being linked to smiling and laughing…

Typically, when we think about rewards, we think YAHOO! We think of presents.

But rewards in the classroom, work a little bit different. The word becomes a jargon word. 

The reward is neutral. What has been attached the word ‘reward’ is complex.



There is an ongoing trend right now in ESL classrooms, that every 5 minutes you give a reward. By the end of 25 minutes, you have given rewards and kept their interest and have “done what you are supposed to do”. 

Additionally, there is an idea that the rewards don’t mean anything to the children. This is ONLY TRUE if you DO IT WRONG. 

There is an appeal to only give rewards at the END of a slide or task. This does not make sense, and will not keep the children ENGAGED in your reward. 

As you can see above, a reward is neutral and that is about 20% of the complex system. It does matter that it is kept neutral, but it’s as equal in value to two other portions of the system.

Timing matters

A child struggles and struggles with the concept of reading silent e words. He has the following short paragraph to read.

“We need eggs. We need to go to the store. Will you go to the store?”

When does it make the most sense to send him a star? At the end of the sentence? Your child is a struggling English language learner.

YES, you can for sure make it easy to understand (circle store, thumbs up and give a star). OR you can make it exciting!!!

We need eggs.  (sit and listen)

We need to go to the store (reads it right).

WOOOOOOOW *BING!**** give a star and celebrate with a fist bump.

(underline the next sentence. Smile with your thumbs up, showing you believe in him). He confidently finishes the paragraph. “Will you go to the store?” saying it again correctly. 

High five. Circle both the words store, and nod firmly. HE DID IT! 

Timing. Matters.

A child laughing, smiling and engaged often comes from feeling comfortable. Feeling successful. And feeling like they are succeeding. Using your reward system may not bring out a smile in him DURING the reward. But you will certainly gain more smiles and laughs DURING THE LESSON if the reward system is done well. 



Work Smart Not Hard

Hello Rachel,

What a long day huh? Getting ready to bring your kids to soccer practice tonight, you have a load of laundry, a pile of dishes and have no idea what is for dinner still left on your to-do list… and…  you just want sleep.

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Thank you for reaching out to me for help! I want to help you with your questions on how to tailor to the child using the rewards you have.



Let’s take what you know about rewards from the last 2 conversations and make your life easier. Let’s work smart, not hard, ok? (*and inexpensive, not expensive)

This is your checklist:

  1. Choose whichever reward you want

Pretty easy huh? (*Yes I know. Not correct as a list is 2 or more- usually 3 or more. But I wanted a smile out of you. So much stress… relaaaax).

The reward you choose for the day should fit all kids. I talked about using rewards that are gender, age, and interest neutral. That is because you use the child’s motivation to tailor it. You could use emoji’s, easter eggs, stackable numbers, etc. It doesn’t really matter the prop, as its neutral.

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Here is the formula I use to do what I call streamlining.

You are going to identify what the goal for your child is. This is your focus area of the lesson. This does not replace the lesson objective, but it does make the lesson more student-specific. For example, I have students who come in already knowing all the material and vocabulary. The lesson objective is to teach the vocabulary. Well, that lesson is a bit a waste of time then. So I may focus on pronunciation.

Some other areas you may focus on:

Does he have a hard time staying focused?

Can he not remember vocabulary very well?

Do you need to help him speed up his reading?

What is your child’s goal in the classroom?

When they do one of the things above they are struggling with (or whichever you chose for them) that is when you will give the reward.

Next, you have spent time with this child. What have you found were his interests?

  • Sound effects?
  • Dressing up?
  • Disney Princess’?
  • Football (soccer)?
  • Movement (jumping, sitting, running)?
  • Singing?
  • Deserts?

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Here is a video explaining how to combine the reward and goals


I wanted to also cover one other area. What if you have never met the student coming into class? And there are zero teacher notes, so essentially you are going in blind?

Every student I have can usually fall into one of these catagories for goals:

Pronunciation, reading, receptive comprehension or expressive English challenges.

Here are quick things you can test to see what gets them looking closer or more interested in your lessons: props, sound effects, questions, using the chatbox

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Here is a case study that may help you with a brand new studen you have never taught before:

Child: 12 year old boy, Carl who speaks great English, advanced for level 3

Reward: Emojis

Goal: Reading

Motivation: Writing in the chat box

How to reward him: Each time he reads the slide 80% or better you remove an emoji and the boy answers the question under the emoji in the chatbox.



Hope that was helpful to you in helping you to tailor the rewards.



Teacher Rebecca


Classroom Reward System

Let’s face it, all teachers want reward systems for kids that are appealing. We also do not want our entire work area to be full of toys and clutter.
Let me show you how to use one reward system for students that adapt to age of the child and level of English. Let your students learn through reinforcement that is likeable.
Here is a video that will show this in more detail. Click here


In our next video, we will discuss how to take the rewards you do have; and combine them to make new secondary rewards with little to no effort… see you soon.


Buy these here:

Wooden Numbers- Click here: The ones I have are from a swap shop, so I am unsure who made them. But these would work great! (non-affiliated)


Resources that may be of interest to you:

The Only Secondary Rewards You Will Ever Need!

Reward the kids and keep your sanity


Have questions? Please comment below


Stop spending! Start saving on your reward system!

YOU JUST GOT HIRED… YAHOO MONEY! But oh yea… bills. Reward systems for online students can be tricky! And they can become expensive…fast!

You just checked your schedule. For your upcoming classes you have:

A 12 year old boy

3 year old girl who is supposed to be 5

8 year old girl

…and holy smokes! A 9 year old boy who lives in Florida, speaks perfect English and is in level 2.

How the heck do you buy rewards for all of your students with $5.00 remaining “spending money” you have allotted yourself? And never mind they have booked you 3 times this week…this is unsustainable.

Sound familiar? Then lets talk….

The only rewards you will need for this profession are listed below.

(*For your $5 for this month- please click here to my previous post.)



These can be adapted to age, stage, gender and level. They can also be combined (post coming soon) to make more rewards when needed, with very little time or effort. Most can be bought at the Dollar store or printed off of google images.

Where to buy/print them off 

(I am not affiliated with any of these stores/links/companies)

Bugs: I bought mine at the dollar store in a package. You can also buy them at Walmart, Target or Amazon: Bugs  

Sea animals: I bought mine at the dollar store in a package. You can also buy them at Walmart, Target or Amazon: Sea animals

Puzzle: I bought mine at Walmart, but you can also buy it here at ibuyofficesupply: puzzles

Balancing toy: This is a popular one among kids: Balancing toy

Easter Eggs: Dollar store, party stores, walmart, target, gas stations… anywhere…. or here 🙂 Easter eggs

Wooden number balancing toy: The ones I have are from a swap shop, so I am unsure who made them. But these would work great! wooden numbers

Melisa and Doug Birthday cake/reward: Melisa and Doug have several different birthday cakes. You can buy them all over. Walmart, Target, Barnes and Noble… or here: birthday cake

Smiley faces: these are great! If there is only one reward you can buy- get these smiley faces

Money: I did not feel it important to have a lot of money. 1 of each bill, so I borrowed one of each of my children’s bills. Dollar stores have play money, as well as Walmart and Target. Or you can buy it here:play money

Calculator: Dollar store, Walmart, Target, Office store or here: Calculator


For the following 3 games, this is what you will do: Cars Auto shop, Funny person, Habitat with animals (*I will be making some PDF’s to print out soon) . You will be printing out open sourced (not copyrighted) images from google. It is important you type in “coloring page” and NOT printable… as that is different.

Cars Auto shop, Funny person, Habitat with animals

1. Go to www.google.com

2. Type in:

– Cars movie coloring page

– Body coloring page (separate body parts: head coloring page, hands coloring page, feet coloring page, eyes coloring page, nose coloring page, mouth coloring page, hair coloring page)

– Nest coloring page, beehive coloring page, house coloring page, barn coloring page (type in each as a separate search)

3. Print them out

4. Laminate them *OR* what I did… use clear packing tape, and tape them 🙂 works the same.

5. You can also choose NOT to color them – or print another set. This can be used for an additional reward. Color each part of the barn each time they do something awesome. (*use dry erase markers).


Resources you may find of interest:

How to adapt 1 reward for several levels and ages

What to use your $5 on this month

How to begin organizing your daily life



Have questions? Please comment below


Reward the Kids and Keep your Sanity

So you have been hired, and you learn about this new thing… secondary rewards. And then your brain goes *EXPLOSION* Are you kidding?!  How am I supposed to please and entertain every single child between the ages of 4 and 12 both masculine individuals and feminine and of all interests???? …. *breathe, breathe, breathe*

Well, that’s a good question.  So here’s the short answer:

Get 1 reward… this one.

These last FOREVER, hold up great, and have better graphics than most magnetic emojis that I have seen (and previously bought). I have taught over 2,000 classes with these.

Yes they are used but… great condition overall! They are more diverse than the $0.99 ones (*I did those first on Amazon), and my kids respond WAY BETTER to these! They are also easier to see in the camera since they are brighter, and have more diverse emotions.  All ages, stages, and genders have loved them without fail (*Pretty good average eh?).


BUT… are you like me? Do you get bored easily and teach a million classes? Do you need diversity because you have the same kids day after day? Kids that take 3 or 4 classes per week, and the same reward is not cutting it? Well then, you are in the same camp as me…. and stay tuned for the next few posts we will explore:

  1. How to use minimal rewards for maximum interest
  2. How to combine the rewards to make more, quickly easily and for free
  3. How to have infinite reward ideas at your disposal
  4. Special rewards for birthdays and holidays with little or no effort
  5. How to create your own on the spot
  6. Break them down per age and teaching level, and how to adapt to the student when needed


Want to buy these? (non-affiliated… I just really love the product!): Magnetic emojis


Resources that may be of interest to you:

Start organizing your day

Adapting the reward system you have

Stop spending! Start saving on your reward system!


Have questions? Please comment below


Organizational Mangagement



How to organize yourself? How to organize for school? How to organize for work? How to stay organized? How to organize homeschooling? How to organize your kitchen? How to organize the kids toys? How to organize art supplies? How to organize….

The questions are endless! How to organize___________(fill in the blank)

TIME. Use this time to get organized.

STEP 1: Calendar. You cannot organize anything, unless you have a fluid day.

You need to know what you are already doing. Get out a piece of paper.

  1. Where do you go on Sundays?  What time do you need to be there?
  2. Where do you go on Mondays? What time do you need to be there?
  3. Where do you go on Tuesdays? What time do you need to be there?
  4. Where do you go on Wednesdays? What time do you need to be there?
  5. Where do you go on Thursdays? What time do you need to be there?
  6. Where do you go on Fridays? What time do you need to be there?
  7. Where do you go on Saturdays? What time do you need to be there?

STEP 2: Get your calendar. Write in those appointments.

STEP 3: Read my next blog post on scheduling when to organize your cleaning schedule.



Have questions? Please comment below