6 Unique Student Recognition Ideas
Teachers have one of the most important jobs in the world today–educating and molding our youth to be tomorrow’s heroes, leaders and innovators. For this reason, it’s important to put as much effort into the affective part of education as the technical part of education. Affective education is values-based and deals with nurturing the child, rewarding him, and providing incentive to continue to do well. Affective education is the “good job,” or “keep up the great work,” or “you have improved so much this month!” Affective education is the intangible part of teaching that makes kids want to be in your class.
One important part of affective education is student recognition. If you think recognizing and rewarding students is time-consuming and expensive, then let us tell you about some inexpensive (or totally free) student recognition ideas that really work!
- Spotlight student achievement with a specialized award certificate. Some of the most popular student achievement certificates are Student of the Week, Student of the Month, Most Improved Student, Hardest Working Student, Most Helpful Student, and Highest Grade in the Class.
- Allow privileges. One simple, free student recognition idea is to allow the student special privileges for the week. If class is right before lunch, you can excuse the deserving student one minute before the bell rings, and if it’s the last period of the day, allow him to leave a minute early to avoid the rush to the bus line or parking lot.
- Homework pass. Kids love this student recognition idea because it allows them to take a pass on one homework assignment. Be careful with this one, however, as the privileged student may choose to pass on a homework assignment that is a significant part of the semester grade. Set clear ground rules, and make sure the homework pass is only used on an assignment that won’t make or break the class grade. Math teachers, who often give daily homework, may allow a deserving student to skip out on ten homework problems if he has done well on that particular skill.
- Treat your deserving student to lunch or breakfast. If the school allows, you could have lunch delivered to your star student, or you can stop and get him/her a healthy breakfast on the way to school. Buying a meal for your over-achiever is a fairly inexpensive way to recognize the hard work he’s done lately.
5. Thank-you cards are a great way to recognize that a student has gone above and beyond the call of duty. Hand writing a note shows you are committed to acknowledging good behavior and hard work, and the student will treasure your thank you note for years to come. You will be amazed at how much such a small gesture like a hand-written thank you card will mean to your student–regardless of his/her age.
6. A phone call home is a student recognition idea that really works. Too often, a teacher calling home only means one thing–the kid is in trouble. By calling parents with positive news such as good grades and improved behavior, your students will see that a teacher phone call home is not always a bad thing. The parents will be probably be shocked that you took the time to call them to report something positive, and other students will work harder to get the same type of recognition.
These low-cost, sometimes free student recognition ideas that work will provide your students with an incentive to do well in your class, and the acknowledgments will help them realize that you really do appreciate their great work. Here are some more Ideas for Student Classroom Rewards to get you started.