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Friday Assembly

cnewville's picture

At my placement, I rarely have time to take a set back and observe the students and their school community. I am usually knee deep in the class and talking to the students, interacting with them, facilitating the class and having a very present role in the classroom. This past friday, after a few hours of being there, going over a science experiment with water chemical levels, I had the chance to stay at the school for a school wide assembly after my class-when they usually have class that I do not attend. As I walked with a student from my class who had been helping me clean up, I asked him what they were meeting for in the afternoon, he explained that every Friday in the morning, they have an all school assembly to announce the 'star student of the week' which was a student from each grade that was reconigized by the teachers for excellence during that past week. I asked him if he had ever gotten the 'star student' recognition, and he said he had a few times. 

The entire school ( Pre-K to 8th grade) gathered with all their teachers in the theater and sat with their grades. Then they proceeded to do a quick announcement about attendance. The teachers were excited because they had, in general, 95% attendance that week for the PSSAs and were saying that they were very proud of their students.  They then proceeded to announce, grade by grade, the Star Student of their class. One student was praised for participating all week, another was praised for being on time all week, another was praised for trying really hard on their PSSA tests. A student in my class was recognized for being halfway though their community service project and that they were doing very well on their project. This student in particular, isn't the most diligent student and constantly interrupts his class and picks fights with other students, but in this assembly, his friend gave him highfives and the principle shook his hand and said "good job". After the recognition of all the students they did an almost pep rally of their 5 school goals (Be Respectful, Be Peaceful, Safe,  etc) and then did a school sing-a-long. The students were quite into the entire proceedings. 

I really loved seeing this aspect of the school, because I had not seen the teachers in action per se, I've never really seen the two teachers whose classes I visit really interact with their whole class as leaders and as teachers-because in the setting that I am in their class, they are not teaching but rather helping me with my own lessons. 

I think the idea behind individually recognizing students in their community is to show the appreciation  for the students efforts and to public regains them. I think this would increase the sense of accomplishment in a student and their role in learning. I also think the teachers look at the whole student rather than the highest achieving students (academically) but also reach out to students — like the student in my class-that was doing good, when at face value could be overlooked and under appreciated. I think it was also beautifully done and the teachers obviously showed energy and effort behind the assembly making the time the students were spending there worthwhile. 


jccohen's picture



I appreciate your school's efforts to recognize students who bring a diversity of strengths to the table.  As abradley says, the issue of awards is a tricky one since if it's not done carefully - and frequently! - the practice can exclude as well as include.  But your story points up the ways that schools and teachers can create this kind of structure mindfully as a way to honor many students for their many strengths.

abradley's picture

"A Star Student Recognition"

I recently had an experience with two young ones who happened to have different abilities.  One of them got recognition for his ability to know several facts and was able to verbally contribute in class, which led him to receive an award.  The other one stated "it is not fair, I will never receive an award because I am not fast enough to respond in class; therefore, they should not give awards to the one who can respond the fastest".  This makes me think how often other students who are not "fast enough"  may feel rejected, not seen, not acounted for.  On one hand, I applaud recognition to boost "self esteem".  On the other, I wonder what educators do or can do to encourage the "others".  Any thoughts?