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11 Ways to Celebrate Student Success

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Photo of Alison Smith
Updated | 6 min read

Did you know that celebrating student success not only makes students feel good but also significantly impacts their memory, learning, motivation and other cognitive functions? When your students receive positive feedback for something that they have done, it is essentially a signal to their brain saying ‘do it again’.

Celebrating success is an essential element of every classroom. It is the driver behind student motivation, self-esteem and creating a positive classroom culture. There are many ways that teachers and principals can motivate students by celebrating their achievements. Read on to find out how you can celebrate student success in your classroom…

Celebration Tunnels

Is there anything more uplifting than running through a human tunnel? Celebration tunnels have to be my all-time favourite way to celebrate student success. No teaching resources required.

Kids love it and let’s face it, adults love it too. Check out how much fun we had celebrating with Emma and Royce.

Postcards and Letters

Can you imagine the joy a student would feel to receive a postcard or letter from their teacher in the post?

So, why is receiving a postcard or letter in the post so magical? Letter writing takes time, shows a deep level of care and makes the receiver feel valued. The extra effort of writing a letter goes a long way in making your students feel special, appreciated and proud of themselves. Letters are timeless treasures that make memories.

Most importantly, remember that in sending a letter or postcard to student home addresses, you are representing your school. So, before making any plans to celebrate student success with letters, seek approval from your principal.

It’s easy to make postcards using  Microsoft Publisher and Vistaprint. To create a personalised design, why not layer up images of your student’s artwork? For a next-level surprise, why not send the postcards at the end of term so that they are received during the school holidays.

For quick and easy letter templates, take a look at our growing collection of Positive Parent Notes that can be adapted to meet your needs. If you want to keep things simple, you could use an award from our Certificates and Awards collection and send that home via post.

Make a Phone Call Home

When it comes to celebrating student success, a phone call to a parent or guardian tops the charts. So, as a Mum (who has received one of these teacher phone calls), I can only begin to tell you about the positive impact that a phone call home can have.

Has anyone got any tissues? If there’s one way to make parents tear up, it’s to give them a call to tell them how well their child is doing. It makes parents feel proud. But most importantly it makes students feel proud of themselves and of each other. If you have a speakerphone in your classroom, it’s easy to do:

  1. Choose a student who has experienced success, or needs a boost of self-esteem.
  2. Gather all of your students together. Ask your students to be silent.
  3. Call the parent/guardian on speakerphone.
  4. Introduce yourself and explain that you are calling with great news.
  5. Share the students’ success story and give the parent/guardian time to say how proud they are.
  6. Encourage the rest of the class to clap and cheer.

Don’t forget to be mindful of cultural differences and sensitive family dynamics. You may also need to give busy working parents a heads-up via email before you make the call.  Also, it’s probably best to avoid using your personal mobile phone.

Buddy Awards

Students tend to look up to their buddies and see them as role models. So, it makes perfect sense to ask buddies to help celebrate student success by presenting student awards.

Celebrate student success with classroom theme pack.We are all familiar with buddy systems. A buddy system is where a child gets paired with another child, usually one that is older. A buddy system can help students to feel valued and supported, teach important social skills and create a caring ethos in the school.

You’ll find that awards and certificates given by class buddies have a whole new meaning and value. So, simply choose one or two students each week to receive a buddy award. The hardest part is finding time to meet up with your buddy class (LOL) but make it happen.

Pick your favourite design and theme from our huge range of Certificates and Awards.  I love our bright and bold Let’s Celebrate – Award Certificate and Let’s Celebrate – Student Badges.

For tips and ideas on planning buddy time read our blog 10 Awesome Buddy Program Activity Ideas.

Class High-Five

Celebrating student success and building relationships go hand in hand.

A brilliant way to encourage class moral and to raise the profile of even the quietest member of your class is to encourage class high-fives to celebrates student success.

Encourage every student in the class to acknowledge the success of an individual by giving him or her a well-deserved high-five. For as little disruption as possible, this works most effectively at the end of the lesson or at the end of the day as students leave the room.

Be mindful of students with additional needs who may not enjoy this experience.

Celebration Envelopes

Celebration Envelopes are a great way to recognise student success and to develop peer relationships. This fun activity is particularly suitable for the upper years and encourages students to think about the strengths of others.

This activity works well in small groups as well as a whole class activity. Here’s how it works:

  1. Provide each student with an envelope and a blank piece of paper inside.
  2. Ask your students to write their name on the envelope and to gather in a circle.
  3. Instruct your students to pass their envelope to the person on their right.
  4. Ask your students to read the name on the envelope and to think of a strength that they recognise in this person.
  5. Encourage students to write this strength on the piece of paper.
  6. Students continue to pass the envelopes around the circle and to record the strengths of their peers.
  7. The process is complete when all envelopes have been returned to their owner.

Principal Class Visit

There is huge power asking your school principal to visit your classroom to celebrate student success. Book in some time in their diary and ask your school principal to drop by.

During your principal’s visit, be sure to give him or her a tour of your wonderful classroom. Showcase the amazing achievements that your students are making. Most importantly, don’t forget to share how you have been celebrating student success in your classroom.

You might like to provide him or her with one or two individual awards to present. I like to make sure that there is a badge for everyone so that no one goes home empty-handed.

Find a badge that your students will love in our huge collection of Star Student Badges.

Celebrate 100 Days of School

Don’t forget to celebrate student success by acknowledging 100 days at school with your class.

Don't forget to celebrate 100 days at school.Our 100th Day of School Resource Pack has everything that you need to get recognise 100 days of learning.  From banners to party hats, your students will love to celebrate how far they have come since their very first day.

For a quick and easy way to celebrate print and laminate our I am 100 Days Smarter Student Badge and attach to your students’ shirts on their 100th day at school.

Wow Wall

A great way to celebrate student success is to create a “Wow Work” wall where students can proudly put their work on display. What’s more, you can encourage classroom visitors to check it out!

Celebrate student success with a Wow Work Wall.

Check out this eye-catching example of a Wow Work Wall by @the.colourful.teacher.

Celebrating Life Skills

Don’t forget the importance of celebrating student success when they kick goals in the areas of personal and social capability.

Celebrate student success with these Personal and Social Capability Badges

Developing life skills is a critical part of teaching and learning in the 21st Century. Our new Personal and Social Capability Badges Resource Pack will set you up with everything you need to celebrate student success and achievement in:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social Awareness
  • Social Management.

For more tips and idea on how to use these Personal and Social Capability Badges read my blog Celebrating Life Skills for Kids | FREE Teaching Resource.

How often do you provide students with an opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments?

I hope that this blog inspires you to create more time and space to celebrate students success. Which idea are you going to try first?

Share your celebrations on Instagram #teachstarter


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