Celebrating Your Students To Strengthen Your Classroom Community

Updated: Oct 25, 2019

Celebrations are always an uplifting experience. It doesn’t matter if you are the person being celebrated or you are participating in a celebration of another type. Celebrations are just promising! After participating in any celebration, don’t you just feel encouraged to create more positives and more celebrations? Pay it forward?

How about in the classroom?

How do you celebrate your students’ successes and achievements?

Now, you know me, I’m not a big fan of standardized testing and celebrating that. It seems that standardized testing achievements these days get most of the celebrations in the classroom with popcorn and pizza and ice cream. I’m not talking about THAT!

I’m talking about celebrating the everyday achievements and successes.

I’m talking about truly celebrating your students!

Noticing their little bitty leaps of progress and validating them.

Watching their "light bulb" all of the sudden light up.

Celebrating those happenings in the classroom that just make you sit back, take notice and say WOW!!

I celebrated my students in many ways. For those standout days where everyone was participating, on target and prepared, we would celebrate by having class outside. A change of venue was always enlightening. No purchase orders, approval or permission slips needed. I would celebrate individual students by “calling them out” in class—“Hey everyone, let’s give our classmate, Joe, a hand. He finished his 1st Harry Potter book today.” Sometimes an individual student was celebrated by just being able to sit in my ‘teacher chair’ for independent work time because that’s what that particular student enjoyed. Something so simple, but valued by my students! Celebrating day to day achievements and successes helps students stand up and take notice of each other’s successes and day to day achievements! Talk about building a strong classroom community!

One of my all time favorite ways to celebrate when I was a classroom teacher was the Lucy Calkins Celebration ritual for Writing Workshop. We would set a deadline for publishing a piece—whatever genre we were working on at that time. The day of the deadline was our CELEBRATION DAY! My students knew what to expect during writing on that day. We would all gather in a circle on the carpet with our published pieces. The white twinkly lights were glistening. The classroom library lamps were glowing. The mood was set for our private classroom writing celebration. We would take turns—me included—reading our published piece to the class. After each piece was read, we would all repeat the phrase, “Wow, YOU are an author!” My students felt value, their confidence in writing grew and our classroom community became stronger with every writing CELEBRATION!

My challenge to you is this…

Think about how you celebrate your students.

How do you celebrate their day to day successes and achievements?

What will you do to celebrate their everyday successes and achievements?

Until next time...

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