Tod Johnston

Our Latest Journey: Celebrating Success

Discussion created by Tod Johnston on Mar 2, 2017


For most schools, the 100th day has come and gone. Now deep in the heart of the school year, your days are likely consumed with the well-established routines of instruction and assessment. Routines are great—in fact, essential—but when they become rote, a lack of freshness can lead to student (and teacher) apathy. One strategy to avoid apathy and increase student engagement is to celebrate successes, both big and small.


When students dedicate extraordinary effort towards a task, demonstrate real growth, or act with unsolicited empathy and kindness, it deserves acknowledgement and celebration. At the same time, it is just as important to take moments to appreciate your own successes and acknowledge the efforts of your colleagues. This month’s NWEA Connection theme explores the question: How can we build opportunities to celebrate success into our daily routines?


Successes can be recognized in limitless ways. Classroom, school, and community events provide a public venue for honoring achievements, while private notes and conversations communicate recognition in a more subtle manner. Successes can also be celebrated internally through self-recognition, and externally by others, including both peers and teachers. Different types of successes and different personalities require different methods of recognition. Especially when considering public acknowledgment, consider how the recipient will respond; when in doubt, ask the individual ahead of time.


In a practice she calls Your Shining Moment, teacher Paige Price asks students to reflect on a performance or assessment and jot down what they did best. This would be an example of an internal, private celebration. Sharing stories of growth on the NWEA See How They Grow platform is an external, public medium for celebrating success. This month, notice how you are already honoring achievements and reflect on new opportunities to build celebrations into your classroom and school routines. Consider how the matrix below can be used to categorize the various techniques.


Celebrating Success Matrix


To get started on the theme journey, engage in the following discussions:



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