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Paper Plate Awards


Found in: End of Year, Motivating Students

For many years on the last day of school, I would give each of my students (usually freshmen) a paper-plate award, something that showed them that I recognized their contributions to class, achievements, and/or special talents. I stopped three years ago thinking the kids thought it was silly. I can't tell you how many times this year's seniors and their parents told me that they still have those awards.

So, I reinstated the awards. I wrote out 158 paper plates with things like "Most Dramatic Improvement," or "Best Juggler of Scholastics, Sports, and Work," or "Atlas Award, for Taking Everyone's Troubles on Your Shoulders," or "The Best Actor in Hamlet," or "The Little Engine Who Could, for Working Hard and Believing in Yourself." The kids love them, and with that little paper plate, they know that I recognize who they are. It's a simple thing to do, but they leave our class knowing they belonged.

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