Every week, my students work to earn Student of the Week. Student of the Week is not easy to earn. To even be eligible, you must have been given no warnings the entire week (not one!). You must have had your homework done and binder signed the entire week. Then you must have gone above and beyond in some way that stood out. Perhaps you took a risk, helped a classmate, participated more than usual or asked insightful questions. There is no limit for the number of students who can earn Student of the Week and we do have weeks when there is no Student of the Week. The honored students get to spin our wheel for house points as their classmates cheer for them.
In the past, I’ve been a bit bothered that the students who had no warnings and all of their homework completed yet did not go above and beyond were not recognized in any way. In our classroom, it is no small feat to be eligible in these two areas due to very high behavioral expectations and I wanted to make these students feel special.
Over the summer I saw Erin Klein of http://kleinspiration.com/ blog or Periscope about making your room appealing to students with comfortable seating and other items. About the same time, Hope King of www.elementaryshenanigans.com did a Periscope about a new key system that she was going to use with her students. I put these two conversations together and had an idea! So this year, I threw something new into the mix.
I went to Target (gotta love those back-to-college deals) and bought four chairs and a lock. Now, any student who earns Student of the Week automatically gets one of these coveted chairs to sit in for the entire next week of school. Well, unless we have more than four scholars earn Student of the Week which did happen once this year! Students who do all of their jobs but do not do anything that stands out as going above and beyond are in the running for the remaining chairs.
I put lock codes on post-it notes. Some open the lock and some do not. I make sure the number of correct codes matches the number of chairs. Eligible students get to pick a post-it and try the code. If the code opens the lock, they earn the chair. If it doesn’t, they try again next week. The code that opens the lock changes every week.
The students love these chairs. The anticipation on their faces as they turn each letter on the lock never gets old. The class cheers for the students when they hear the click and the lock opens. They are also quick to tell the students whose codes didn’t work that they also did a great job. Last week I had a student, for the first time, earn a chair. His smile was priceless. He was so excited because his hard work all year led to him earning the chair. And to him, it was well worth the wait.
P.S. Here is the only “person” in our school who has ever sat in the chair without earning it. The class happily shared and got a really good laugh out of the whole thing.