Would you like to help students value their effort in class? Are you tired of looking for external motivators and reward systems that can be costly or time-consuming?
This document is a basic certificate of achievement I created for a 4th grade unit on informative writing and the research process. Its purpose is to help students feel as though their work and effort is valued highly and appreciated by creating a sense of formality and importance they can enjoy upon completing their project. Rather than acting as a reward with value, the certificate asserts that their final product was valuable and commendable.
After any unit that requires students to devote a lot of attention and effort to developing a project, written, piece, or other display, this certificate is a great way to congratulate students and demonstrate that their work was appreciated. It rewards students' devotion and progress throughout the task or project, which can aid students in developing a "Growth Mindset," as described by Dr. Carol Dweck.
How to Use:
1. After a project or prolonged task, print the certificate for each student. I hand-write the students' names and attach a small picture of each of them holding their work.
2. Present each certificate to the students in class during a formal "recognition" ceremony of sorts at the end of the project. This doesn't have to take much time. Read the certificate text once and announce each student's name as in a graduation ceremony. I like to give a brief handshake and a word of thanks for their dedication to each student as they come up to receive their certificate as well, specifically for any students who may have struggled with the process.
3. Help students post the certificate below the students' final product on a wall or hallway area dedicated to showcasing students' hard-work. Not only does this help students and their peers identify the student's work more easily, it serves as a reminder for the student of their positive results, as well as helps parents or guardians find their work when they visit.
Note: I also like to use it as a way to introduce students to complex vocabulary by highlighting how more complicated words are sometimes used to build meaning, value, or importance into an idea. You could use it as a transitional step into lessons on building vocabulary, working with synonyms and antonyms, or creative writing and fiction.
The certificate is in WORD document format so anyone can tailor it to their unit or award needs.