I know a lot of schools are against giving students awards in preschool. I think that giving out awards is a good idea, as long as each child receives one, and it is done in moderation.
However, I do not use awards to get students to behave or do better on an assignment or to get them to clean up. I think that if they are interested and encouraged, they will do that on their own. Dangling awards in front of students as a way to get them to do something that you want them to do can be counterproductive. Meaning that students are only going to do what you want them to do, so that they get something in return, that is why most schools prefer that awards are not used at all.
I do use awards in portfolios, to add color and sometimes as an anecdotal note. A written Anecdotal note is a quick note that the teacher uses when observing a student. An Anecdotal Note describes exactly what was observed, which are used for assessments and are documentations and proof that a student can perform a specific task. Adding them to your curriculum in a new innovative way to enhance portfolios excite students especially when they don’t know they are getting one.
On occasion, I send home awards for every child when I want the parent to know that we’ve worked on memorizing a poem or nursery rhyme. This is more as an attention getter for the parent and student, and a great keepsake item.
Sometimes I use awards for name writing, by having the students write their name on an award and then use it in their portfolio as documentation.
Below are some awards that I have used in my pre-kindergarten class, and some ideas on innovative ways to use them.
You can also use this award for portfolios when the student has identified all of their colors, numbers and shapes. Or when the class has memorized a poem or nursery rhyme; write the nursery rhyme or poem on the back of the award for a take home keepsake item.
Note: you can also type the poem or nursery rhyme and make copies to glue on the back of each award.
I had a board for all of the class helpers for the week. You can use this award to put their picture on to display on your bulletin board, and later add it to their portfolio as an anecdotal note for Social Development or Self Regulation.
I also use an award like this for my shoe tying helpers. Every Friday in circle time, we practice shoe typing, once a student mastered the skill, they became the shoe tying helper. Each time a student needed their shoes tied they would go to one of the shoe tying helpers so that the helpers could get more practice.
During the summer months and sometimes during the school year, I would have an in class reading program. Each student was provided a Reading Sheet to take home, the sheet had to be filled out each time a student was read to. When a student had 20 books read to them they would get an award like the one above with a piece of candy attached to it, to take home or put in their portfolio. This was a great way to find out the types of books that were being read at home, and a way to encourage students to read.
The parents nor the students knew that they would be given anything as part of the Program, they participated because they enjoyed reading to their children. The awards were a way to thank them for participating.
Awards don’t all have to be bought, you can make cute keepsake awards from your computer, you can also use coloring sheets. Make a copy, color and write what you want it to say.
How do you use awards?