Rigor is creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at high levels,
each student is supported so he or she can learn at high levels,
and each student demonstrates learning at high levels (Blackburn, 2008).

Monday, May 4, 2015

Using Symbols for Praise, Part Two

Monday we looked at a classroom-based symbol to praise students.  Today, Frank Buck, former principal at Graham School in Alabama, tells of a school-wide effort to recognize students:

The need for a student recognition program is clear. On the other hand, the paperwork associated with them can be enough to make one think twice. The system we have used is called the “Recognition Log,” which consists of a 3-ring binder with lined paper.  There are three columns:  Name, Teacher Who Recognized Me, and What I Did.

The notebook is housed on a stand in the main office so that it is easily accessible to students who need to sign it or visitors who would like to view it. The process is very simple. When a staff member or volunteer witnesses a student doing something worthy of positive recognition, he or she directs the student to go to the office and sign the Recognition Log. That’s it! There are no special forms to distribute to staff members. Any adult, [whether] a teacher, a lunchroom worker, a custodian, an aide, or a parent volunteer, has the authority to send a student to sign the log.

About once a week, I select a name at random from the Recognition Log for inclusion on our morning intercom announcements. I read the student’s name, why the student is being recognized, and the name of the adult who sent [the student] to sign the log. The student gets to come to the office to select a prize [which is usually one of those] free promotional items we all receive in the mail or pick up at conventions. I really believe our Recognition Log has impacted the culture of our school. Children routinely bring to the office money they have found, because being able to sign the Recognition Log is more meaningful than the dollar they find on the ground. They are also quick to pick up paper dropped carelessly by someone else or stop to help a student who has dropped her books all over the hallway. For a system that takes virtually no time to administer and pays such large rewards in terms of student behavior, we could not be happier with the Recognition Log.

What a great way to work with students on a school-wide basis to reinforce positive behavior and achievement!

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