Monday, May 4, 2009

Recognizing Student Achievement

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.

Mr. McClung


Sam Sherratt said...


I like this idea and I'm going to steal it!!!

Sam Sherratt

NZWaikato said...

We have a world map up on the wall and sticker every visit we get, plus we also print out a hall of fame about our visits and nice comments that we get from different locations. I also make a point of putting up the weekend sports results.

My Teacher Hat said...

I love your ideas! And what a fabulous video.

One thing I do that is very successful with 7th graders is to have a "Good Questions Board." It's a posterboard where I write the questions that really WOW me, along with the name of the questioner. A spot on the board is highly coveted. When it fills up, I hang it somewhere else in the room or in the hallway, and we start a new one.

Examples of good questions:
"Could there ever be more than three [spatial] dimensions?"
"How did all these elements and chemicals get started in the first place?"
"Is there a 'hot' opposite to absolute zero?"

jkmcclung said...

Mr. Webb, thank you and I really love your ideas of posting comments and visits on the wall. Great way to keep students motivated with technology.

Teacher Hat, I love this idea. What a positive way to encourage great discussion and inquiry.

John Strange said...

I agree. This also applies to college students. We emphasize grades and give very little feedback in a timely way. I would rather abandon grades and institute better feedback mechanisms. So you have encouraged me to try to do better next semester and to generate some effective and TIMELY feedback mechanisms for my college students.

This may be a multiple Comment. If so, delete. Firefox is not indicating that it is being posted. I'll try one more time.