10 Virtual PBIS Rewards That Motivate Students During Distance Learning


School as we know it has changed for an indefinite period of time. For educators who started distance learning for the first time at the start of the global pandemic, there was a huge learning curve. This forced teachers to regroup on their lesson plans, and determine what would be the easiest and most engaging way for students to connect with the teacher while facilitating effective learning experiences. 

As schools and families prepare to begin a new school year, they are still solidifying the learning modalities that will best serve their students. Technology has become a critical part of learning for students and families. As a result, the use of technology will allow for teachers to create virtual learning spaces that represent their previous learning environment in the best way possible. 

→ Manage your school culture programs via distance and remote learning, check out our PBIS Playbook and PBIS Behavior Tracking Template

I connected with a group of teachers and learned that there are some key parts of the classroom experience that educators would like to see transfer to the virtual learning space. In talking to these teachers, I realized that the major theme for each of them focused on ways to increase the digital learning experience by leveraging the PBIS framework. 

10 Virtual PBIS Rewards That Motivate Students During Distance Learning

 Student Work on Display

Teachers can encourage students to be creative when they have down time or even make time during class to do something special. As a reward the teacher could use the drawings as the background of their screens (via zoom) or show them off as images at the start of class.

 Leadership Roles

If the platform used for instruction has a chat feature, students can be assigned to monitoring roles throughout the learning period. Students could also choose the virtual background that day or monitor the video for raised hands or claps. Rotate the roles in the virtual classroom to give all students the opportunity to lead.

 Virtual Experiences

Students always love field trips. In this new environment your class can leverage these experiences virtually. Students can choose the adventure and in some cases do their research to lead the virtual field trip. This virtual experience also can serve as supplemental learning to content. Virtual tours, galleries, traveling experiences open up students to new ideas and activities.

 Themed Days

Rewarding students with opportunities for self-expression is much needed during this time of transition. Teachers can set up times or days where there are themes related to the curriculum or have students pick themes, which encourages creativity. Themed days also allow students to engage differently with their classmates by evoking questions and conversations.

 Extra Meeting Time

For students who benefit from 1:1 interactions with teachers or their classmates, scheduling extra meeting time is a great incentive. You can set this up as a snack time or coffee meeting to check in and talk about things the student is interested in. This time would be similar to having lunch with the student or having them stay after for a special chat. 

 Class Talent Show

With all of the time students have at home, encourage them to use it to practice their talents. As a privilege for the students the teacher can host a talent show. This can be both a fun and inviting activity for students and families.

 Point Systems

Teachers can use a point system to encourage students to participate. Points earned can unlock different levels of rewards for students. The incentives could be small interactive moments like jokes, a fun period during the day or even a group reward. 

 Recognition Displays

Although students are not walking down the hallways of their school, there are spaces to include public displays for students with good grades or acknowledgements. For example, if you are using a platform like Schoology you can set up class displays with community boards to acknowledge some of the student’s work or use the Kickboard Leaderboard to celebrate behavior.

 Learning Games

Students will be on their computer more than normal and it is always fun to make that time interesting. For example, use games to complete lessons or web games to reiterate concepts to motivate students throughout the day. When choosing a web based game confirm its compatibility with your platform, as ease of use for students is important.

 Badge Systems

As students come to virtual class and participate, reward them with badges. This could be something that they wear each day or something on display on their background screens. These will motivate students to set goals and work towards meeting them. 

Rewards systems for students are just as necessary in the virtual learning space as they are in the in-person classroom environment. Motivating students is still important as they are adjusting to the new environment. As you think about setting up your classroom, you can check out ways to Create a Remote & Hybrid PBIS program Calendar to provide some consistency for students. As teachers continue to work toward a safe and fun learning environment, the rewards and recognition system will supplement their efforts and motivate the students.