Student Reward Certificates for Achievement, Recognition, and Motivation

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Secondary Strategies
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Secondary Strategies


Recognize students’ positive actions, behaviors, and accomplishments with High Fives—a versatile resource that rewards students for expending effort, taking risks, thinking deeply, caring about others, having an AH-HA! moment, reaching goals, and more.

Research shows that rewarding students for actions that are challenging for them or require deep thought, are what we, as teachers, want to focus on. Recognition for effort is what truly motivates students to stretch and grow and to expend even more effort on the increasingly difficult learning tasks we set before them.

In a 2009 article titled “Rewards for Students Under a Microscope”, Carol Dweck, a Stanford psychologist notes that she “has found problems with praise that labels a child as having a particular quality (“You’re so smart”), while praise for actions (“You’re working hard”) is more motivating.” ( Recognition that rewards effort over intelligence motivates students to continue to push forward, to keep stretching, and to continue trying, even when what they are doing is difficult.

High Fives are designed to encourage the actions that we’d all like to see in our students such as

• Thinking creatively and insightfully

• Digging deeper with close reading and text analysis

• Focusing on classwork when it's difficult: distracting classmates; challenges at home or with friends, feeling sick, etc.

• Helping out a classmate who is struggling or showing kindness to others, etc.

What’s Included:

• 28 different designs to choose from in five different categories

• Two different sizes of each of the 28 designs—a ½ sheet (2 on one page) and a ¼ sheet (4 on one page)

• High Five and Wall of Fame posters to print on colored paper for a recognition bulletin board

The 28 High Fives are:

General Recognition—High Five

1. A High Five For You!

2. Nice Work!

3. Super Duper!

4. You’re Doing a Great Job!

5. You’re a Star!

6. Thanks for Being a Ray of Sunshine!

7. Way to Make Everyone Smile!


8. Way to Think Outside the Box!

9. You Have Such Great Ideas!

10. Excellent Higher Order Thinking!

11. Way to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone!

12. Way to be Focused and Productive!

13. Way to Work Smarter Not Harder!

14. You Ask Such Inquisitive Questions!


15. Way to Stick With It!

16. You Can Do It!

17. Way to Persevere!

18. Don’t Freak Out! Just Keep Trying!

19. Not Yet, So Try Another Option!

20. You’re Improving, So Keep Trying!

Kind and Helpful

21. Thank you For Being Kind and Caring!

22. Thank you For Lending a Helping Hand!

23. Thanks for Helping!

Academic Excellence

24. Excellent Class Participation!

25. Excellent Teamwork!

26. Close Reading Rock Star!

27. Your Writing is Detailed and Specific!

28. Your Writing Has Style!

How to Use High Fives:

• Posters—large or small—on a recognition bulletin board

• Postcards* or books marks printed on card stock

• Notes (fold in half) you can give to a student, para-educator, parent, colleague, student intern, or pre-service teacher, when folded in half.

*According to the USPS website, the smaller High Fives are within the size limitations for postcards. All you need to do is draw a line down the center of the back of the card, write your note on the left-hand side, and write the address on the right, leaving room for a stamp. High Fives make it easy to mail home some recognition!

Easy Printing:

High Fives are, primarily, black, white and gray; however, some graphics had to remain colored for their details to be visible. When printing in black and white or gray scale, the colored graphics come out crisp and clear. As you can see, High Fives really shine on bright colored paper!

Benefits of Using High Fives:

1. Encourages students to stretch. Students learn that you’re looking for mind-stretching, risk-taking, deep-thinking behaviors. When students learn that their teachers are looking for effort beyond the typical, that's what they will strive for.

2. Levels the recognition playing field. At the secondary level, some students are recognized in very public ways (Student of the Month or Athlete of the Week, for example), while others receive no recognition at all. High Fives give all students a chance to be recognized and appreciated—even if it is on a smaller (but more personal) scale.

3. Allows challenging students to get some lovin’ too. It is often difficult to look past the difficult behaviors that students can exhibit, but High Fives make it much easier to recognize students for their positive actions. Have the High Fives ready to go and when your challenging student shines, hand over a High Five on the spot. Win-win.

I hope that these High Fives help you more easily cheer on your students to greater success!

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Keywords: Reward, rewards, recognition, achievement, certificate, tags, motivation, motivate, effort, grit, kindness, brag, reading, writing

Total Pages
74 pages
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