You know you need to build relationships with students, but how do you get to know each one of your kiddos with such little time? Why not try these student of the week ideas?
After you read this blog, this will be one of your favorite strategies for building relationships with students. Each of your kiddos will equally feel special and you’ll have the chance to get to know each other. And if you play your cards right, your students will practice communicating with each other during your student of the week celebrations.
You don’t have to use the term “Student Of The Month” either. Cater to your classroom theme. My theme was always bee related, so my students were the “Busy Bees”. If you name your student of the week award like your classroom theme, it makes it more special for your students.
There are a few things to keep in mind as you are planning for your student of the week festivities. So let’s get organized first. You’ll be glad you did.
How Do I Display My Student Of The Week Activities?
You’ll need a space somewhere in your room for a student of the month bulletin board.
It doesn’t need to be the whole board, even a corner would work. I had a small room with two TEENY bulletin boards, so that space was valuable. But I had loads of cabinets along one wall. The blue sticky-tak stuff was definitely my friend. I had one rather large cabinet door designed just for my student of the week poster.
If you can, a small table or shelf nearby would be useful too. Your students might bring in meaningful items to display and you’ll want to find a home for their treasures.
On your display, designate a place to add the student of the month poster and any additional items you choose to use for your students. Also, leave room for photographs.
What Student Of The Week Ideas Should I Use?
Let me show you what my students loved to do for their student of the week activities. These are available for you in the Student Of The Week Kit if you choose not to make your own posters from scratch.
Student Of The Week Ideas - #1 All About Me Activities
Sending home an “All About Me” page is the perfect way to get to know your students. Elementary students love to hear about the interests of their classmates, and more importantly, they like to share their own interests. It’s extra fun to find out what everyone has in common.
Here is the “About Me” page that my students absolutely love. I found their parents loved the simplicity of it. As a busy mom myself, I appreciated the easy things.
Student Of The Week Ideas - #2 Getting To Know Me Books
Even your struggling readers will love writing books about themselves. Especially if the books are flip books, or interactive such as this one. They are measured for you, so all you have to do is print, cut, and staple.
But if you choose to make your own, it’s super easy. You can use whatever construction paper you have in your room. Choose which topics you’d like your students to write about. Three would be a good number to start with at the beginning of the year. With a cover, that makes four pages.
Student Of The Week Ideas - #3 Photographs From Home
With their parent’s permission, invite your students to bring baby pictures or family photographs to share with their classmates. Have you ever had one of your little kiddos say, “When I was a little kid…” referring back only a few years ago? You will when they bring in photos of themselves. It’s adorable.
Student Of The Week Ideas - #4 Trinkets And Mementos
Again, with parents permission, your students can bring in memorable items. Just make sure everything is labeled and not displayed where it can be touched or broken.
Some ideas are:
- Sports trophies
- Favorite toys
- Stuffed animals
- Framed photographs
- Plastic figurines
Student Of The Week Ideas - #5 Read Their Favorite Book From Home
Many children have “that book” that they love to have their parents read to them again and again. Mine was “Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are” by Dr. Seuss. Ask your students to bring in their most treasured book and read it to the whole class.
How Do I Keep Organized?
Have you ever forgotten who has already been student of the week? Or realized you ran out of copies to send home? Same here. Keeping track of which students have been student of the week in your head is about as easy as remembering what you had for breakfast this morning.
Here’s how to stay organized with your student of the week activities.
- Keep a checklist with your student’s names and the dates they’ll be student of the week. Cross of their names after their turn.
- Make enough copies of your student of the week pages and pre-make your send home packets. That way, when it’s time to announce the next student of the week, grab a packet and you’re ready to go.
- Store everything in a manila envelope with the checklist glued to the front. Keep this in the place where you keep the documents you need often.
Tips For Sending Home Your Activities
Parents are busy and we’re asking a lot of them when their children are in elementary school. I don’t know how many times I was a day off on spirit day or sent in my son’s take home activities a day late.
It might cause your parents some stress to send home an extra thing to help their children complete. Not that they don’t want to, but parents work and kids are in after school activities… do I need to go on?
Send home your student of the week packet with plenty of time to spare. If you can’t do a full week, try to send it home on Wednesday or Thursday if you want it returned by Monday.
How Do You Celebrate Student Of The Week?
Now let’s talk about how to celebrate and honor your student of the week. You can do a lot of easy things to make this moment special for your kiddos.
Quick note: if you have families who do not celebrate special events, make sure to contact them to ask if this is an acceptable thing to do. I’ve never had a parent opt-out of this activity after they learn that we are simply building relationships and getting to know our students.
Here are some ideas to make student of the week special:
- Schedule your student of the week to coincide on or around their birthdays.
- Provide special pencils or gel pens for them to use for this week only.
- Let them choose where they’d like to sit in your classroom. (Teacher discretion of course).
- Let them wear a special crown. These are available in my student of the month kit.
- Allow them to be line leader for the week. Or make them your designated errand-runner.
- If your school allows this, invite a special guest family member to join them at lunch.
- Don’t forget to give them a special student of the week certificate.
How To Build Relationships With Your Students
our students will be so excited to share their interests with their classmates. As they are presenting their photos and about me books, allow the rest of the class to ask student of the week questions or make compliments on the presentation. You can write down their compliments on a student of the week poster to take home, or play a fun game like “Four Corners” to see who has the same kind of favorite topics.
Getting to know your students is one of the best ways to build classroom community. And a student of the week activity is a great way to get to know your student’s interests outside of your classroom.
Instead of making everything from scratch, pick up the student of the week kit here.