Awards for All

A recent post about a school’s continued policy of honor roll ceremonies reminded me of one of my favorite end-of-school celebrations, my class’ Awards for All ceremony. These awards are not to celebrate academic achievement (too many would be left out if that was the case) but rather to celebrate students for their hard work, their personalities, and/or their uniqueness. Each and every student receives an individualized certificate and they absolutely love trying to figure out who I’m talking about as I describe the recipients before announcing their names.

Here are some certificates I’ve handed out to beaming students in the past:

  • Having the most surprising ideas in read aloud.
  • Being the best board washer.
  • Always knowing the difference between right and wrong.
  • Growing to be more confident in yourself.
  • Greatest achievement in extended day games.
  • Most effective use of new vocabulary.
  • Consistently cleaning the classroom without being asked.
  • Most improved use of the pencil.
  • Clearest reading in front of the class.
  • Improvement in math.
  • Greatest potential for success.
  • Most enthusiastic learner.
  • Most respectful.
  • Most eager translating.
  • Greatest personal improvement from the pprevious year.
  • Always smiling nicely in photographs.
  • Kindness toward all.
  • Greatest growth in the use of English.
  • Quiet excellence.
  • Consistently providing amusement.
  • Most steadfast devotion to the New York Yankees.
  • Most infectious laugh.
  • Honorable humility.
  • Hardest working student.
  • Always being friendly, helpful, and respectful.
  • Making new friends quickly in a new class.
  • Most improved behavior.
  • Best use of the word “scrumptious”.
  • Most excited student.
  • Working so hard to stay happy.
  • Always being confident.

These awards are so much more meaningful than arbitrary ones given for good grades. With Awards for All, everyone shines for something unique to them. Everyone is made to feel special. We have to celebrate students for who they are and not castigate them for what they aren’t.




4 responses to “Awards for All

  1. Though celebrating academic achievement is important, it should be celebrated for all students, not just for a select few. If each child’s achievement and growth were measured against him/herself and not against what the powers that be consider the norm, then the awards become inclusive, not exclusive, as they are now. Until that happens( and I’m not optimistic that it will) in my opinion, “Awards for All” is the way to go. What a personal way to recognize everyone and celebrate the individuality of all students. If I recall correctly, that student with the “Most steadfast devotion to the New York Yankees,” presented her teacher with a surprise award and he was “tickled pink.”

  2. Nice! We do a similar thing in my class each year as well. The kids love getting the certificates and laughing at some of the sillier ones that we come up with.

  3. Pingback: Remainders: Comparing old and new schools that could close | GothamSchools

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