Incentives for Good Behavior and Staying On Task for Middle School Students

As children grow older, we often assume that small rewards won’t suffice, especially during the middle school years. Contrary to that belief, however, middle school-aged kids sill love being rewarded for their ability to behave and stay on task—although the type of rewards change just a bit. What follows is a list of some incentives that middle school teachers can use to encourage these behavioral expectations.

Board Games

Using some down time after instruction and assignments have been completed can be a wonderful incentive to keep students behaving and on task. Whether you choose to use educational board games linked to your curriculum or other strategic games, the skills used and educational value are quite beneficial to students’ cognitive and reasoning abilities. Playing quality games to develop skills is a great use of time for students of all ages.

Structured Computer Time

Computer time is something students will always work for, regardless of what they are allowed to do once they log on. Put together a list of appropriate sites that are relevant to your particular content area that includes informational sites as well as sites that feature curriculum-based games. This is one treat they will certainly look forward to if they have been on their best behavior and completed all of their work.

Library Passes

Once the work is done, allow students to visit the school library. When they are allowed to change the scenery for even a few minutes to get a new book to read, students will appreciate the respite. Encouraging them to read or browse the library is beneficial to students in many ways and keeps them going back outside of structured class library visits. Make sure this reward is okay with your school librarian and work out the details ahead of time.

Alternate Seating Choices

Middle schoolers like to be able to move about from time to time, as any middle school teacher will tell you. That said, allow well-behaved students to find their own place to sit during silent reading time or journaling. Whether it’s on the floor, a special couch in your classroom, or a simple area rug, your students will appreciate being able to change things up from time to time. As long as they stay on task, it doesn’t really matter where or how they sit as long as it’s safe.

This post was contributed by Courtney Phillips, who writes about the online BA degree. She welcomes your feedback at CourtneyPhillips80 at

2 thoughts on “Incentives for Good Behavior and Staying On Task for Middle School Students”

  1. klkatz

    all great ideas. You could also allow them to look ahead in their books and come up with their own way teaching the class the new content.

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