Tuesday, May 30, 2017

What's Your Quote? A New Idea For End-of-the-Year Awards

Hello, summer!  Those are the magic words that all teachers long to hear, right?  It's sometimes a bit bittersweet, as many of us are saying goodbye to some special students.  I began teaching at a new school two years ago, so now I get to teach GT to identified students 3rd-6th grade at a very small, rural school.  I am also responsible for whole-group enrichment kindergarten through sixth grade, but this post will focus on my identified students.

The students at my new school seemed SO different from the students at my former school.  The new kiddos weren't used to having a teacher like me, one who expects to be amazed on a regular basis, and who wasn't used to students just not doing their work.  We were all going through some,,,ummmm,,, adjustments.  It was a tough first semester; in fact, the whole year was a bit difficult.  My fifth graders were a fairly large group for a GT class, fourteen in all, all with large personalities. It was not exactly going the way I had hoped, so I made some changes.  I backed off a little with my expectations and decided to let them warm up to me a little bit.  And it worked.  These kiddos who wore me out every single day ended up making me fall in love with every single one of them.  Where I couldn't wait for their fifth grade year to end, I was so sad to see their sixth grade year begin to dwindle to nothing.

I decided that I wanted to do something special, to commemorate their sixth grade graduation from our gifted and talented program.  One of my students had a pool at their house, so I talked to my principal about having our end-of-the-year party there.  And she said yes!  Wow!  I was so very excited, and so were the kids.  I knew that I wanted to make it super special by giving them each some type of end-of-the-year award, but I didn't exactly know what.  I was thinking about choosing the most creative, etc.  Of course, like everyone else, the end of the year is nuts, so I procrastinated a bit.

As I was looking up some ideas for awards online, I stumbled upon this quote:

Be a fruit loop in a world of cheerios via https://iheartinspiration.com:

And immediately, I knew exactly who this quote represented and exactly what I should do next.  So instead of giving awards, I made medals for the students.  Well, not really medals--they were just necklaces with laminated quotes on them. a personal one for each student.  Yes, I was out of time, and yes, these took me forever, but I think they were so perfect for my smarties.  I also named the award and wrote each student a note on the back of their medal.

This one was the "Fruit Loop Award", of course, for my favorite fruit loop. :)  Here are some of the others I chose for my smarties:

Stand Up For What Is Right Even If You Are Standing Alone. #antibullying #inspiration:

This was the "Superhero Award", given to someone who always stands up for herself and others and always stands on her principles.


The "Mary Poppins Award", for the students that always adds that special element of fun to whatever task is given...

brushed lettering by the lovely drawer - you're killing it!:

This one is for the kiddo who always shows that he's awesome.

Did you know it takes a pineapple over 2 years to mature fully? Kind of like a fitness journey. It doesn't happen overnight.It takes growth and inner strength to be that pineapple. https://www.facebook.com/moxiefitnessapparel:

The "Pineapple Award" went to the student who always stood up for what she believed in and was always kind to others. <3

The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go (8/?) Prints, shirts, pillows, and more: RB // S6 // TeePublic:

The "Bookworm Award" for that student who is definitely going places...

This is a value I'd like to uphold: to help make a positive difference in other peoples' lives. To make people happier.:

The "Kid President Award", given to the student who always had a kind, encouraging word and who was always had a positive impact on the class.

"Words are in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustable source of magic" - Albus Dumbledore Quote - Harry Potter - J.K. Rowling - Art Print on Etsy by MiniPress:

The "Big Mouth Award", given to that special child who never closes their mouth. LOL!  But, really, those students are oftentimes the most special of all--the one brave enough to share their experiences, their thoughts, their dreams--the one brave enough to share their voice.  I wanted to make sure she knew that I appreciated her for sharing all of herself, for that is how we truly learn from ourselves and others. <3

Creating these awards made me really think about each student (and there were others; I just needed to complete this post.) and choose the quote that best suited them and could best inspire and reward them.  It was my way to show my love.

And they weren't hard to make.  I bought the ball chain, closures, and hangers at Hobby Lobby, printed the quotes on cardstock, wrote their notes on the back, laminated them, and put them together.  I think that they loved them!

Oh, and I made myself one, too...

Don't ever be ashamed of loving the strange things that make your weird little heart happy.:

At the pool party, I announced this one for myself first.  As soon as I read it aloud, my "Big Mouth" yelled, "And we are the Strange Things!!"  I smiled so big, bigly really.  I almost cried. :)