5 Steps to Using Classroom Reward Systems in a Meaningful Way

Educators have long recognized the power of reward systems as a means to encourage positive behaviors and motivate students. When implemented thoughtfully, these systems can enhance the learning environment and provide students with incentives that spur their interest and participation. Here are five steps educators can take to ensure their classroom reward systems are used in the most meaningful way:

1. Define Clear Objectives: Before introducing a reward system, it’s important for teachers to identify what behaviors or achievements they want to incentivize. This could include completing homework on time, showing improvement in a particular subject, or demonstrating acts of kindness. Having clear objectives allows students to understand what is expected of them and strive to meet those standards.

2. Ensure Equity and Accessibility: A well-structured reward system should be fair and accessible to all students. This means that rewards should not be so difficult to achieve that only a few can attain them, or so easy that they don’t require effort. Teachers should consider the individual needs and abilities of their students to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to earn rewards.

3. Choose Meaningful Rewards: The rewards offered should be desirable enough to motivate students but also meaningful in a way that promotes educational values. For instance, extra recess time, a homework pass, or the chance to be a classroom helper for the day can serve as effective incentives without detracting from academic goals.

4. Incorporate Student Choice: Allowing students some choice in terms of the rewards they work towards can increase their engagement and investment in the reward system. By providing options, students can select rewards that they find personally valuable, which enhances their motivation.

5. Reflect and Adjust: Reward systems may require fine-tuning over time. Teachers should periodically reflect on the effectiveness of their system and solicit feedback from students. If certain aspects are not working as intended or if students seem disinterested, it’s important for educators to be flexible and willing to make necessary adjustments.

By following these steps, teachers can create rewarding systems that not only motivate students but also contribute positively to classroom dynamics and student development.

What Are Equity Sticks How to Implement Them in Your Classroom

Equity sticks are a classroom management tool that aim to promote fairness and inclusivity during class discussions and participation. The basic premise involves putting each student’s name on a stick and placing these sticks in a jar. When it’s time for students to answer questions or participate, the teacher draws a stick at random, ensuring that all students have an equal chance to speak.

The inclusion of equity sticks in the classroom is rooted in the principle of equitable teaching practices, where teachers strive to give all students equal opportunities to succeed, regardless of their background or abilities. This tool aims to prevent the common scenario where more confident or extroverted students dominate class conversations while others remain passive or go unnoticed.

To implement equity sticks effectively, teachers need to follow some best practices. First, it is important to explain the purpose of equity sticks to the students so they understand the rationale behind this random selection process. Secondly, it’s crucial to commit to using them consistently to establish a routine and ensure fairness. Additionally, reflecting on their use and considering student feedback is important for making improvements.

Using equity sticks can also help teachers track participation and identify patterns. For example, they may notice if some students are never calling out voluntarily or if others are becoming reliant on being called upon. This insight can help teachers adjust their instructional strategies and provide additional support where necessary.

Moreover, equity sticks can be adapted for various uses such as grouping students for activities or selecting volunteers for tasks. They can also be decorated or color-coded for an added layer of engagement or organization.

Critics of equity sticks argue that this method might put shy or anxious students on the spot, potentially causing discomfort. Therefore, it’s essential for educators using this tool to create a supportive classroom environment where students feel safe and know that it’s okay to make mistakes.

Implementing equity sticks as part of a broader strategy of classroom management can help foster an environment where every student has an equal opportunity to participate and learn from one another, thus supporting an inclusive and equitable learning experience.

Want to Build Equity Into Your Teaching?


Achieving equity in education is a challenge faced by educators around the world. Creating an equitable learning environment ensures that every student, regardless of their background or circumstances, has the opportunity to succeed. In this article, we will discuss effective strategies for building equity into your teaching.

1. Culturally Responsive Teaching:

Culturally responsive teaching involves understanding and connecting with students’ backgrounds, experiences, and identities. This approach helps educators to design lessons that are inclusive and promotes a sense of belonging for all students. By integrating various cultural perspectives into the curriculum, you can help empower students who may feel marginalized and foster an appreciation for diversity in the classroom.

2. Differentiated Instruction:

Differentiated instruction allows teachers to personalize their approach based on each student’s individual needs and learning styles. By understanding each learner’s strengths, weaknesses, and preferences, you can adapt your teaching methods to ensure that every student is challenged and supported in a meaningful way. This customizable approach promotes equity by ensuring that all students have access to the resources they need to thrive.

3. Encouraging Collaborative Learning:

A sense of community in the classroom is essential for promoting equity among students. Collaborative learning provides opportunities for students to work together towards shared goals. This not only helps them develop essential teamwork skills but also fosters empathy and understanding among diverse peer groups.

4. Explicitly Address Bias and Stereotypes:

Bias and stereotypes play a detrimental role in perpetuating educational inequities. Teachers must be aware of their own biases and work actively to challenge them. Additionally, encouraging open discussions about bias within the classroom helps students build awareness about how it impacts their own lives and education experiences.

5.Parents/Guardians Involvement

Engaging with parents/guardians at home is critical for developing an equitable education environment. By establishing strong lines of communication between educators and families, teachers can better understand the unique challenges that their students face and tailor their teaching strategies accordingly.

6. Professional Development (PD):

Continuous learning is crucial for teachers who want to build equity into their classroom. Engaging in ongoing professional development ensures that educators stay informed about the latest research and best practices relevant to equity in education. This ongoing commitment to PD allows teachers to refine their craft and better serve their diverse student populations.


Building equity into your teaching requires proactive steps and a commitment to understanding changing demographics and inherent biases. By employing strategies such as culturally responsive teaching, differentiated instruction, promoting collaboration, addressing biases, engaging with families, and participating in professional development, educators can create a more equitable learning environment where every student has a chance to succeed.

The Eagle Huntress Guide: Teach Self-Esteem and Gender Equity


The Eagle Huntress is an inspiring story of a young girl named Aisholpan, who defies all odds to pursue her dreams and becomes the first female eagle huntress in her nomadic Kazakh family. The film showcases Aisholpan’s journey to develop self-esteem and promote gender equity in a male-dominated tradition. This article will guide you on how to use The Eagle Huntress as a powerful tool to teach these values to young people.

1. Discuss the cultural background of eagle hunting:

Begin by discussing the ancient tradition of eagle hunting among the nomadic tribes of Central Asia, specifically among the Kazakhs in Mongolia. This tradition dates back thousands of years and has been passed down through generations. Explain that this skill is used primarily for hunting animals for sustenance and is respected as an essential part of their culture.

2. Introduce Aisholpan’s story:

Introduce the protagonist, Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl who dreams of becoming an eagle huntress like her father and grandfather, despite society’s expectations that only men should participate in this activity. Share how she displayed passion, dedication, and resilience throughout her journey and broke traditional gender roles.

3. Analyze key challenges faced by Aisholpan:

Discuss the different obstacles that Aisholpan had to overcome, such as harsh environmental conditions and skepticism from elders within her community. Emphasize that not everyone initially accepted her pursuit due to gender stereotypes; yet, with courage and support from her family, she eventually proved herself as a capable eagle huntress.

4. Discuss the importance of self-esteem:

Explain that self-esteem is vital for growth and success in any endeavor. Relate Aisholpan’s story to situations where young people may face discouragement or doubt based on their gender or traditional expectations. Encourage them to build self-esteem by setting goals, standing up for their beliefs, and embracing their unique qualities.

5. Invoke a discussion about gender equity:

Use Aisholpan’s story as an example to initiate discussions about gender equity in different contexts. Engage young people in conversations about the importance of providing equal opportunities to everyone, regardless of their gender. Discuss ways to challenge norms and break stereotypes that limit opportunities for girls and boys alike.

6. Encourage young people to pursue their passions:

Inspire young people to follow their dreams and aspirations, no matter the obstacles that may stand in their way. Instill a sense of belief in their abilities and encourage them to embrace challenges, learn from setbacks, and persistently work towards their goals.


The Eagle Huntress serves as a valuable resource for teaching young people about self-esteem and gender equity through an inspiring tale of a girl overcoming cultural expectations and adversity. By discussing these themes openly, we can empower young individuals with the confidence to challenge traditional norms and pursue their dreams while promoting an equitable society for all.

Equity in Education: This Poster Will Help You Support All Students


Education is the cornerstone of personal and societal development. It is through education that we can cultivate skills, knowledge, and awareness needed for a prosperous future. However, not every student has equal access to quality education, and this disparity leads to a lack of equity among learners. This article aims to shed light on the importance of equity in education and how using a simple tool like a poster can help support all students.

What is Equity in Education?

Equity in education refers to fairness and equal opportunity for all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, disability, or any other personal factor. In an equitable education system, every student has access to educational resources and opportunities that cater to their individual needs and learning styles.

Why is Equity in Education Important?

1. Fosters social cohesion: Equal opportunities in education promote a sense of belonging among students from diverse backgrounds. This fosters an inclusive learning environment where individuals can develop understanding and respect for other perspectives.

2. Reduces achievement gaps: Providing proper resources to students who need additional support helps reduce disparities in academic performance between different student groups. This ultimately leads to a better-educated society.

3. Enhances economic mobility: Students with access to equitable education have better chances of obtaining higher-paying jobs in the future, thereby increasing their socioeconomic mobility.

How Can a Poster Help Support Equity in Education?

Using posters as teaching aids can be a powerful way to promote equity among students by:

1. Encouraging inclusive language: Using language that emphasizes collaboration and community helps create an inclusive classroom environment. Posters serve as constant visual reminders for both teachers and students of the need for inclusive language.

2. Highlighting diversity: A poster that visually represents diverse individuals communicates the value of embracing differences within school communities.

3. Providing resources for educators: A poster can include effective strategies, tips, or guidelines for teachers to support students from diverse backgrounds. This helps create an environment that caters to individual learning needs and abilities.

4. Promoting awareness: By displaying facts and figures about educational disparities, a poster can spark conversations around the importance of equity in education. This leads to increased awareness among teachers, students, and the wider school community.

Creating Your Equity in Education Poster

Here are some guidelines to create an effective poster that promotes equity in education:

1. Use bold colors and clear fonts that attract attention and are readable from a distance.

2. Incorporate visuals that showcase diverse individuals.

3. Include concise, informative content surrounding issues related to equity in education.

4. Provide actionable steps for educators on how to support all learners.

5. Ensure that the language used is inclusive and welcoming.


Equity in education should be at the heart of every educator’s efforts. Using tools like posters can play a significant role in raising awareness, promoting inclusivity, and providing resources to support all learners. By fostering an equitable educational environment, we contribute towards the development of a just society where every student has the opportunity to succeed.

4 Ways to Build School Equity in America


Equity in education is a pressing issue for America’s schools. All students, regardless of their background, should have equal access to quality educational opportunities. Unfortunately, disparities in resources and funding continue to exacerbate the achievement gap between students from different socio-economic backgrounds. This article outlines four ways that educators and policymakers can work towards creating equitable learning environments for all students in America.

1. Equitable Funding:

One of the most significant challenges to achieving equitable education is the uneven distribution of funding among school districts. Often, schools in lower-income communities receive less financial support than those in wealthier areas, leading to disparities in available resources for students and teachers. Policymakers should reevaluate funding models for public schools to ensure that all schools receive sufficient financial support based on their unique needs and student populations.

2. Accessible Curriculum and Teaching Resources:

For students to thrive academically, they must have access to high-quality curriculums and teaching resources. Schools should prioritize developing culturally responsive curricula that reflect the diverse backgrounds and experiences of their student population. Additionally, educators must have access to materials and strategies that cater to the individual needs of their student body, including those with learning differences or language barriers.

3. Diverse and Supported Faculty:

A diverse faculty enables students of all backgrounds to see themselves reflected in their teachers and feel a sense of belonging within the school community. Schools should prioritize hiring educators from various racial, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds to create an inclusive environment where all students can thrive. Additionally, educators should receive ongoing professional development focused on building cultural competency and understanding different students’ unique needs.

4. Strong Family-Community-School Partnerships:

Families play a crucial role in supporting student success, both academically and socially-emotionally. Schools must prioritize building strong partnerships with families from different socio-economic backgrounds by providing resources and opportunities for engagement, such as parent workshops or volunteer opportunities. Moreover, schools should collaborate with community organizations to create programs that enrich students’ learning experiences beyond the classroom.


Equity in America’s schools is an achievable goal if we prioritize addressing funding disparities, provide accessible curriculums and teaching resources, create diverse and supported faculty, and foster strong family-community-school partnerships. By focusing on these four pillars, educators and policymakers can ensure that all students receive the quality education they deserve and work together toward a more just and equitable society.

4 Ways to Build School Equity in America


In the United States, disparities in educational opportunities and resources are ever-present. These inequalities contribute to an education system where students from varying socio-economic backgrounds receive vastly different educations. Addressing this issue requires a multi-faceted approach that takes into consideration various elements that contribute to school equity. This article will discuss four ways to build school equity in America.

1. Increase Funding and Resource Redistribution

One significant factor contributing to the discrepancy in educational quality among different schools is the unequal distribution of resources. Many low-income districts struggle to provide essential supplies, adequate facilities, and high-quality educators for their students. Increasing overall funding for public education and redistributing resources more equitably can help bridge the gap between struggling schools and their more affluent counterparts.

States can reevaluate their current school funding formulas to ensure that they are allocating funds based on districts’ needs, taking into account factors such as poverty rates and special education enrollment. Federal initiatives can also support increased funding for underprivileged schools, boosting opportunities for students at struggling institutions.

2. Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Classroom

Diversity and inclusion within a school environment are vital to fostering equity. Creating programs that increase access to affordable early childhood education, recruiting a diverse teacher workforce, and nurturing a culture of inclusivity contributes to a well-rounded educational experience for all children.

Schools should aim to incorporate discussions of race, gender, and socio-economic differences into age-appropriate lessons across various subjects. By exposing students to these topics early on, they learn invaluable empathy skills while also receiving a more comprehensive understanding of their own experiences and those of their peers.

3. Support Comprehensive Services for Students

Children from low-income backgrounds often face additional challenges outside of the classroom—such as food insecurity, homelessness, or lack of access to health care—that can impede their ability to succeed academically. To promote equity within the education system, schools should offer comprehensive services that address all aspects of a student’s well-being.

These services may include school-based health centers, free or reduced-price meal programs, and assistance with transportation. Schools can also partner with community organizations to provide additional services and resources tailored to the needs of their students and their families.

4. Close the Opportunity Gap Through Access to Rigorous Programs

High academic expectations paired with access to challenging and diverse educational opportunities is one way to build equity in our schools. By ensuring that all students have opportunities for enrichment—such as advanced courses, extracurricular activities, and mentorship programs—they can develop vital skills and knowledge necessary for future academic and professional success.

To achieve this, schools should aim to identify and dismantle any barriers that may prevent students from accessing such opportunities. This might involve adding more advanced classes at various grade levels, offering financial assistance for extracurricular activities or eliminating selection biases in program admissions.


Addressing school equity in America is a complex but urgent task. By focusing on equitable funding distribution, promoting diversity and inclusion, supporting comprehensive student services, and broadening access to rigorous educational opportunities, we can work together to create a more just and inclusive education system for all children.

Building Equity in the Science Classroom


In recent years, there has been a growing awareness surrounding the concept of equity in education. Particularly in STEM fields, the underrepresentation of marginalized and minority groups is a pressing issue that warrants attention. To achieve an inclusive and thriving learning environment, it is crucial to foster equity in our science classrooms. This article aims to provide insight into strategies for building equity in science classrooms, creating avenues for all students to feel valued and succeed.

Recognizing and Addressing Systemic Inequities

To promote equity within the science classroom, educators must first recognize existing disparities. Systemic inequities can manifest in various ways, such as socio-economic status, race, gender, or disability. Teachers must make it a priority to critically assess their classroom practices for potential biases or barriers faced by students from marginalized communities.

Strategies for Building Equity in the Science Classroom

1. Culturally Responsive Teaching: Teachers should strive to incorporate culturally relevant content into their lessons. This can include integrating examples from diverse cultures related to scientific topics and encouraging discussions that address societal issues concerning science.

2. Differentiated Instruction: Recognizing that students have varying strengths and learning styles is essential. Teachers should develop multiple methods of teaching a concept and provide opportunities for learners to exhibit their understanding in different forms.

3. Collaborative Learning: Encouraging collaboration among students fosters teamwork and helps learners build on each other’s strengths. Active learning strategies such as group projects or peer-teaching can foster positive classroom dynamics that promote intellectual growth.

4. Accessible Learning Resources: Ensuring students have access to inclusive learning materials is vital for equitable instruction. This includes offering multiple formats of resources (e.g., digital vs printed) and providing accommodations for students with disabilities through assistive technologies or tailored instructional support.

5. Supportive Classroom Environment: Creating an inclusive classroom climate that values diversity involves setting clear expectations for respectful behavior and constructive feedback. Teachers should encourage open communication, active listening, and empathy in learners.

6. Engaging with Families and Communities: Teachers should strive to connect with students’ families, working closely together toward shared educational goals. In addition, engaging community organizations can provide resources and support that expand the learning experiences of marginalized groups.

7. Professional Development and Self-Reflection: Educators must stay committed to continued learning on inequities in STEM education. Participating in professional development workshops or joining supportive networks can help teachers stay informed on best practices for promoting equity in their classrooms.


Building equity in the science classroom is a continuous process that involves reflection, adaptation, and collaboration among educators, students, and communities. As educators work towards creating inclusive classroom environments, they pave the way for a more diverse generation of scientists and innovators. By prioritizing equitable teaching practices, we take strides toward dismantling systemic barriers and fostering excellence for all learners.

What Will Obama’s Legacy be when it Comes to Diversity on College Campuses?

With less than two years left in office, President Barack Obama still has a lofty agenda when it comes to education in America. From supporting wider access to universal Pre-K all the way up to a proposal for two free years of community college for everyone, President Obama has taken an immersive approach to education that challenges the status quo. When it is all said and done, what will President Obama’s college diversity legacy look like?

More people of color in college leadership positions

Though he has not introduced any official legislation that demands more people of color in leadership spots, the President’s mere presence in the nation’s highest position has paved the way for others to step up in their own industries. I predict a steep rise in minority faculty members, deans and college presidents in the coming decade due indirectly to the example set by this President. His push for more minority graduates will also mean more minority college leaders being fed into university systems.

More minorities graduating from college

The rate of students entering colleges across the nation was already at a record-high when President Obama took office, but so was college debt. Between unchecked student loan interest rates and for-profit universities recruiting non-traditional and minority students without the right support programs in place for those students to graduate, the college landscape had become ineffective for many of the nation’s students. In his tenure, President Obama has worked hard to make the cost of college more affordable, through more federal Pell grants and more federally-backed student loans, as well as loan repayment programs that offer caps on income or loan forgiveness clauses. This has helped all students but an argument can be made that making college more affordable will prove a long-term improvement when it comes to minority graduates who were deterred by the high cost in the first place.

Specifically, President Obama has put minority-friendly programs in place like My Brother’s Keeper that address the specific problems that particular groups face when it comes to obtaining an education. He has also made K-12 schools more accountable for getting their students college-ready with federally-funded incentives like Race to the Top, which focuses on closing the achievement gap between white and minority students. In order to feed colleges more minority students who are ready for the tasks, the grades that come before the college years must be considered – and the President seems get that, and to have a good grasp of the bigger picture of what a college education means for minorities.

More high-skilled minorities in the workforce

With his proposal for tuition-free community college for the first two years for all students, President Obama is ensuring that this next generation of high school graduates will be able to elevate their educations beyond the K-12 years. This applies to all students, but here again is a point where minorities will benefit most. By essentially making the first two years of a college education an extension of the high school years, with some performance requirements attached, minorities will not face the financial roadblock that often accompanies entering college right after high school. Perhaps the area where minorities will see the biggest boost if this proposal becomes law is in the portion that will allow older students who never completed college right after high school to go back to school too. Non-traditional minority students will not have to go the for-profit college route to return to school or find a way to carve out tuition to community colleges from household budgets.

President Obama has always been outspoken about his goals of breaking down barriers in the way of minorities who want to obtain a college education, particularly young men of color. As he completes his term in office, I expect to see him confront these initiatives with even more aggression to cement his legacy as a President that worked hard to improve the diversity on American college campuses.

Click here to read all our posts concerning the Achievement Gap.

Should sex ed include fertility information?

Exactly what sort of safe sex should be taught to our young students is always a topic of debate. As we recently saw in Texas, abstinence-only programs don’t seem to work and can even lead to higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases. Telling kids too much about how to have sex bothers many parents, educators and lawmakers, though. It seems that the jury is still out on the best way to empower students with sex-ed knowledge. One topic that is never debated, or even discussed, as it relates to sex education is fertility itself and that needs to change, according to some experts.

In a story that ran in The Guardian, reproductive specialist Dr. Geeta Nargund says that schools are spending so much time trying to prevent pregnancy that young people are missing out on important knowledge about their own fertility. In her own practice Nargund counsels many women who did not have the facts about their own ability to conceive children until it was too late for it to happen naturally.

That, argues Nargund, is grounded in the misconception that women who wait to have children until they are financially and emotionally ready can do so later in life. The real science is much starker and fertility drops dramatically after women hit their 30s, and continues to fall with each passing year.

I think Nargund has a valid point. If we want students to have all the facts about sex, then let’s not just present one side of the story. Women who want to wait to have children should certainly be able to make that choice but should have all of the information in front of them.

What’s your stance on sex education as it relates to fertility?