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Updated: Oct 2, 2022

I’m here to share about one of my favorite, versatile classroom management tools: punch cards! But how can you use punch cards in the classroom? Here are ten ways.

Punch pass cards with ten punches on a wood background with the text "10 ways to use punch pass cards"


Punch Cards for Bathroom Passes

You can modify this to make this work for your classroom but many teachers give one punch card every x amount of weeks. Many secondary teachers also give their students extra credit for unused punches. We don’t do extra credit at my school, but I love the idea of giving some type of reinforcement for unused passes. You could do something as simple as a candy bar or fun pencil.

Punch pass card with 8 punches. Text says "Homework Punch Card: One punch for each completed homework assignment" and a watercolor cactus

Punch Cards for Classroom Jobs

This is the main way I use punch cards in my classroom. We do a classroom clean up every Friday. My students earn one punch for every job they complete. When they get all their passes, they earn a gift certificate to our class store.

Several frosted blue watercolor punch cards with different punch options

Punch Cards for Behavior Management

Punch cards are great for managing group or individual behavior. I like to set a classroom goal that we are working towards, like pushing in our chairs, and then when everyone in the group remembers to push in their chair, they can get a punch on their group card. You'll want to set up something for them to trade the card in for when they have earned all their punches.

Punch Cards for Assignments

Lots of teachers use punch cards to reinforce students for turning in their assignments on time or for assignment completion during a certain time period. This is great for secondary teachers looking for a little extra motivation for their students to turn in their assignments.

Punch Cards as Hall Passes

If you are having issues with students leaving the classroom too often, this is a great solution. Students get one punch card every semester or trimester and they have that number of punches as hall passes. Of course, make sure you are making exceptions for students who have medical needs, IEPs, or 504 plans if it's one of their accommodations.

Golden Garden decor punch cards

Punch Cards for Math Facts Fluency

This is a fun one that I never would have considered. One teacher used punch passes for their class multiplication facts party. Students got to punch the number when they had mastered that set of facts. Love this idea!

Punch Cards for Student Run Businesses

If you run a coffee cart or a snack cart in your school, this is a fun way to encourage staff participation. Staff get a punch for each purchase and a free item after they have all the punches. My local coffee shop does this and I love it.

Punch Cards for Progress Monitoring

You could punch a students card when a goal or objective is mastered. You could also do this if you teach a letter of the day or week and punch the card when a letter/sound is mastered.

Punch Cards for SchoolEvents or Special Activities

If you want to increase attendance at school events or activities, punch cards are a fun way to get families involved!

Punch Cards for Random Acts of Kindness

I love this one. I've seen lots of schools do this in February. Students could earn a punch on their card when they complete a random act of kindness. You can decide if you want to have some type of additional reinforcement at the end or if just the act of kindness is reinforcement in itself. Maybe you could feature students with all ten passes on a special bulletin board.

Abstract Oasis Decor Punch Cards

There are so many ways to use punch cards in your elementary, middle, or even high school classroom! I sell several different designs in my store. Grab a freebie here so you can try them out. I'd love to hear the creative ways you use your classroom punch cards!

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