Has it been a rough year? Did not everything go quite as planned? Not to worry because I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “It’s not about how you start its how you finish.” Memory is a funny thing and sometimes we remember just how things ended so much more clearly than how they began. Now is a moment that you can connect on a deeper level for one last time with students, teachers, parents by recognizing the best in them .

Symbolic Certificates of Positive Qualities It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, we all like to know what people like about us. I’vs seen variations of this activity work well with elementary, middle school and High school students; I’ve even seen it work with college students (really!– they can eat it up just like they were 5 again)

What best qualities of each student? Find 2 positive descriptive words that you feel symbolize them. With our vast . Avoid temptation to use any words that might have a negative connotation.

Use Smarty Symbols to add a cool visual to each of those qualities. With our vast amount of vocabulary you’re bound to find the word or its synonym within our library to give a real great visual boost to this great certificate of recognition.

You modeled it now have the students do the same for:

  • their peers— you can use the back of the certificates you created for them. Have each student write one positive quality they see in that person. They can leave it anomonously. It’s important to lay the ground rules though (see below). As a safeguard I would still review it before letting the students see what they wrote about each other so on the off chance something is inappropriate it can be blotted out.
  • other teachers— for older students It can be a great group project for students who share the same teachers in another discipline. If you are working with younger students it can be a good group project for kids who shared the same teacher last year. Be sure to share the results with the teachers. This is a great way to get a glimpse at some of the great stuff others are teachers doing (but you didn’t know because they’re in another room).
  • their parent(s) / guardian or other family member — its kind of like the pay it forward movement. You’ve shared things good about your students, this lets them pass it forward. Hopefully the chain of positiveness continues indefinitely.

Lay the ground Rules— Appeal to your students emotionally and logically as you set the rules of why they need to be serious about being nice in this activity. When you successfully appeal to their hearts I find everyone follows nicely. Some good heart to heart conversations to have to get your students to do their best with this:

  • You never know when the last time you are going to see a person (people move all the time unexpectedly) , do you really want to end things bad? Of course not…
  • People tear others down all the time, remember how you feel if someone does that to you (so don’t do it to others), If you can’t say anything nice : just don’t say anything at all.
  • People often times struggle with self esteem; they don’t know the best in themselves. You have a unique perspective, that is very powerful.

For Parents— Teachers can often be isolated from the world in their room. Generally speaking they don’t get a lot of time (if any)  to see what other teachers are doing in their rooms, so its good for them to know what they did well. Your little bit of encouragement could help them play more to that strength and be a better teacher to others (which if you have more kids, could be their younger siblings).  Have your child reflect on the best qualities of each of their teachers. Have your kid make certificates of their teacher’s best qualities to present them with. Believe it or not teaching can often times have a political atmosphere where only a few favorites get any recognition. Your child’s certificate could very well be the most recognition they got for anything all year.

For Everyone—Recognize and reflect on what went well. Make a list. Its easy to forget when the new school year rolls around and you don’t want to lose the progress you’ve made. If you’re a teacher this could mean thinking about your best activities. If you are a parent think about what worked well with your child and how you could incorporate it into next year.

On a final note I just want to say : Thanks Smarty Symbols subscribers we think you are CLEVER, and CREATIVE…. and it’s seeing your great creations that inspire us to keep making cool stuff.