Printed from

Fill-in-the-Blank Reward System

This class-wide motivation tool provides constructive feedback to the entire class and allows opportunities for the class to earn a reward for positive behaviors. A word or phrase is indicated by “blanks” and displayed in the classroom. Each time the class meets a set expectation, they earn a letter or word to fill in one of the blank spaces. When all the blanks are filled in and the word or phrase is complete, the class receives a reward.

How to use

1. Decide on the word(s)

Determine the word or phrase students will need to complete in order to earn the reward. To create buy-in for the reward system, use shorter words or phrases when you first implement the system so students earn more frequent rewards. Teachers often begin with the name of the school mascot as the first Fill-in-the-Blank. Write the blanks for the word or phrase in a place that is easy to access and is always visible.

2. Decide on reward

After input and brainstorming from students, identify the reward for completing the set word or phrase. The content of the Fill-in-the-Blank and the reward can be directly related. For example, the phrase may be “Popcorn is the best snack!” and when completely filled in, the students earn a popcorn party as the reward. Other reward ideas include students being able to listen to music during group work or bring a preferred snack to eat during class. See the list at right for other suggested rewards.

3. Earn letters or words

As the class meets behavior expectations, they earn letters or words to fill in the blanks. The letters can be awarded at the teacher’s discretion—sometimes for one specific behavior or procedure (i.e. beginning the warm up on time) or for general positive classroom behaviors (i.e. everyone actively participated in the activity or discussion). A limit may be set by the teacher, for example, the class can earn one letter or word each day. In this case, it is beneficial to discuss why the class earned or failed to earn the letter/word for the day.

4. Reward

When the word or phrase is complete, students receive the pre-determined reward.

When to use

Use the Fill-in-the-Blank Reward System at any time throughout the school year. When first introducing this tool, smaller words or phrases may be used along with more frequent rewards in order to gain student interest. This tool may also be used leading up to a specific classroom activity (see Content/Activity Specific variation below).


Content/Activity Specific

The word or phrase can be directly related to the content area or a specific activity for the class. For example, students may have the opportunity in science class to participate in the creation of a classroom garden. The privilege may be earned by completing the Fill-in-the-Blank phrase, “Grow a Garden.”

Earn 'Em, Lose 'Em

Just as in the procedures listed above, the class can earn letters or words for positive behaviors that meet classroom expectations. An added element can be the risk of losing letters as well. If an expectation is not met (i.e. the entire class does not begin warm up on time), the teacher can remove a letter/word from the word or phrase that was previously earned.

Printed from