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The Whole Child
To teach the whole child means to take into consideration the child's intellect, emotions and physical abilities. When educators are able to see the whole child, they are better able to give the student ways to improve and grow. Knowing a student's likes and dislikes, abilities and difficulties as well as their passions, makes assessing a student much easier, in that the teacher knows if a student is having a bad day. This knowledge allows the teacher to grade the child fairly, based on a holistic view of the student's work as opposed to a tunnel vision view of the student's ability to perform certain prescribed tasks or tests.
When considering the reports at the end of the year, teachers can also scaffold their comments on their knowledge of the child's work for the entire school year. In addition, planning ahead of time will allow the teacher to track some accomplishments or gains the student makes during the school year that can then go into the reports and/or awards.
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Ways to Praise
There are many ways to praise a student, even the most difficult ones. Positive reinforcement goes much further than words of condemnation. Adding positive affirmations is one of the best ways to help students gain confidence.
Year end report comments can include:
- Great job on...(name a project)
- Thank you for always being...(helpful, kind, responsible, etc)
- I appreciate the way you...(sing, dance, paint, read, etc.)
- When you...(helped a classmate, tried to read a difficult word, told a story, etc.) I was very proud of you.
- This year you improved greatly in...(name a subject)
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Super Student Awards
For younger students, teachers may think of creating a special award that ALL the students get. I have used "Super Student Awards" and have listed everything from, "Best Cleaner-upper" to "Best Improvement in Language Arts." What I found was that many of the students never get any recognition. Being able to show them that they were appreciated for something, makes students feel good about themselves, as well as gives them something to share with their friends and family.
Other awards that can be considered for the entire class are:
- Thematic awards based on a special unit the class studied - for instance, The Rainforest Ranger Awards or The Stupendous Space Scientist Awards.
- Awards based on the teachers name - for example, Ms. Scott's Super Readers or Mr. Brown's Best Buddies
- "Outstanding" Award - teacher lists something the student did that was outstanding
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Leaving a student with end of the year report comments that are positive and affirming is one way to help students view school as a nurturing place to be. Showing appreciation for the little things they do as well as the big makes students more willing to take an active part in their school environment.