May 16, 2012

Classroom Awards Make Kids Feel Special!

Classroom Awards Tips and Freebies!

Most schools have some sort of award program at the end of the year to recognize students for achieving the Honor Roll, having perfect attendance, or excelling in other areas. Most of my students received an award, but there were always some who didn't receive anything at all. Typically these children were the very ones who had struggled all year and who were facing difficulties and a lack of parent support. I couldn't help but feel sorry for them.

So I decided that our classroom would have its own awards program and that every student would get some type of award. I was not trying to diminish the importance of the schoolwide awards, but simply to acknowledge that all of my students were special in some way and deserving of some type of award.

A Unique Award for Each Student
I worked with the class to brainstorm a list of unique awards such as, "Super Reader Award," "Sharing & Caring Award," and "Animal Care Expert." We chose not to include silly things like "Class Clown" because we wanted everyone to feel valued and appreciated. The students nominated their classmates for these awards, but I always made the final decision for each award and kept it a secret until the last day of school. Here's a list of some of the awards we came up with.

I invited the parents to come to my classroom immediately following the school award program for a special celebration. I showed them a short video of pictures I had taken throughout the year and then I announced each award and presented it to the deserving student. I loved seeing them beam with pride when they came up to receive their certificates!

I hope you'll consider having a Class Award Program for your students. I've written out exactly how I set up my program, but feel free to modify it for your own needs. You can find all the materials described below on my Seasonal Page on Teaching Resources

Classroom Award Program Suggestions
    photo of Classroom Award Nomination Form
  1. Display the list of Classroom Awards shown above and brainstorm additional ideas that are specific to your classroom. Add your classroom ideas to the bottom of the list.
  2. Give each student a Classroom Award Nomination Form which is nothing more than a class roster with room to write in the award nominations. It saves time if you write in your students' names before you duplicate the copies for your students.
  3. Keep the list of Classroom Awards posted while students write in at least one award nomination for each student. I required them to write something for every single student, even themselves, and I asked them to circle their own name on the form. If they insisted that they couldn't think of something for a certain classmate, I told them they could make up an award. You may have to provide a few minutes of time for this each day over several days because this step does take time.
  4. Collect the completed Classroom Award Nomination Forms and look through them to see if anyone was nominated over and over for the same award. Print a blank copy of the Nomination Form for yourself and begin writing in the award that you feel is most appropriate for each student. 
  5. After you have filled out the Nomination Form with your award choices, print one Classroom Award Certificate for each student and fill them out with the necessary information. I've created two variations of this form and they are both in black and white and color. You can download all four forms from Teaching Resources. Before you duplicate them for the class, you may want to write in the date of the awards program and sign the master certificate. Print an extra form or two in case you accidentally leave out a student or make an error on one of the forms.
  6. Invite parents to your classroom immediately before or after your school awards program. Present each award individually with great fanfare and let your students know just how special you think they are!

By the way, thanks to Michelle Walker of the Creative Classroom blog for the cute yellow border I used on the awards certificate and to Artifex Clipart for the adorable characters on the award list!

Do you present special awards to your students at the end of the year? If so, what are some of the Classroom Awards that you present? Please leave a comment to let us know!


  1. I love that the students are nominated for each award! What a great idea :)

    Jessica Stanford

  2. I did this with my 3rd graders today and the had a blast giving their classmates a vote for an award!

  3. I have never done this with a class and I think my fourth graders will love it! Thanks for sharing your amazing ideas!

  4. This is costly but most of the kids really appreciated it. There were a few that were not crazy about their candy but I told them they could swap candies after all awards were out.

    I got these from a website,
    Attach candy bar to the award.
    Whoopers Award: for the best storytelling.
    Milky Way Award: for the class daydreamer
    Mr. Goodbar Award: for the student who exhibits the good
    qualities of friendship
    Jolly Rancher Award: for the person always telling jokes
    Nestle Crunch Award: an alternative to pencil chewing
    Skor Award: for athletes in the class
    Dove Award: for the class peacmaker
    Symphony Award: for anyone musical
    Butterfinger Award: for the person who broke the most
    things accidentaly
    Bit-O-Honey Award: for someone very sweet
    Baby Ruth Award: for baseball-minded person
    Teddy Grahams Award: for the most huggable
    Almond Joy Award: for the person who is always happy
    Hershey's Kisses Award: for the class flirt Payday Award: for someone who always forgets his lunch money
    Lifesavers Award: for the person who is always helping
    someone in need
    Laffy Taffy Award: for someone weet disposition
    Gummy Bears Award: for a very lovableho is always laughing
    Sweet Tarts Award: for having a sw child
    Spree Award: for someone who loves to shop
    Kit Kat Award: for the student alawys at the teacher's side
    Nutrageous Award: for an outstanding personality
    Ouch Bubble Gum Award: for the one who got hurt the most
    Three Musketeers Award: for the one always with the group
    Snickers Award: for having an outstanding sense of humor
    Zero Math Award: - for outstanding performance in Math
    Gummy Worms Award: for being the class wiggler

    1. This year I am doing both because I have 6th graders.I love Laura's ideas of the more studious - academic awards and mine for plain fun.

    2. I love the idea of using both forms!

    3. Thanks so much for giving this complete list of candy awards! That is awesome!

  5. This is a great idea. I had a really hard time coming up with award names for some I did a couple years ago. There are some kids that don't fall in the traditional award categories but you don't want them to feel left out or be upset. Great ideas!

    Heather Mix
    An Interesting Mix

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  9. Great idea! Love the nomination part. Thanks for sharing


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