Stickers are a classic prize for many different ages of students. For older students, you can use simple stickers that fill up a sheet. When the sheet is full you can give a bigger prize (such as getting to choose a game, one night without homework, etc.)
I personally recommend stickers that are:
- Equal or similar in size (unless you give them different values)
- Stickers that help practice extra English (colors, animals, etc)
My procedure: (Part of my class time, NOT an extra 10 minutes after class)
Have the students line up against an empty wall/or standing on the floor stickers.
Count their points (discuss why some students might have more or fewer points than others)
I give 1 sticker per 5 points, so they can usually earn 1 sticker easily and 2 stickers if they are exceptional.
Spend 10-15 seconds with each student asking a few questions (about the stickers) and making sure they say thanks!
Also, don't forget that while giving stickers to students you can practice even more English such as:
- Which one do you want/like? (Be consistent with your question)
- Do you like this one? No, I don't. I like this one. (practice negatives)
- Ask them "Where do you want the sticker?" to practice body parts... If they are at a low level say, "Do you want it on your hand or nose/head/ear/etc." then help them answer in a complete sentence.
- Don't let them fully have it until you've said "Here you go/are." and they reply "Thank you." (manners are nice!)
**If you have an indecisive student, count slowly down from 5, if they still can't choose, ask them to go to the back of the line and think while the others continue
**If you have a student that thinks stickers are UGLY, STUPID or CHILDISH, just smile, agree, nod, and don't give them a sticker. Usually, after seeing all the other classmates get them, they will like it because it now represents "belonging"
**After they've learned basic vocabulary about the stickers, then I switch it up by giving them stickers I KNOW they don't like (for example, pink super girly stickers to boys, or trucks to boys) and then tell them they can change with their classmates by asking politely "May I change with you?/Sure/No thanks."
PARENTS will be very concerned if their student doesn't get a sticker as they see this as a "grade" for their behavior or English level. Make sure parents know what/when/why you give rewards in your class!
BONUS: After 1 or 2 classes, do this procedure in front of the parents waiting, because parents LOVE to see their kids speaking English, and nothing makes kids open their mouths faster than getting a reward!