50 Positive Reinforcements for the Art Room

These ideas are free. They don’t take much time. None of them involve candy, art parties or taking away from instruction, but they are powerful ways you can reinforce positive behavior in the art room for either individual students or the whole group.  It’s amazing how a positive reinforcement (versus a negative consequence), no matter how small, can make a difference in a child’s motivation and work habits in the art room. Choose from the menu below and add these ideas to your arsenal of classroom management tricks. 

50 Positive Ways to Acknowledge and Reward Students in the Art Room

  1. Student can assist the custodian in the art room
  2. Teacher can choose a student to read the announcements with any art news
  3. Teacher can choose a student to be a helper or art assistant in another art classroom at a different grade level
  4. Recognize a student during the announcements by hearing his or her name
  5. Be the first one in line
  6. One person is able to “Check the Line” and send talking students to the back
  7. Be the leader of a class game
  8. Be the teacher’s helper for the day
  9. Student can borrow and use the Principal’s chair for the entire art class
  10. Choose a book for the teacher to read aloud to the class
  11. Choose music for the class to listen to while they work
  12. Help the teacher design the bulletin board
  13. Help the teachers choose the artwork for display
  14. Allow a group of students to draw on the whiteboard
  15. Earn “star student” status – Send home a di-cut star to students
  16. Earn some computer time
  17. Student can email their parent at work to share successes
  18. Work outdoors on a drawing or art project
  19. Eat lunch with the art teachers or principal
  20. Enjoy a positive visit with the principal
  21. Invite the principal in for an art game at the end of class
  22. Get 5 minutes of free choice time at the end of art
  23. Get a drink from the water fountain in the teachers’ lounge
  24. Get to take a break and go for a walk in the hallway
  25. Go to the library and select an art book to read
  26. Check out a special art supply from the art teacher to take home and use
  27. Keep a stuffed animal at the table with them
  28. Keep the class mascot at the table with them
  29. Have the art teacher make a positive call home
  30. Choose a student to make deliveries to the office
  31. Allow the class to listen to music with a headset while they work
  32. One student can operate the remote for a power point lesson
  33. One student can operate the remote for the video or DVD
  34. Allow a student to demonstrate how to do an art skill under the document camera (elmo)
  35. Become an art assistant and get to say back 5 minutes later and help clean up
  36. Receive a chat break at the end of class
  37. Receive a note home with positive feedback
  38. Work displayed on a special easel in the art room
  39. Allow one student to sit at the teachers desk for the entire art class
  40. Use the teacher’s chair for one art class at the table.
  41. Get to change seats for one art class- student choice!
  42. Teach the class a favorite art game
  43. Draw with a special tool for the day
  44. Become the sink manager and help students with clean up
  45. Show and tell your artwork from home
  46. The whole class can wear slippers during art class
  47. Allowed to use a box of “Brand New” unopened crayons
  48. Share their artwork progress with the whole class at the end of art
  49. Allowed to use clay during recess time as an extra art activity
  50. Earn a sticker or fun pencil

What else would you add to the list to reinforce positive behavior in the art room?

Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is the Founder and President at AOE. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.


  • Ktemple

    Great ideas here!

  • Anon

    Great ideas to share with!  I liked how you provided other wonderful incentives other than the old treasure box!  What do you mean by “chat break” #36?  I’m working on the voice level in my art class but students tend to think that they could chat outloud just because art is a fairly unstructured class time!

    • Chat break, meaning, clean up early, and for the last 5 minutes students can just chat as a reward. Perhaps this could come after 5 minutes of “silent art”? 

  • Elisabeth

    Great Suggestions!  I love to encourage my students to be the Best they can Be…and listen to hear and follow Art directions.  I am not a Fan of the clapping and repeat attention getter Teachers like to use.  Like you…I like to use the Fun interactive rewards…and the students Love them too.  Thank you for a few more for my classroom management. 

  • Paddylarsen

    Some very good ideas.  I like allowing the student to change seats for an art class.  I always give an “art star” certificate to one student who gets to line up 1st with their table.

  • Pingback: Gaining Support From Classroom Teachers | The Art of Ed()

  • Vickie

    If there are windows in the classroom, crayola has window crayon/marker sticks for glass and a fun and ever changing reward would be to let the students recognized for the week to create a piece of art on the windows that change through-out the year. Gets your students art work viewed and allows them to see art that ever changes. Easy clean up and a great self esteem booster.

    • Great idea, thanks for sharing! I need to get a set of those.

  • What about whole class rewards?

  • hhhart

    I give a “smartest artist” award at the end of each class to one student.  (I choose this person when we line up, it always makes for very quiet clean up and dismissal from the art room.)  I used to have a self-inking stamp made by the office supply store, but then the school started buying me real ribbons, with gold embossed letters to hand out!  The kids love them!  The music teacher joined in, giving a “music maestro” award, and the dance teacher awards kids with “fancy feet!”  (I put a star next to the students’ names on my rosters so I can try to choose everyone once by the end of the year)

  • Pingback: Channel Your Inner Student to Become a Better Teacher | The Art of Ed()

  • Pingback: How to Ace Your Next Job Interview | The Art of Ed()

  • Alyssa Mattheis

    These are great ideas, however I would like to see another list geared towards high school motivation. I am a K-12 art teacher and would really like some pointers on rewards/motivaters for some of these students.

  • Deborah

    Get some smelly fruity clear chap stick and for kinder or 1st grade they get some rubbed on the back of their hand. They LOVE the smell and it stays with them unlike stickers. :)

    • Ms. B

      I do that and call them my smellies! Even my older elem love them!

  • Christi

    Thank you so much for these ideas! Perfect time for fresh positive motivators! :)

  • In the event you click the key, you can deliver the mystery caller to your words mail.