Recognition is powerful in motivating students. The question is “How should we do it?” There are many ways teachers and employers do this every day. Plaques and awards are among them. Some ways present less of a challenge than others. Material rewards can be costly to replace and simple verbal rewards can seem canned. I thought I’d found a happy medium when I discovered one teacher in Santa Ana Unified who had been using a recycled trophy to recognize students. I saw a unique idea and wanted to try it with multiple trophies.
I applied for a Rotary mini-grant asking for $200. When I received it, I was able to buy 7 trophies. They range from a large group trophy for “Stars of the Week,” to individual smaller ones like “First 100% of the day on AR” or “winner of the math competition.” The trophies are not consumable. Just like textbooks they belong to the classroom and stay in the classroom. Theoretically I could use the same trophies for years to come. As far as where to get them, there are trophies online or stores in most cities. They do move around desk to desk all year and students beam with pride when they are recognized with one. This is an idea I had. Please share your rewards and recognition ideas in the comments.