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Student Incentives for Virtual Learning

Incentives have always been a great way to motivate students to complete lessons in the classroom. Thankfully, they can work just as well for virtual learning!

The only difference is that the type of incentives needs to change slightly to accommodate the distance learning aspect.

If you are struggling to figure out what type of student incentives to use in your virtual classroom this year, look no further. We have compiled a list of some of the very best virtual learning student incentives below to take the guesswork out of what to use and when.

As always, the incentives that will be best are the ones that work for your students and your school’s situation. Use your discretion and then have fun watching your students soar!


The Best Student Incentives for Virtual Learning

Funny Video Clip Breaks

Laughter is definitely the best medicine during these challenging times, so it is no wonder that playing a funny video clip as a student incentive can have such an impact.

Compile a list of funny, kid-friendly, school-approved video clips that your students will enjoy and use them as a reward for work completion, staying on task, participating in discussions, and more.

It gives students something to look forward to, work towards, and laugh at in the end.

Choose the Class Mascot or Pet of the Week

There is power in choice, and when students can work towards choosing the class mascot or pet for the week, it gives them a sense of control in a situation that is very much out of their control.

Use different clip art characters to represent a class mascot or pet and allow students to choose which one will be showcased in class for the following week.

If a week is too long, have a different one each day.

Pick the Teacher’s Zoom Background

Where will your students send you today? Give them the incentive to choose what type of background will be on your Zoom classroom meeting screen.

You can use a preset list of ones that you do not mind using or allow them to design or find a background that is school appropriate.

Snail Mail

Sometimes the best incentive of all is a personalized note through snail mail. If you have the time, allow students to select a letter through the mail from you to them as an incentive.

You can include a short note and some cute stickers to brighten up their day. That personal connection means a lot and can be a huge incentive for students to complete their work and stay on task.

Virtual Dance Party

As a class incentive, a virtual dance party at the end of the week is a great treat! Allow students to choose a 5-10 minute dance party on Zoom as a no-cost, super fun mood-boosting experience.

Play some of your favorite upbeat, school-appropriate music and encourage students to dance to the music at home. Old classics like The Hokey Pokey and The Electric Slide are a ton of fun to do together as a class – especially virtually!

Student incentives while distance teaching do not have to be expensive or outrageous. They are more about giving students a choice and power in an otherwise powerless situation. The incentives encourage connection, fun, and laughter – something that all students need no matter where they are learning.

What incentives are your students enjoying during distance learning? Leave a comment or join the conversation in the VIP Facebook Group!


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I'm a special education teacher, presenter, curriculum writer, and educational blogger behind Mrs. D's Corner.
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