Celebrations

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ChristyF, Jul 19, 2014.

  1. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jul 19, 2014

    Something I saw on a thread has me curious. Does your school have celebrations for academic achievements? (Making honor roll, meeting AR or AM goal, reading a certain number of books, etc). We do at my school. We celebrate those achievements a lot. We don't do anything to "rub in the face" of those who don't meet them, but we do celebrate the good. We've discussed this topic a dozen different ways and times. We see it as something that was earned and deserves celebrations. I've seen others talk about not celebrating those things because it makes the ones who didn't achieve them feel bad. I certainly do everything I can to never cause pain or unhappiness to my kids, but ...I don't know, if we don't teach them how to approach things that make them uncomfortable or unhappy now - aren't we setting them up for failure? I am an admitted Pollyanna. My friends and family call me that all the time. I always look for the good. The world's not all good, though. People don't always get what they want. We see that all the time. We deal with it because we were taught how to deal with it. I personally feel that society has pushed so far in the other direction that we are raising a generation of kids who don't know how to fail. Or rather, they don't know how to fail and then pick themselves back up. Because we're all standing there, leaned forward, ready to grab them the second they stumble. They never have to pick themselves up because we do it for them.
    I think of the analogy of learning to ride your bike. Your mom or dad run alongside you holding you upright, keeping you safe, every wobble, every stone, every hole...they're there. At some point, though, they let go. They take off the training wheels and send us off into the scary world all on our own. We wobble, we wiggle, and we wreck. We cry, we get band aids, and we get back on. We learn to lean into those curves and go loose on those wobbles. We learn to hold the bike up - all by ourselves. I think, in society today, we are leaving those training wheels on. It's not just the celebrations. It's the mom that descends on us the second their child struggles, demanding that we fix it. It's the dad that complains that the project was too hard, so they told their child they didn't have to do it. It's the begging for bonus points on tests that were failed because the child just didn't study. It's never letting kids stand on their own when things get tough.
    I don't know if any of this rambling makes any sense, but it's something my principal and I have been discussing quite often, and it's something we want to address, and try to change. It's a tough, scary world out there. I want to know my kids are going into with with their heads held high, ready for the good and the bad.
     
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  3. chitown

    chitown Companion

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    Jul 19, 2014

    The school that I was at this past year had an awards ceremony, and my sons' school had a celebration also. I have no problem with the ceremonies and I believe that those who do achieve should be rewarded. Some of these kids that get straight A's or all A's and B's work their butts off for those grades, so why shouldn't they be recognized for it? Maybe the awards ceremonies will motivate some of the kids who don't put in a lot of effort and get them to start doing their best so they can be recognized. And for those who do their best and still can't make honor rolls, can't the schools recognize them in alternate ways? Why can't schools give awards to those who always do their best, students who never stop trying, students who excel in non-academic ways?

    And I agree completely that we do have to let go of the bike at some point so these kids learn how to deal with disappointing situations and move on from them. Life is full of adversity, if they experience a little bit of it in childhood, then they'll understand how to deal with it in adulthood.
     
  4. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    Jul 20, 2014

    Every six weeks we have AR reading Rally. Kids get awards for reading and AR testing. The criteria changes every six weeks on what the awards are. Most of the time the teachers who are involved make sure that it's not the same kids over and over but sometimes it does happen. This is also the time the principal hands out behavior awards. We have caught being good tickets. The kids fill them out and they go in a box to draw from. We also do the same for perfect attendance for the six weeks. Teachers also pick a student of the six weeks and they get to have lunch with the principal.
    We have an end of the year award ceremony that we give awards for honor roll, STARR results and perfect attendance for the year.
     
  5. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Yes, we do celebrations at our school. I really think how celebrations are done should be really be improved in our schools, and I am starting to try to do that.

    Imagine if there was a celebration for adult men in a weight loss program. Imagine 3 adults. Adult#1 weighs 170 and at the end weighs 165. Adult#2 weighs 280 and at the end weighs 190. Adult #3 weighs 160 and at the end weighs 165 (gaining 5 pounds). Who should we be celebrating? Shouldn't it be adult #2? However, in our system we don't reward improvement, we reward only achievement. If the weight loss program was like our school celebrations, Adult#1 and Adult #3 would be walking home with awards, while Adult#2 gets nothing.

    Instead this is what I think is better, and I have implemented in my classroom. In January, I identify 1 or 2 goals for each of my students. To make it easier with a class of 30, I often pick about 5 or 6 goals. I then discuss each of the goals with each of the students and see if they agree that they can do it. Anyone who earns the goal gets an award at the end of the year, those who don't, don't get one. I make sure each child is challenged fairly equally, and all have a reasonable chance of success. I have only done this one year, but it was a success. No one argued, although one A student who didn't get an award said to me, "I guess I need to work harder next time."

    IMO, students should earn their rewards based on how much they learn that year and improvement should be a part of that decision.
     
  6. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jul 20, 2014

    I really like the idea of including improvement. We do have a most improved award that is given each six weeks I just wish we could share what they were improving in.
     
  7. 2ndTimeAround

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    I don't know how I feel about it. As a parent and a teacher it is frustrating to see the same kids get awards over and over. Not necessarily because they are the best at something but instead because they game the system.

    In second grade my daughter never won the AR book award. Never had a shot. Because the award wasn't given for points earned, but instead for number of books read. The girl that won it every grading period, each year, would read super short books while my child came in second or third because she read the Harry Potter books that year.

    At a school in my district it is impossible to make valedictorian unless your parents have quite a bit of extra money. In order to get the outrageous GPAs that those kids get, you have to take as few non-honors/non-AP classes possible. That means taking regular courses online in 8th grade (so the GPA doesn't transfer), at parental cost. Or, waiting and taking a college version of it as a junior or senior for AP credit. We require a PE course in NC. There is no honors version of that course. If you take it you can only get a 4.0 averaged into your GPA. But if you wait until you can drive, you can take PE at the university as dual enrollment and get 6.0 averaged in for an A.

    This option is only available to the students that can afford to pay for the college courses, a car for transportation and parking fees on campus.

    There are plenty of students at that school who can get straight A's all through high school. But the ones that receive awards for their grades are the ones that have the ability to buy different opportunities.
     
  8. Go Blue!

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    Jul 20, 2014

    We have an award event (usually pizza and soda) for the Honor Roll kids every quarter. We don't do school wide celebrations or recognitions. We also give attendance prizes (more pizza and soda) during the state testing period.

    Pretty much the same handful of kids get the reward every quarter for Honor Roll and that doesn't bother me. If a child doesn't earn Honor Roll, then they don't get it.
     
  9. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    2ndTime, does your school not pay for college classes? We are required to. The only thing the student has to figure out is how to get there.

    We do an awards ceremony every year. I think it's okay. We do an award for every class. The P tries to spread the wealth a bit. If student A is already getting 3 and I have a very close second runner-up, that student B may get the award. That part I'm not sure about. I feel like if you get the award, you get it. Period.
     
  10. 2ndTimeAround

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    No, we don't. It shocks me that yours does. Why should the local district pay for college courses? This isn't an early college program that is supported by Bill Gates or other grants. This is just regular high school. High school that offers all the courses that children need to get accepted to a university or find employment after graduation. Including AP courses that are taught by school employees.
     
  11. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I could be wrong, but I believe it is a state requirement here. All public schools I've been in have had to pay it. It's part of the PSEO program. That's why some schools put severe limits on it because they don't want to lose the funding.

    ETA: I looked it up and to be honest I'm a bit confused. There are two payment options and it looks like the parents decide. One option is to pay it themselves. The other option the district pays. Obviously I've never seen anyone choose the first option. We try to encourage kids to take the high school courses. There's no doubt that our AP course is more demanding than Comp 1 and 2. Every single student who's taken both has said that. College courses for us don't count as a weighted GPA so anyone trying for val/sal usually take the APs. Some take both and then just don't take the AP test. Some schools have requirements where if the course is offered at the high school, students have to take it there. So if they wanted to take calculus but the school offered it, they couldn't do it PSEO and have the district pay. I've only heard of a couple that do that so I'm not sure how that works either.
     
  12. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Jul 20, 2014

    We don't. We have PBIS assemblies every quarter where students are recognized for good behaviors. It honestly didn't occur to me until now that we don't have honor roll or anything.

    My last school recognized the 3rd graders (which is what I taught) who passed the state reading test at the end of the year assembly. 3rd grade is the only grade that gets their scores back while school is still in session, and it's for reading only. Everyone who passed got called up to get a certificate. I didn't like that at all, because then it was painfully obvious who didn't pass. They also took the kids who passed on a field trip to the movies. I would have much rather this been a field trip for students who consistently put in their best effort throughout the entire testing. Some of my kids were obviously just not there yet and passing was totally out of their control. I remember sharing that with my mom last year and she said if it were me who didn't pass she would have kept me home that day and done something "way more fun" than going to the movies!

    dgpia- I think the post secondary program is pretty unique to OH. I remember reading somewhere that there are only a couple of states that do it. I had friends involved in it in HS. I actually had a friend who graduated college at 19 because of it...truthfully I'd never want to do that though because she missed out on both experiences of high school and college. I know they don't have the program out here.
     
  13. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Waterfall, I never realized it before. For some reason I just thought it was a national thing. I agree with you 100%. Our kids who do full time their senior years almost always regret it and wish they'd either done nothing or just part time.
     
  14. gr3teacher

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    Disgusting. I'm appalled at this treatment of third graders.
     
  15. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jul 21, 2014

    In the past we gave awards for earning Advanced (highest level), but that's different. At my previous school my principal would give out tshirts to those who passed. It was the stupidest thing ever. His actions are one of the reasons I left that school.

     
  16. otterpop

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    I was a good student in school, and those award programs meant a lot to me. In the real world, grown ups get awards for all kinds of things - teacher of the year, employee of the month, cash rewards for meeting sales goals. High school athletes usually get a lot of recognition, and I think that academic success should be celebrated at an equal caliber. I didn't work hard specifically to earn recognition, but having someone say good job after you put in your best effort feels good.

    I think there has to be a healthy balance. I'm not sure what that is though. I think everyone needs at least a chance to receive something. That fifth grader who went from a first grade reading level to a fourth grade reading level in a year should have some hope of getting an award. Maybe if there were fewer awards, they would be more meaningful? It is a tricky area, and the more I think about it, the more confused I get about where I stand on the subject.
     
  17. otterpop

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    I think this is fair. It makes the Honor Roll kids feel good without putting it in the others' faces.
     
  18. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jul 21, 2014

    Well said :hugs:
     
  19. Go Blue!

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    Well, the kids who made the HR are called to the cafeteria over the loud speaker to get their pizza and soda so there is some form of school-wide recognition, it's just not an assembly (which I would prefer).

    I may be in the minority, but I have no problem with the same kids always getting the awards if they are academic awards (in any form). I don't think it's necessary to be fair and find creative ways to recognize the kids who did not meet the academic "goals" or aims (creative being "improvement awards" and such). I don't believe in giving everyone a trophy so their feelings are not hurt.

    Now, I do believe in finding more inclusive ways and trying to recognize as many students as possible if the reward is for good behavior.
     
  20. TnKinder

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    Jul 21, 2014

    When I was in school K-12, there was an award assembly every grading period. And it was a big deal, kids performed, choirs sang, and the band played. It was an awards party, and I loved it! There were a few categories, principals list (all A's), honor roll (A's &B's), citizenship (all E's and and/or S's in conduct), and most improved. I was on the kids who got an award somtimes multiple awards each time. You couldn't get pricipal's list or honor roll with out having good conduct. I never once felt bad for the kid who didn't. I worked hard for my good grades. I think we do kids a disservice by rewarding the fact that they came to school and sat in a chair. If there is a standard, and it's not met, no reward should be given. We can't shield kids from hurt feeling and the sting of disappointment all the time. If we do that, when they go out into the world, they will be unprepared to deal with the disappointments of life.
     
  21. 2ndTimeAround

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    don't get me wrong - I am definitely not one who thinks every child deserves a trophy. I believe, however, that awards should be given out when they are truly earned and when the spirit of the award is met.

    I also hate the "most improved" student award. Because the kids that worked a little bit harder over the summer or last year, thereby coming in with a higher baseline than others, don't seem to make the same gains.

    I'd rather awards be given for true achievement and the criteria be fair.

    My number one pet peeve is the perfect attendance award. This is not an achievement. That means you either have a really strong immune system or you went to school sick and infected others.
     
  22. TnKinder

    TnKinder Companion

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    I don't have a problem with most improved. Maybe because we give it to two students. One for academics and the other for behavior.
     
  23. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    I love our monthly awards assembly. We salute all around students, those who have exhibited a target character trait, and behavior awards are given. At the end of the marking period, we also have awards from phys ed, art, etc.
     
  24. Go Blue!

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    Why is this not an achievement? If you make the effort to go to school every day (especially if it is a place you don't want to be at) regardless of why you go or who forces you to go; you should be rewarded for that (if your school chooses to recognize this).
     
  25. 2ndTimeAround

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    Why is someone doing what they are supposed to do - attend school, worthy of a prize? Why is someone that checks himself out at 12pm, meets the requirement of being in attendance for the day, more deserving of a reward than someone who has cystic fibrosis?

    Why is the student that breaks a leg during a middle school football game less deserving of an award than Typhoid Mary who goes to school every day for her free lunch?

    Makes no sense to me.
     
  26. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    We sure do. We give out ¨hotlines¨ to students. Hotlines are awards for various things: being a great leader, a helper, etc. It doesn´t have to be for academics and it´s really meant so the others who might not be doing well academically can be recognized for something. We also hand out ¨eager readers¨ for various things: finishing a reading log, reading well during Daily 5 reading, moving up a level in Raz-kids, etc. At the end of the month the P pulls 2 eager readers from each grade level and anyone whose name is pulled gets to go to the office and pick out a book. :)
     
  27. 2ndTimeAround

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    This I LOVE!
     

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