Here’s a short activity to boost your happiness and well-being. Close your eyes and remember, or imagine, a time when someone went out of their way to celebrate you for your effort, hard work, or progress. What sorts of feelings does this elicit in you? How’s your state of mind? Feel free to spend some time enjoying this experience of celebration focused solely on you, then come back to read more about cultivating this type of experience in your classroom with your students.
Celebrating success in the classroom can take many forms. Below are three teacher-tested ways to recognize students when they have done something deserving of positive attention and reinforcement. As you read about them, think about what ways you celebrate success with your classes. Then reply to this post with your favorites!
Hold a Student Award Presentation:
Your students can celebrate each other while expressing their creativity at the end of a period or the end of a school day through creating and giving “Awesome Awards.” This idea comes from Kelley Dolling, a K-5 writing instruction coach who has recently finished up a decade of teaching in the primary grades. Students each draw the name of a classmate, then choose an appropriate award category from a brainstormed list of ideas. Click on the link below for a template award that students can fill in and decorate before presenting them to one another.
For daily celebrations, you can use cheers and claps to recognize groups of students or individuals when they have done something great. The following examples of cheers to use in the classroom come from T. J. Eich, an elementary school reading teacher. (She takes no credit for coming up with these, by the way.)
“Your Shining Moment”
Paige Price teaches 9th grade at Mountain View High School in Mountain View, CA. She likes to ask her students to take time at the end of class to reflect on their academic performance, identifying a “shining moment” that stands out for them. What did they do best on a research paper, presentation, or assessment? The students can write down their reflection on an exit slip to hand in at the end of class or on a rubric. In this way, students actually celebrate themselves, paying attention to their personal accomplishments.
Now that you’ve read through some examples, do you have any ideas you’d like to share? Contribute your voice to the conversation in the comments section below. And, be sure to celebrate the great ideas of your community peers by liking or commenting on their responses to this discussion!