As teachers we asked a lot of our students everyday. We ask for work to be done, high energy, and participation every hour of the day....but what do we give them in return?
One aspect of teaching that often gets over looked is recognizing and celebrating student achievement. We ask our student to produce everyday, but honestly we do not always give them the positive feedback we should. Receiving a grade is not a great motivator, students need to see that their teacher is pleased with the outcome.
In my classroom I use two strategies to help provide positive feedback to my students. The first is the wall of fame. At the beginning of the school year I explain to my students that I expect high quality work from them, and our wall of fame is just the place for that high quality work. Any student that does an outstanding job gets their paper placed on the wall. I really try to convey the message to my students that I am not looking for 100% papers, rather I am looking for exemplary work.
At the beginning our wall is pretty bear, but our goal is to have every student represented on this board before the school year is out. Students make it to the wall by outstanding work, awards, and also any other efforts that deserve recognition.
Looks like a mess right? That is the intent. It is so important to have an area in your classroom dedicated to your student's work, not only does it show you care but it also gives the student ownership of that room/subject.
Lastly is our classroom score board. In my classroom I use a system that is called Power Teaching, in this system there is a score board method that is used to recognize desire behaviors and undesired behaviors. This is called the "might oh-yeah" and the "might grown". It's simple, if students do something that is pleasing to the teacher, you give them a tally mark on the smiley face side. If not, a tally mark on the sad face side. Below is a video of my students displaying the "mighty oh-yeah".
To reward students you do not have to use candy or parties, all it takes is simple actions that show them that you care and appreciate their work. I invite anyone to use either strategy in their classroom, I know it has worked wonderfully for my students.