Today’s students are involved in a wide variety of activities in and out of the classroom. They participate in Spelling Bees, athletics, reading contests, clubs, and Science Fairs to name just a few. There are also many classroom opportunities to celebrate success and accomplishment every day. A simple, budget friendly recognition program can provide the tools needed to encourage achievement and motivate students to perform at their highest level – while still having fun.
Rewarding students for positive contributions and achievements builds self-esteem and confidence. With feelings of confidence come positive behavioral choices immediately apparent to teachers, school administrators, and parents alike. Sometimes a well-timed “excellent!” or “good job!” is all that is needed.
Opportunities for Recognition
Take every opportunity to celebrate and reward successes – the small ones and the big ones. Think about using simple recognition awards every day when you are asking your students questions about homework, helping out other students, or participating in class. Here are some recognition opportunities to consider:
- Academic excellence – Celebrate specific milestone accomplishments in Reading, Writing, Science, and Math. Students who show extraordinary scholastic achievement deserve recognition along with students who are working hard to improve their grades.
- Classroom participation – Maintaining a high level of classroom participation can often be a struggle. Simple classroom participation ribbons are a great way to get students excited about participating in class. If they are participating they are learning!
- Spelling Bee – The Spelling Bee is a traditional competitive event where there can be many winners. Consider participant awards for all of those students that participated in the event. Adding your school identification to any award makes the award important and special.
- Citizenship – Recognize students with all around good behavior, manners, and respect for others. A most worthy award!
- Attendance – Good attendance should be rewarded at end of year award ceremonies but also consider using attendance awards more frequently during the school year. Try a monthly attendance award.
- Student of the Month – Create your own Student of the Month Award to reward students exceeding your expectations.
- Leadership – Reward the students that provide leadership for classroom projects and activities.
- End of the year award ceremonies – All students have unique abilities and interests and it is important that their individual qualities are recognized at end of the year award ceremonies. From an award for “Being on Time All the Time” to “Always Completes their Homework” to the “Mad Scientist” award (most creative with their Science experiments), these rising stars all need a pat on the back.
What Types of Recognitions and Awards Should You Give?
There are many factors to be considered when choosing the right recognition program for your school or classroom, including: What milestones or behaviors do I want to reward? Do I want my recognition awards customized with school logo and personalized messages? How do I get the most value on a limited budget?
The following is a list of recognition award solutions to help you make the right choice for your program.
- Ribbons and Ribbon rolls – Kids love ribbons! Ribbon rolls are one of the most cost-effective choices teachers and school administrators can make to reward students. A teacher or principal can easily store hundreds of customized ribbons on a single ribbon roll and just cut them off the roll to award students as needed. Ribbons and ribbon rolls are make great on-the-spot awards – economical and easy to use when you want to reward a student immediately in class. Customized ribbon rolls can be printed with your school logo and your own personal achievement message.
- Buttons and pins – Buttons and pins are another economical way to appreciate students for a job well done. They are also a preferred choice for building school spirit. Why not hand all students a button customized with the school mascot to display their pride at major athletic events, musical performances, or even to welcome them back to school. Any school sponsored activity can be acknowledged with personalized buttons, giving students who wear them a feeling of belonging and pride.
- Medals – Medals are an exceptional way to recognize a student who has achieved a great milestone or goal. They are typically given at award ceremonies where a student is called upon to take center stage before his peers and be recognized for academic or athletic excellence.
- Dog tags – Dog tags are the hottest trend! Kids love wearing customized dog tags on chains and using them as key chains. Customized dog tags provide a unique way to recognize students and give them a sense of pride and honor when participating in school activities and athletics. They are a great choice for recognizing individual or team accomplishments.
- Plaques and trophies – Plaques and trophies are the traditional recognition awards preferred for End of the Year Awards ceremonies. These are awards students will cherish for a lifetime and frequently are displayed on a student’s bedroom shelf or hang on their wall as a constant reminder of their achievements.
Recognition and award programs can have a major impact on academic performance and are easy to implement, especially in K through 4th grade classrooms. All students have a need to be recognized for jobs well done. Confidence soars, grades improve, school pride escalates, and students are primed for continued success throughout their educational careers. After all, who couldn’t use a little recognition for a job well done every now and then?