Award certificates are an actionable way to help students recognize the progress they are making in math!
The great thing about these free printable award certificates for elementary students is that they are specific to math class. One of the things to keep in mind about best practices for student rewards is that they need to be specific. Both parents and students like when they can see that certain behaviors are noted.
I used the generic “notes home” notepads for a while, but I now use the award certificates in the Math Awards Kit because they identify specific things that I want students and parents to focus on.
To me, this is the one area that can’t be rewarded enough. Especially in cases when a student and their parent(s) have been notified about areas in which he or she is struggling in math. Sending an award certificate home about the improvement you have seen will send the message that you are monitoring progress and cheering them on to succeed. The Math Class Improvement Notification award has check boxes for these improvements:
While I usually send Math Class Improvement Notification award to a parent or guardian, I always ask the student if there is anyone else who they would like to have receive this. Sometimes a student will want it sent to their principal, counselor, coach, or favorite teacher. Occasionally, I will copy this notification award a few times so as many people as possible can recognize the students for their hard work.
I’m always encouraging students to improve their use of the Standards for Math Practice (SMPs) or Process Standards. It’s not just about the content (numbers, algebra, geometry, data, and measurement), but also about the reasoning skills and mental predispositions need to successfully solve problems and make connections from math to the real world. I have written extensively about the SMPs on the Sadlier Math Blog.
You can access the Outstanding Math Practices award certificate when you download the Math Awards Kit. This certificate has check boxes so you can identify which math practices the student is using and a 'Description of success' area where you can write additional notes about their improvements.
It’s so important to make sure that struggling students know their math facts. If students don’t know these facts they have trouble keeping up with what’s going on, whether it’s examples from the teacher, a classroom discussion, or group work. In the Math Awards Kit I've included four award certificates for elementary students that recognize mastery of basic math facts.
I once searched online for a set of basic fact mastery certificates to download and was surprised that I couldn’t find a set of them for all four operations! I had to go to different sites to get the different operations or needed to print up a generic certificate that had all four operations on one certificate (and which directed me to circle the one the student mastered).
Well, my certificate problems are now solved! The design team at Sadlier helped me create beautiful certificates for all four operations that can be downloaded and printed as a set. There are four certificates that you can copy and have hand for when a student becomes “fast and accurate.”
Especially for my struggling students, I want ways to recognize their small or large steps of progress. This is one of the central tenets of helping students develop a growth mindset—to set expectations about growth and to let students know when and how they are meeting these expectations.
In the areas of basic facts, math practices, and specific classroom behaviors that lead to growth, it is important to send positive messages to students. Having these certificates and notes home available allows you to quickly respond when you see their improvements. Being specific with the praise helps students (and parents) know that you care about how they are doing and strengthens their motivation to continue making progress in your class. Download the Math Awards Kit now!