My teaching partner and I always faced the end of the school year with nostalgia, excitement, and a bit of sadness as our students leave our classrooms. Kind of like parents whose children have flown the coop. We enjoyed giving out student awards, but instead of us choosing all of them, we decided to let the kids help us. So the class had an opportunity to pick who they felt was most deserving. They thoroughly enjoyed the responsibility. As part of the teacher prep, we set it up so that each reward would be given to two people, one from each homeroom. For obvious reasons, we chose who is to receive academic awards ourselves.
The awards that our students were asked to choose were based on fairness, compassion, empathy, kindness. and looking for the good in everyone. For the most part, the students could be trusted to make the right choices.
Around two weeks before school finished, We’d hand out a sheet of paper with rewards written on them and another sheet with each child’s name. The class would write the name of the person that they’ve chosen to receive that particular reward. We’d also fill out a sheet. Votes were collected and tallied. We’d then fill in each reward with names, etc. The kids especially loved this because it felt good to receive positive acknowledgement from their peers as well as their teachers.
During the last week of school we would hold an awards ceremony and invite the parents. Of course the awards were distributed with much pomp and circumstance. We’d usually bring in some cider and donut holes to help celebrate. Great PR with the parents there, they were so happy to see their child receive this recognition..
Since I’m no longer on the front lines, I’ve created a set of 104 class awards, 52 in color and their counterparts in black and white. with thought provoking growth mindset quotes from philosophers, artists, scientists, historians, psychologists and more, for you to use with your 6-8 grade classes. I really want to help make your lives easier during this tough time of the year.
If you’d like to take a look at this resource, click on any image below.