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Close Reading Lesson: Faithful Elephants by Yukio Tsuchiya

Close reading is when a reader analyzes the details of a text to make interpretations and develop a deep understanding of the passage. Often the reader uses a short text and rereads the passage several times focusing on a different literary element with each read... Continue Reading

November 21, 2017 | CL Teaching Strategies Pro Reads, CL Seasonal Activities Spring

10 Ways Teachers/Principals Can Celebrate Student Success

Most education professionals would agree that the job of “teacher” includes many other roles and responsibilities in addition to that of “instructor.” We are motivators, facilitators, listeners, peace-makers, organizers, managers, planners, data collectors, learners, visionaries, and so on. The list goes on, but in today's post I would like to focus on the role of “motivator" and how teachers and principals can motivate students by celebrating their achievements!

Below are the top 10 ways teachers can motivate students to learn and celebrate success. If you are a principal, scroll down a little further for ways administrators can motivate and celebrate student achievement. celebrating-student-success-importance-of-awards-and-recognition-for-students-celebrating-student-success-1.png

What motivates students?

In my experience (having taught almost two decades), I have found one of the most important contributing factors to enhancing my students' success rate is motivating them to want to do well and believe they can do well. In order for most students to achieve great success in school, those students must be motivated to do well and to believe in themselves.

Words of inspiration are just one of the many ways to motivate students.

Believing in your students and letting them know you have confidence in their ability can be one of their greatest motivations. I am not sure why, but I am still surprised that after preparing and teaching an informative and dynamic lesson, what seems to really get my students motivated and working hard are my words of encouragement at the end of the lesson. I tell them, “I can't wait to see what greatness you will accomplish today.” Within just a few minutes of getting started, I usually have several excited hands in the air waiting to show me their progress. 

Words of inspiration are just one of the many ways to motivate students.  Believing in your students and letting them know you have confidence in their ability can be one of their greatest motivations. I am not sure why, but I am still surprised that after preparing and teaching an informative and dynamic lesson, what seems to really get my students motivated and working hard are my words of encouragement at the end of the lesson. I tell them, “I can't wait to see what greatness you will accomplish today.” Within just a few minutes of getting started, I usually have several excited hands in the air waiting to show me their progress.  celebrating-student-achievement-what-motivates-students-how-leadership-influences-student-learning.png

Celebrating student success is also motivating for students young and old!

How often in the educational experience do we provide students with an opportunity to celebrate or reflect on their accomplishments?

Throughout the school year students can come to the conclusion that test scores are what make them successes or failures. As educators its important we help our students understand that life isn’t made up of test scores. Real success is made up of hard work, persistence, personal growth, and more!

 

10 WAYS TEACHERS CAN MOTIVATE STUDENTS AND CELEBRATE STUDENT SUCCESS IN THE CLASSROOM

Below are the top ten ways teachers can motivate students to learn and celebrate success. If you are a principal, scroll down a little further for ways administrators can motivate and celebrate student achievement.

Motivating students by celebrating their achievements will lead them to greater success in school. Download a tip sheet that outlines ten ways teachers can motivate students to learn and celebrate success in the classroom!

Vocabulary-Lesson

#1 VERBAL PRAISE

Verbal encouragement and praise are the easiest ways to motivate and celebrate students! Give a pep talk to struggling students before working on an assignment. Verbally celebrate students’ who have worked hard to complete a project or improve in a subject area.

Pep talks and praise can be done individually or as a group. When giving students verbal praise individually, be as specific as possible. Acknowledge the goal and what actions contributed to their success. For example, try not to just say, "Great job," but rather "I really like how you used the character’s actions to describe the main character." Finally make sure students know your verbal praise is a genuine gesture by delivering the message with good eye contact and a smile!

#2 WRITE A NOTE

When is the last time you wrote each student a personal note expressing how proud you are of him or her, and how grateful you feel to be their teacher? (Report card comments don’t count!)

A simple way to celebrate student success is by writing a personal note. Whether your students are six years old or 16 years old, receiving a note from you filled with praise and encouragement always warms their hearts!

#3 SEND A NOTE/EMAIL/TEXT TO A PARENT OR GUARDIAN

Parents and guardians love when a teacher acknowledges their child's accomplishments. When teachers share positive acknowledgments with parents/guardians, typically the comments are excitedly discussed with the student at home.

Sending a note, email, or text to a student’s parent or guardian will give the student a sense of pride that their teacher has taken the time to share something they have done well in class. It can also facilitate familial discussions about schoolwork, academic goals, challenges, and more!

#4 CLASS INCENTIVES/CELEBRATIONS

Wanting to do well for their peers can be a great student motivator! Having a class reward system or celebratory goal will unite students in their motivation to work hard and excel. Implementing a class reward system can be as simple as creating a marble jar or class chain. When students do something well, add a marble to the jar or a link to the chain. When the jar is filled or the chain reaches from ceiling to floor, hand out a prize or celebrate with a class party!

#5 PEER RECOGNITION ACTIVITY

Often times the best recognition a student can get is from a peer! Next time students are acting a bit restless or seem discouraged, have them participate in a “Strength Circle” activity. To begin, each student will need his/her own envelope with a blank piece of paper inside. Instruct each student to write their name on the outside of their envelope and then gather a circle. Once in a circle, everyone passes their envelope to the person on their right. With each passing of the envelope, students will take the piece of paper out of the envelope and write down a strength they recognize in their peer. Encourage students to write about a specific time they noticed each person’s strength!

#6 TEACHER’S ASSISTANT FOR THE DAY

Who doesn't love to help the teacher? A great way to celebrate a student’s accomplishments is by making them an assistant for the day. This reward should be reserved for students who have reached an important goal or made significant strides in the classroom. Not only will the recipient treasure their day as the teacher’s assistant, but it provides great motivation for the rest of the class, who now want to be an assistant one day, too.

#7 DISPLAYING WORK IN THE CLASSROOM

Hanging up students' work in the class is an excellent way to celebrate their efforts! Students feel a great sense of self-worth when something they have written or created is hanging up for others to see.

#8 HOLD AN AWARD CEREMONY

Hold an award ceremony to recognize student achievement at the end of the year. Awards should be thoughtfully considered and based on each students’ personal growth, character, and achievements (awards should not be presented as rewards and prizes). Parents, school board members, and district level personnel can be invited to the special event.

#9 ON-SCREEN SUCCESS OR SHARING SOCIALLY

It’s the digital age and that means most students respond to tweets, apps, and videos! If they can see it on a screen, it captures their attention.

Celebrate the achievements of your digital natives and create a one or two-minute video highlighting pictures of past projects and classroom happenings. I would also encourage you to feature interviews with students, teachers, the school librarian, and principals. Don’t forget to add some fun music!

#10 CERTIFICATE OF ACHIEVEMENT

Something tangible that a student can hold and keep that says “You achieved success is an excellent way to celebrate success.” Certificates make life easy because they can be preprinted and filled in quickly.

 

8 WAYS PRINCIPALS CAN MOTIVATE STUDENTS AND CELEBRATE STUDENT SUCCESS IN THE CLASSROOM

Leadership influences student learning and academic achievement! Principals and administrators are motivators for both teachers and students. Principals need to remember that being champions and cheerleaders for students is an important part of effective school leadership and effective school management. Below are eight ways school principals can motivate and celebrate student achievement!

ways-school-principals-can-motivate-and-celebrate-student-success-tip-sheet-750px.pngVocabulary-Lesson

#1 VERBAL PRAISE

Verbal encouragement and praise are the easiest ways to motivate and celebrate students! Give a pep talk to inspire students to take on school initiatives with excitement. Verbally celebrate students’ who have worked hard to complete a project or improve in a subject area.

Pep talks and praise can be done individually or as a group. When giving students verbal praise individually, be as specific as possible. Acknowledge the goal and what actions contributed to their success. For example, try not to just say, "Great job," but rather "You’re teacher shared one of your writing assignments with me. I really like how you used the character’s actions to describe the main character." Finally make sure students know your verbal praise is a genuine gesture by delivering the message with good eye contact and a smile!

#2 WRITE A NOTE

When is the last time you wrote a personal note to a student expressing how proud you are of him or her, and how grateful you feel to be their principal?

A simple way to celebrate student success is by writing a personal note. Whether students are six years old or 16 years old, receiving a note from you filled with praise and encouragement will always warms their hearts!

#3 SEND A NOTE/EMAIL/TEXT TO A PARENT OR GUARDIAN

Parents and guardians love when a teacher acknowledges their child's accomplishments. Now imagine how they would feel if a principal took time to inform them of their child’s progress!

Sending a note, email, or text to a student’s parents or guardian will give the student a sense of pride that their principal has taken the time to share something they have done well in class. It can also facilitate familial discussions about schoolwork, academic goals, challenges, and more.

#4 MORNING ANNOUNCEMENT ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Students love to hear their name called over the loud speaker for doing something special. Consider spotlighting a student or class during announcements at least once each week. Alternate the morning announcement  acknowledgments between academic achievements, acts of service, exemplary behavior, athletic feats, and art projects.

Diversifying what you celebrate during morning announcements ensures all students are motivated to improve and work to achieve their goals!

#5 SCHOOL CELEBRATION SPACE

Designate a bulletin board or display case where students are celebrated! Each month, the school’s “celebration space” should spotlight multiple students from each grade level. Principals should confer with faculty to brainstorm the details and execution of the school’s celebration space. Some items to discuss with faculty are:

  • What accomplishments are worthy of being displayed?

  • How can you ensure a diverse group of students are featured in the celebration space?

  • What items should be included with each student’s celebration? (i.e. projects, pictures, newspaper clippings, student write-ups)

  • How can the faculty generate buzz about the celebration space and make it something students want to check out each month.

#6 OUR SCHOOL SUCCESS CHEST

It’s no secret that teachers are the most powerful motivators in the school. The relationships formed in the classroom between teachers and students are invaluable to any initiative or goal a principal wants to achieve. Principals need to make sure they are motivating their motivators!

Principals should encourage teachers to “brag and boast” about growth and successes! Acknowledging even the smallest successes will boost morale!

Start an Our School Success Chest where teachers can submit their own achievements, a student’s success, or a colleague’s accomplishment. Simply, print out cards and pass them out to every member of your faculty. Staff can add cards to the chest throughout the school year. Then, each week pull out a few cards to share either in faculty meetings or in staff emails.

#7 ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE CEREMONY

Hold a simple awards ceremony twice each semester to recognize students’ achievements! Awards should be thoughtfully considered and based on personal growth, character, and academic achievements (awards should not be presented as rewards and prizes). If principals want to keep the awards ceremony simple, they can hold the awards ceremony during lunch and invite teachers to attend with their celebrated student! Or principals can hold the awards ceremony after school and can extend the invitation to parents and family members of the honored students.

Special note: Remember to include English Language Learners and Special Education students in these ceremonies.

#8 SHARE SOCIALLY

It’s the digital age and that means most students respond to tweets, apps, and videos! If they can see it on a screen, it captures their attention.

Celebrate the achievements of your digital natives and create a one or two-minute video highlighting pictures of past projects and classroom happenings. Share these videos on the school’s Facebook page!

 

IN CONCLUSION

Motivating students by celebrating their achievements will lead them to greater success in school. Encouraging your students to believe in themselves can have a lasting impact both inside and outside of school.

I recently listened to a TED talk given by Rita Pierson. Until her passing in June of 2013, Pierson worked in education for over 40 years. Her TED talk is entitled Every Kid Needs a Champion. In it, she tells the story of one year when she had a particularly difficult class and how she shared a saying with them: "I am somebody. I was somebody when I came. I'll be a better somebody when I leave. I am powerful, and I am strong. I deserve the education that I get here. I have things to do, people to impress, and places to go."

This year I encourage you to motivate your students by being their champion and celebrating their achievements both big and small.

Download the 10 Ways Teachers Can Motivate Students and Celebrate Student Success in the Classroom Tip Sheet now.

Download the 8 Ways Principals Can Motivate Students and Celebrate Student Success in the Classroom Tip Sheet now.

 

 

 

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