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In a perfect world, all students would be intrinsically motivated to learn. The acquisition of knowledge would be reason enough for children to go to school, and the achievement of academic success would be the only incentive required to keep them there -- alert, interested, and involved. In a perfect world.

The real world, of course, bears little resemblance to perfection. In your classroom, some students probably are unmotivated and uninterested most of the time; most students certainly are unmotivated and uninterested some of the time. Most likely, some extrinsic motivation -- in the form of rewards -- is required all of the time.

The Education World articles below explore the subject of classroom rewards and offer teacher and expert suggestions for getting the most bang for your motivational buck.

Learn More About Rewards that Motivate

Explore these Education World articles to learn about some of the incentives -- both tangible and intangible -- that teachers use to reward students for good behavior and academic effort.

School-Wide Rewards Improve Behavior, Boost Achievement
Many schools use rewards as one part of their school-wide effort to boost student achievement and test scores. Others reward attendance, behavior, attributes of student character, homework completion, or other pieces of the “student achievement puzzle.”

Classroom Rewards Reap Dividends for Teachers and Students
All teachers prefer to rely on students' intrinsic motivation to encourage them to come to school, do their homework, and focus on classroom activities, but many supplement the internal drive to succeed with external rewards. The teachers say rewards can help kids master the expectations of acceptable classroom behavior and scholastic achievement. Included: Ten tips for using rewards in the classroom.

Wanted: Rewards, Rewards, and More Rewards
Do rewards motivate students? Some say no, but many teachers think they do. Education World takes a look at a wide variety of rewards used by teachers in the classroom. If you are looking for a way to reward students for good behavior or academic effort, you might find the ticket here.

Reward Systems That Work: What to Give and When to Give It
Read about four teachers' ways of rewarding students' good behavior and motivation. Learn what to give and when and how you can encourage students to improve. Included: 35 reasonable rewards.

Carrots or Sticks? Alfie Kohn on Rewards and Punishment
Former teacher Alfie Kohn is an outspoken critic of the focus on grades and test scores. In an exclusive e-interview with Education World writer Cara Bafile, Kohn shares his views on classroom rewards and punishment and talks about how teachers can encourage intrinsic motivation. He also tackles the tough topics -- standards, accountability, and high-stakes testing.

99 Ways to Say 'Very Good'
Start off the new year on the right foot. Choose -- and use -- one of these 99+ ways to say "Very Good" to your students.

The Power of Written Praise
Being roused from a sound sleep by one of your students' parents can be a rude awakening. But in one recent case it got educator Max Fischer reflecting about the power of written praise to raise student achievement. Included: Six reasons to put praise for students in writing.

30 Ways to Show Students You Care
Marty Kirschen has developed a caring corner on the Web. His Web site, Caring Education, and his free Learning Through Our Hearts e-mail newsletter offer caring teachers a forum for connecting and networking. Education World talked with Kirschen about his goals and plans for this online "caring community." Included: A sampling of 30 ways teachers can show they care from a recent edition of Learning Through Our Hearts.

High School Kids Featured on Trading Cards
High school kids in Wildwood, New Jersey, don't have to make it to the pros to make it onto a trading card. Good grades, good character, and community and school service can get their photo and statistics on a trading card -- which are given as rewards to elementary and middle school students. Young kids who earn five cards get a free lunch. Included: A description of how to set up a trading card program.

Brag Phone Calls
Too often, parent-teacher communication is about the negative things students do. Many teachers see the value in calling parents to report good news as well. Teacher Donna Kelly believes in the power of "brag phone calls," but she lets her students make those calls.