It seems like everything is always changing year after year in the classroom. New instructional strategies, new curriculum, and obviously new kids. But I’m not ashamed to say that there are a few practices I hold dear that I’ve been doing since my first year of teaching.
One that comes to mind right away is “Star of the Week.” You may call it something else…”Star Student,” “Spotlight Student,” or any other catchy title that highlights one student in your class for the week. Even with everything we have to jam pack into our school day, having a Star of the Week is something I haven’t compromised. Encouraging a positive sense of community, building student self-esteem, and promoting leadership in the classroom have not gone out of style. I start this from the beginning of the school year and it lasts us all year long!
Plus, it’s always a positive way to end the week! I announce who the new Star of the Week is every Friday. I pick someone who has been working hard, putting in good effort all week, etc. and give a little speech about why they were chosen. Just one extra motivation for positive behavior in the classroom. I give the Star of the Week an All About Me poster to take home to decorate. There are many similar ones on Amazon and in teacher stores.
I attach this parent letter with the poster:
The student gets to have their poster displayed in the classroom all week and on Friday, he/she shares it with the class. Students ask questions and share positive comments about what the Star of the Week has shared.
Then, we take a moment to brainstorm and share compliments about the star. I put their name in a circle map on the board and write down the ideas that the class shares. Here’s one we did for my buddy Bryson.
Once our star is starting to feel all warm and fuzzy, each student in the class takes one of those ideas (or thinks of a new one on their own) and writes a compliment and illustrates a picture for them. I’m always sneaking in writing practice when the kids don’t even realize it!
While the kids are writing their compliments, the Star of the Week gets a special page to color. This will be the cover of their Star of the Week book (which contains all of the pages of compliments that their classmates wrote).
I send the book home as a keepsake, which the kids (and parents) love! It’s the best feeling when students from years back tell me that they’ve still saved their Star of the Week books.
If you’d like these book pages to use with your own class, you can find them in my shop and also in the Life Between Summers store on TPT. It comes with pages that say “Star of the Week” as well as “Star Student” if you prefer that title. The student writing pages come with a choice of dotted or regular lines.
There are cover pages for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, grade, which can be customized with your students’ names (the parent letter can be customized with your name as well). I will also update the years on the covers each school year. This way, you can continue to use this resource with each new class.
Do you currently do something in your classroom that’s similar to Star of the Week? Or something different? I always love to hear new ideas, feel free to share in the comments!