Student Recognition and Award Programs Reinforce Achievement

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.

Good Job!
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 ribbonsRibbon 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 pinsButtons 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 tagsDog 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 trophiesPlaques 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?

4-H Field Trip

This morning we were the lucky hosts to members of the 4-H club from Franklin, Connecticut.  After earning a few of their own ribbons, they took a field trip to visit our Rhode Island factory and see how awards are made. 

Here are a few photos from the tour with Rick Hodges:

Snapping together freshly printed Cloverbud dog tags

Checking out rosette assembly (the red, yellow and green boxes are Empire rosette tops)

Standing with our Holsworthy rosettes- they were almost as big as the girls!

Posing with our Hodges mascot after the tour.

Are you part of a school, equestrian, 4-H or community group that would like to tour or Rhode Island or Missouri facilities?  Let us know and we’ll be happy to work something out!

Getting Ready for Field Day

It’s about the time of year when students look forward to a very special day– Field Day!  If you haven’t yet planned for your Field Day awards or takeaways, don’t worry.  We’ve compiled a list of suggestions that should fit the bill.

The “Focus, Fun, Finish” Field Day ribbon, our Field Day Ribbon Roll, and our Field Day Award Ribbon are all Quick Ship items, which means they ship in 24 hours when you call in your order, and in 72 hours when you order online.

The 100 yard Field Day Ribbon Roll gives you six hundred 2″ x 6″ ribbons, which equals out to cost less than 10 cents per ribbon.  Of course, custom ribbon rolls are also a popular choice.

Many schools also choose our Star or Torch Award Ribbons which come in first through sixth place, and also have a Participant award.

Need to advertise your event?  Our new lower-priced banners will hold up outdoors and help you get the word out.

Lastly, we hope everyone (students and teachers alike) enjoys their special day.  Don’t forget the sunscreen!

Have you bought or sold awards on ebay?

It recently was brought to my attention that new, unused rosettes  had been offered for sale in several online auctions through ebay.  While it turns out that a show was selling their unused ribbons as part of a charity auction, the scenario still made me wonder- would you buy or sell previously awarded ribbons or rosettes on ebay? 

Sure enough, looking on ebay, there are plenty of ribbons for sale, both new and vintage, from single Grand Prix championship rosettes to lots of 50 smaller and simpler ribbons. I understand that a quilter might be using these ribbons as material for their craft, or a decorator might be interested in the vintage rosettes for an artistic endeavor.   And we would never claim to have a say in what happens to our awards after they are shipped out the door.

But who is scooping up these lots of ribbon for $1 or $2?  Maybe someone running a therapeutic facility snatches up the awards at a low cost.  Have you sold off ribbons on ebay to prepare for a move or clean out your child’s closet?  We’re honestly just curious.  Let us know of your experiences in the comments.

So you had a bad day…

I’m sure everyone’s heard the song with the chorus “So you had a bad day” by Daniel Powter.  You know, the one that was used for American Idol eliminations a few seasons back?  (Click here to view the video if you’ve forgotten).  Everyone, especially the students we coach, teach, or work with has a bad day once in a while.  It might be a practice that doesn’t go as planned, a fall off a horse, or an injury.  Maybe it’s something simple, like a student upset about a grade or finishing “out of the medals” at an event.

While a few kind words and a hug are certainly the first line of response when helping those who are having a bad day, at Hodges we have a few things that should come in handy when you need to cheer someone up.

All of the products listed above are part of our Express Line- which means they can ship in 72 hours when ordered online, but could go out in 24 hours if ordered by phone.  They’re also affordable ($8.50 or less for a pack of 25). 

Have you used one of our ribbons or other products to help cheer someone up?  We’d love to hear your story.  Let us know in the comments.

Why We Help YOU Save Money

As I travel across the country speaking to customers at different fairs, events, and trade shows, I usually find myself pointing out ways to help a customer cut costs on their award order.  They (the customers) are almost always surprised that someone who works for Hodges would do something that could directly result in the customer spending less with our company.  The truth is, I’m not the only one who’s in the habit of helping people save money.  Our Customer Service reps do it on the phone all the time. 

Just why do we do this?  What matters most to the company is customer satisfaction and loyalty.  Yes, what could have been a $200 ribbon order may now be $170, but their satisfaction will often merit a repeat purchase.  And a satisfied customer is more likely to spread the word about Hodges Badge to others that need to buy awards.  Just think of the money word of mouth saves us in advertising (haha!).

Do you have an example of a time one of our reps helped save you money on your order?  Or maybe you have a tip on how to use a product that could help others buying awards?  For a list of ideas, check out one of our other posts here.

Dos and Don’ts for our Cover Contest

I am fresh from reviewing all of the entries for the Hodges Badge Company 2011 Equestrian Catalog cover contest.   Thank you to everyone that submitted an entry! With next year in mind, I want to offer you a few tips on what works (and what doesn’t).  While the next deadline isn’t until October 2011, we will accept your submissions at any time during the year.

Here are the Don’ts:

  • Don’t submit another company’s ribbon or trophy.  The awards must be from Hodges.  No exceptions.
  • Don’t submit an out-of-focus award.  We need to be able to read the print.
  • Don’t try too hard to be cute. 
  • Don’t demonstrate unsafe riding.  Make sure your helmet fits, and don’t stand next to a horse while barefoot.
  • Don’t fail to consider your background composition- a porta-potty behind your horse, or telephone pole sprouting from the rider’s head etc.
  • Don’t cut off heads or feet!

And the Dos:

  • Do send photos of less frequently awarded items  such as trophies, medals and plaques. 
  • Send entries that are different- llama or donkey shows, driving, side saddle, vaulting, sledding rallies.  While I realize the majority of our customers ride English or Western, we need to represent all horse pursuits.
  • Feel free to send multiple photos.  If you send more than 10, please vary the composition, lighting, etc.
  • Follow the rules for your discipline – helmets on in the ring, keepers in place on your bridle, etc.
  • Respond when we call you! Every year at least one ‘winner’ fails to get back to us and we have to dig deeper for another photo.
  • Use a fill flash on sunny days – otherwise foreheads under helmets are too dark for us to use.