Sunday, August 17, 2014

Made4Math: Student Awards

So this is my last week of freedom before our professional development days next week.  I am only 17 days away from meeting my new students.  And here I am, still blogging about last year.  Better late than never?

On the last day of school, I surprised my students with some snacks.  We finished our review, and had about 15 minutes in each class to relax and chit-chat.  (I remind students that it is important to take breaks while studying.  Of course, that would mean that they would have to study in the first place.)

The best part of each class that day was when I handed out awards.  (I did this at the beginning of class.)  I gave out approximately 8 awards each class.  I explained that I felt they deserved these awards because they are mostly praised for their academic achievements, and there are more important things in life and other wonderful things they do well. For students that had perfect homework, I created a printable wrapper for King Size Hershey chocolate bars.  (The full label reads: Congratulations on achieving perfect homework in geometry for the 2013-2014 school year.)

For each student that earned an award, I had a mechanical pencil (which they know is something of great value because I tell them all year how they should switch to mechanical pencils).  I added a tag to each pencil.  (You can find the tags here.)  I also gave them a snack size Hersey bar (the kind you can buy in an 8 pack.) 

Each student received a certificate of their award.  Depending on the class and the students I handed out awards for excellent attendance, perfect attendance, exemplary conduct, most improved, "ray of sunshine" (for the students that made many days extra special), and one special student received a "storyteller" award.  I printed the awards on sturdy white cardstock and signed them all.  The students really appreciated their awards, and I was delighted to hear about how they hung their awards up at home.  After two periods of handing out awards, I had students from my later classes running in to ask if they were getting an award later.  This is one of those things you always hear about elementary teachers doing, and think older students won't appreciate, but it's definitely worth trying.

I've attached the file of the award templates I used.  You could even change the award title and description to create your own awards.  I used three different fonts that I downloaded from Kimberly Geswein.  (I cannot visit her website without downloading a few new fonts).  The fonts I used are Be Still and Know, Dark Side, and Lego House.  You can download the file here.

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