Teachers are often too busy throughout the day to remember to hand out little rewards or certificates to those students who have done something worthy. Usually positive words are the sole way to reinforce positive behavior. However, it is nice for a student to receive something more concrete so they are able to present it to family members with pride. If the teacher cannot hand certificates out regularly, make a point to do so each quarter. On report card day before the teacher hands out the report cards, have a number of certificates to hand out. The teacher can have two or three standard certificates every quarter, but then add new ones and different ones each quarter, as well to keep the surprise. Don’t feel every student must get a certificate every quarter. If all students earn certificates, it eliminates the feeling of a reward.
Some ideas to use for certificates include the following:
- students who have done the most extra credit
- students who had no late work all quarter
- students who had only one late assignment all quarter
- students who reached their reading goals
- students who performed their class job well and regularly
- students with consistently clean desks
- students who are the most improved in a certain area
Every class will most likely be different depending on the activities the teacher has set up in the classroom. Some of the certificates can be followed with an extra reward. For example, the students with no late assignments may get a “no homework” coupon with their certificate. Students with one late assignment will get just the certificate. The teacher can also include a bookmark with the reading goal certificate.
Tips: Do not announce to the students what efforts during the quarter will earn certificates. The teacher may want the reward to be given for honest effort and work, not simply to receive a certificate. That’s why changing the certificates each quarter, except for a select few, will promote honest efforts.
If the teacher wants to give certificates out more often than once per quarter, a neat trick is to have some generic ones ready. (See below to download award certificates.) Fill in the student’s name and your signature ahead of time. Put two in the plan book each week. This will remind the teacher to find something that student did particularly well that week. The certificate is then ready for the teacher anytime. He or she just needs to fill in what the certificate was for.
In addition to the quarterly certificates, try doing end-of-the-year certificates in which every student receives one. These are fun, personal certificates that reflect something that student may be known for in the classroom. Some of these can be funny as well. Some examples include the following: the most artistic, the trivia guru, or the most improved in a certain area. (Note: These categories will change each year depending on the dynamics of the class. This is a fun, positive way to end the school year.)
Handy certificates to download and hand out:
In addition to handing out end-of-the-year certificates, download and hand out the form below to students so they can assess the year for themselves. Keep a copy for yourself — it will prove very enlightening for you!
For more sample student award certificates, check out these teacher resource books: