When I was in school, end of the year awards were very strict – no funny business. They included the usual least absences, most improved student, best grades, highest test scores, and extra-curricular activity awards like most-valuable-player, first-chair band-students, drama students receiving awards for getting a "one" in competitions , and journalist getting awards for receiving all-league or all-state honors. Very usual, and very expected. Everyone who received an award knew beforehand that they were going to get them.
Nonetheless, for most students the awards assembly was generally boring, especially if they did not receive an award. Actually, I've noticed quite a few students sleeping through it. And frankly, why should not they? It has nothing to do with them, but they are still required to watch, clap, and whatever other nonsense the teacher watching over them wanted them to do.
The awards assembly was not a motivational experience. Watching someone receive an award does not – at least necessarily – motivate a "C student" to receive all "A" s. Even if it did, the student may not have had the means to do so.
There are many factors at play to motivate students to do better. Sure, those who receive an award are proud, especially years down the road when they look through their scrap book and find them; however, for most students, it is still simply a waste of time.
So how do you make the end of the year school awards more appealing? By making them fun and humorous, of course!
Here are a few of my favorite ideas:
- Lead the assembly with a funny story by a teacher about an awards assembly they went to. Of course, it has to be good humored, so something like them not receiving an award and being disappointed is a good choice. Or otherwise some other humorous story about a previous awards assembly.
- Have awards such as "student most hated by teachers" – which should go to a good humored student who has caused some trouble but definitely not the most hated. "Class clown award" is another easy choice in this department.
- Teachers can give a mini-show. A mime act, a one-act play, singing, or teachers showing off some of their rare talents. A mini-talent show, sometimes.
Doing something like this is intended to keep all students interested; they should never be bored in school. It also acts as a way for students to gain respect for their teachers by seeing them as human and not only as teaching robots.
To recap, end of the year rewards are a great way to award students; however, it leaves many simply wishing for the assembly to end. Instead, try mixing things up a bit and adding humor and other fun activities to keep them interested.