Every end of the year...the special area team struggles with the same thing...End of the Year Awards. We're not really a fan. We have "rules" placed on us....2 from each 4th grade class...they want a boy and a girl...and no special area can select the same student. Well...we did away with the boy & the girl thing...because that just isn't possible sometimes. And...over the past few years..we've been giving a deserving student awards in a couple areas. However..one student today who deserved an award in EVERY special area...did not receive them(we did get her 2 at least!! music & art). This really bothers me deep down. I'd rather not give awards at all...but if I have to..shouldn't they go to the most deserving? I had one class where 4 girls have been consistent(and amazing artists) for their whole time here at TGE. Another class...I struggled to find 2.
So...what do you all do? Do you give awards? Do you have rules as well? How do you handle it?
There has got to be a better way...and I'm open to suggestions!!
I am not a fan of awards, for a lot of the same reasons as you. I struggled with it all for years, when I was required to give them. I never wanted to just pick one or two kids. Not a fan.ReplyDelete
I don't have the same problem with the awards as you but then it sounds like you're under a lot of restrictions that I just don't have to deal with. Our school is k-6 (two of every grade) and only 6th grade gets awards. Awards can go to whomever is nominated - art, music, P.E., Library/tech. plus the academics - science, social studies, math, spelling, writing, and reading. Someone is going to get something, if not multiple somethings. There's no limits. This year I have four boys and five girls nominated for art achievement awards for consistent outstanding work over the time they've been with me (however long that may have been - one of the boys just moved in at the start of this year but has blown me away with what he can do). Their parents are invited to the awards ceremony during the school day, and the whole school turns out (many of the 6th graders have younger brothers or sisters they want to see get awards). We save the awards for the last week of school and make it into a celebration of their overall achievement throughout their time with us and a good bye to them since they are leaving for the middle school. Also, instead of just a certificate, I do buy them a nice hardcover sketchbook and draw them a little something in the front cover along with writing them an inscription. Every art award winner leaves with this written in the inside cover, "Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow it where it leads. Be courageous."ReplyDelete
I'm so glad you posted this, as I am going through the same internal struggle. These are my 8th graders that are leaving. They were my first students! I really don't want to leave anyone out. Growing up, if I was passed over for an award by a teacher I respected and admired, I took it really hard. Mind you, this is all self-inflicted. I want to use the awards as a final farewell and to reflect on our time together. I'm just unsure how to organize and classify them. Most creative, most outstanding, most improved? Or, give every student personalized affirmations? Does anyone out there have experience or advice?ReplyDelete
We don't do specialized awards and such - which I am thankful for. I would struggle like you. However, we do have some school wide awards for our 5th graders. At the end of the year(ish) the 5th grade teachers and the special teachers each make a list of the kids that have been amazing throughout their years at our school - kids that are respectful, positive leaders, etc. We then compare our lists and students that show up on everyone/almost everyone's list gets nominated and recognized for their contribution to our community. This way those kids that get nominated for several areas can really be proud - perhaps you could see about adding an award like this so you can really celebrate those kids.ReplyDelete
I am also glad you posted about this since I just went through the same thing! I teach art at a small private school, grades 1-8. I was supposed to choose an eighth grade student to get an award for Art (they have a Court of Awards every year for the eighth grade students who are moving on to high school). The principal asked me for a name and I immediately supplied one. This student is an outstanding artist and is not only talented but takes so much time and effort and thought with every project.ReplyDelete
Then I got an email from the eighth grade teacher. They are apparently trying to "spread the wealth" with these awards and the student I chose is already getting one in another subject. So who would be my second choice? And by the way here is a list of those who are not getting anything. But "no pressure" to choose one of them. Yeah right!
I was disappointed that I couldn't choose who I thought was most deserving, but to be agreeable I suggested a couple of more names. Those kids were already getting other awards too! Then it just felt forced and I had to go in and look through the portfolios to pick the best of the students that were left.
It wasn't worth it to me to make a big deal out of it since I am leaving this job (moving out of state for my husband's job next month), but I really wish I could have asked the following: Why ask me, if I am not allowed to choose the most deserving? What if the special subject teachers could choose first, and then the classroom teachers had to work around those choices? Would it really be so bad if a student got more than one award? I think it is unfortunately becoming part of our culture...the whole "everybody gets a trophy just for showing up" mentality. I don't know what the solution is but if I find myself in that situation again, I might be more likely to speak up about it.
Hi Mr. E,ReplyDelete
I present certificates to students who have their artwork displayed in public (at a show, museum, or other public venue). This does not normally coincide with the end of the year awards.
I give Art Certificates at the end of the year assembly to students who have had art work displayed in public art shows for our school district. This seems to be the best way to do it at my school.ReplyDelete
We do not do awards, but when we do our annual end of the year art show, we reserve our auditorium for artworks of very high caliber. When we do this, we often get kids in there with several pieces and some with none. To remedy this each teacher installs a class set of art work around campus, so that each student is represented. We have taken some criticism of how we do it over the years, but I stand by what we do.ReplyDelete