I could pretend I don't like food rewards because it promotes a mentality that you "earn" junk calories, but my real gripe with them is the hassle. I hate arranging the pickup/delivery, coordinating with different classes on their lunch periods (they won't deliver pizza at 9AM), begging families for side dishes, and keeping my classroom clean and grease-free. At the end of the day, I'm left asking "Yeah, the kids seemed to like their two slices of Dominos, but was that worth $200?" (I have 160 kids, and that's including tax, tip, and some soda. It was a once-a-year-thing).
Here's my new reward chart (each of these should happen once or twice over the year):
1) YouTube day (100 points): for a large part of the period, we watch a carefully curated playlist of interesting, funny, or just plain cool videos. I let students submit suggestions in advance, so I can review them and decide whether they fit.
2) MythBusters (200 points) one episode takes about a full period. It's educational, but also well-done and entertaining. The most popular episodes are the ones with explosions.
3) Class outside (500 points): one day last year during standardized testing, I took the kids outside during a break for about 10 minutes. I jogged them down the block to the park next door, and they ran around, frolicked, and played on the equipment. When we came back in, there was a giant smile on each one's face, and one actually called it the best class we had ever had. Kids are kids. Let them be kids.
4) Teach Mr. Shack a dance (1000 points): This is my favorite. The class picks any sort of dance (past candidates have been the dougy, ballet, the moonwalk, and breakdancing), and on some Friday, a few representatives teach it to me and I perform it (usually badly) in front of the class. It's funny, can't be bought anywhere else, and hey, I even get to learn something.
I've been trying to think of other rewards at smaller point increments- maybe problems taken off the homework, or music during the Do Now or during practice time. However, I adjust homework and play music so much I fear it would break their pavlovian reward circuit.