One Reward to Please Them All

As you all know by now, I am a very frugal person. This is something I am very proud of and not ashamed to admit it. I do not like to spend money on things unnecessarily, especially when it comes to VIPKID. I am a big proponent of using what you have (see: VIPKID on a budget) and not spending money if you don’t have to do so. I have been thinking for months about a reward that was both versatile and cheap.

I often teach multiple levels in one day, and it is not uncommon for me to go from a level 4 or 5 students down to a level 1 student the next class. This means I need to be prepared for multiple levels of student engagement and interaction each day. As we all know, a secondary reward is highly recommend by VIPKID for all levels. I really dislike having to use multiple rewards, so I was trying to think of a fun reward that I could reuse in multiple ways. Finally, I found it.

Everyone, meet my newest reward: Fish!


Yes, these fish are indeed made from paint chips that I got from Home Depot for FREE. That’s right. FREE. No money. Amazing!

I stacked them together, drew a fish on the back of the first one and cut them all at the same time. Yes, the edges are a little rigid, but you can’t see it from the camera. Then I hot-glued magnetic tape on the back so that they could stick on my whiteboard. (I initially tried without the hot glue, but the back of these fish is slippery and the magnets fell off).

Now for the big question: How can these be applied to all levels?

Lower level applications:

In a very obvious and easy way, for the lower levels, I simply give them a fish when they do a good job. A great and often easy extension is to have the student name the colour when you give it to them.

There are 7 fish, which allows the student to be rewarded a good amount in addition to the stars.

Higher level applications:

This one is a little tricker. The best higher level rewards I have is asking the student a question and having them answer in a full sentence. This helps your student/teacher talk, and it also keeps your student interested in your reward.

For the upper levels, I have all the fish on the whiteboard and ask them to pick a colour. Each fish has an ice-breaker question written on the back that the student has to answer in a full sentence.

Some examples are:

  1. What is your favourite colour?
  2. Do you have a pet?
  3. Do you have brothers or sisters?
  4. What is your favourite subject at school?
  5. Do you prefer swimming or biking?
  6. Do you have a question for me?

When I have a student multiple times a week, I use the same reward but make the questions up on the spot. This is a great way to get your students talking and to get to know them.

I love this reward for its simplicity and its ability to keep multiple age levels happy. Plus, its bright colours are extremely attractive in the classroom against my white background.

What are your favourite rewards? If you are not yet teaching with VIPKID, I would love to be your mentor. Here is a link to apply.

Happy teaching!


3 thoughts on “One Reward to Please Them All

  1. Have you ever tried to hide stars behind the fish and have the students say a number and there will either be a question or a star? Just another extension/idea of this awesome reward. THanks for sharing!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s