Commemorating the Year
It’s that time of year – crunch time! With standardized testing, continuing to bounce back and forth from in person to hybrid to concurrent to virtual teaching, report cards, parent conferences, and packing up a classroom, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I get it. One way I add some joy and personalization to the end-of-the-year is by giving every child in my class an award. Since I have taught 4th or 5th grade for the last decade, two of the awards sets I have created feature 4th and 5th grade clip art, but I made a new set last year that will work for any elementary grade level. Last year and this year, I would skip perfect attendance (although most of my students would get that one) and honor roll. Why? 2020 – 2021 has been challenging for everyone. It would be easy for many students to feel left out (or even guilty or sad) if classmates were honored for perfect attendance or honor roll when they struggled to attend classes as often as they could. However, with 27 character traits to choose from, there’s something for everyone.
Feedback from Other Teachers
In years prior to last year, I usually just matched students with the awards that I thought fit them best. Last year, however, I decided to let my students vote and (as always) was so impressed at how accurate their assessments of their classmates were. I made a simple Google form and let my students vote. Last year, I had a class of 28, so I asked them to refrain from voting for themselves and it worked out.
After my students voted, I gathered the information and prepared digital certificates for each child. When I am teaching in person, I use the black and white versions and print them out on colorful card stock. Each award set includes black and white and color PDFs, editable black and white and color options, and color digital options. Since I’m virtual this year, I’ll be using the digital versions again. It’s pretty easy to find award ceremony music on YouTube or you can make a playlist of songs you class enjoys to add a festive air.
I hope you have some new ideas for an end-of-year ceremony. Enjoy the Google Form! We’re in the homestretch. You’ve got this!