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18 PBIS Incentives for Middle School Students

5 Min Read
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As an educator, you know how important Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) can be to improve student behavior. We previously looked at ways that you can offer tangible PBIS rewards to your students. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at PBIS ideas for middle school. 

As a middle school teacher for over 10 years, I know this age group has its own particularities. For example, a sticker chart might not be motivating for a middle schooler. So, it’s important to create incentives based on your students’ interests. Coming up with ideas can take time, but this extensive list of PBIS incentives for middle school students will save you from doing it all yourself. 

Practical PBIS Rewards Ideas for Middle School 

1.  Seat of choice for the day

Why give your middle school students the opportunity to earn their seat of choice for the day? The behavioral motivation will skyrocket knowing they can pick where they’d like to sit.

2 Earned school dance

Oh, the memories of middle school dances spent box stepping to All-4-One’s “I Swear.” A bit has changed since then — but middle schoolers still love school dances! So why not let your kids earn one? Make it class goal and have students earn a dance based on behavioral points.

3. Gum chewing privileges

I’ll bet your students wish they could chew gum in class. Why not give them an opportunity to earn this privilege? Allow your students to chew gum for a day or a week in class — your choice. This middle school PBIS incentive will stick and pop.

4. Next assignment pick

Students crave agency over their learning. So why not let them pick the next assignment? You’ll need to have guidelines in place, like providing them with a list of options they can choose from. They’ll be happy to earn more control over what they’re learning.

5. Mentoring opportunities

Middle schoolers are often eager to help. Create an incentive that allows a middle school student to mentor a younger student. This could include students helping a younger learner with read or do their homework.  

6. Outdoor class activity 

Kids like to work outside. Allow a student to choose an outdoor activity, or let your entire class earn a day of lectures outside.

7. Extra recess

An incentive that allows students to blow off steam is always a winner (and has been for years).

8. Brain break activities

For a reward idea that’s easy as pie, let your middle school students choose the next brain break. Your students will learn more and enjoy class if you allow them to rest.

9. Hall monitor

Middle schoolers enjoy responsibilities, and being a hall monitor is one way for students to take on a new responsibility. Even if you don’t have a school monitor system in place, you could choose one student to earn the job for a week.

10. Locker switch

You probably have a few empty lockers in your school. If so, let the kids know those unused lockers are up for grabs for a locker-switch incentive!

11. Extra computer time

Middle school students love technology, so why not allow them to earn extra computer time? Of course, you’ll need to set guidelines, but the opportunity to hop online for a few more minutes will have the kiddos quiet in no time. 

12. Themed dress up day

Give students the chance to earn a themed dress up day of choice. Maybe students will pick a pajama day or a crazy hair day. The opportunities are endless! 

13. Drop a quiz grade

Students care about their grades. But life happens, and one way or another, a student may end up doing more poorly on a quiz than they should have. Give your students an opportunity to drop their lowest test score, and they’ll jump for joy! 

14. Class party

Give your class an incentive for a party and watch them pull together to make it work. They can chill out and listen to some tunes. 

15. Teacher’s helper

The term “teacher’s helper” sounds important enough as it is — make it official! Allow students to become your trusty aide. They can hand out papers, choose the music at the beginning of class, erase the board. This may sound like a lot of work to you, but to a middle school student, it’s an opportunity to move around during the day and act like an adult.

16. School supplies

Have a box full of school supplies for easy and quick incentives. Examples include pencils, erasers, scissors, and anything else that your students constantly need. 

17. First one to leave

Students are excited at the end of the school day and may have trouble getting through the crowded halls. What if you offered a PBIS incentive for them to be the first one to leave that day? 

18. Choose the next book

This sounds like an incentive just for English teachers, but it’s not. Let kids earn the next book to read — within reason, of course. This PBIS award could work in any subject. For math, offer the option to read biographies of mathematicians: they earn the right to pick.

Make Behavioral Learning Fun with PBIS Ideas for Middle School

Make behavioral learning fun by using one (or more!) of these PBIS reward ideas for middle school students. Good luck on your PBIS journey! 

This article was adapted from a blog post initially developed by the education technology company Classcraft, which was acquired by HMH in 2023. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of HMH.


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