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Star Student---To be or not to be
Old 06-15-2007, 08:18 PM
 
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I am thinking of getting rid of Star Student for next year. I started by having the kids write a letter to the star student. Then I would put it together in a book for them to keep. That became a big ordeal when SOME of my students would refuse to write a nice letter and would do things like....."I liked your trophy very very very very very very very very very much." UGH!!!!

Then I went to a little star book where the kids would write 1-2 sentences on the star and then decorate it. I clipped them together to make a little book. It actually works out okay I guess.

My thinking is that I spend about 35 minutes on Friday doing Star Student activites. It doesn't seem like a lot, but towards the end of the year I always have to double up because of short weeks, and too many students. THEN it can be upwards over an hour!!

Do you think it's horrible not to do Star Student in 3rd grade??? And if I get rid of it, is there anything else I can do to highlight my students without taking up so much time???

Thanks!


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Third Grade is a transition year..
Old 06-16-2007, 04:02 AM
 
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...so I would streamline my time and honor 4 students each month who are stars because of excellent work or behavior or even outstanding effort. Just a certificate and a class round of applause. Don't make yourself crazy trying to get the kids to write. I hope this helps.

Last edited by musicbug; 06-16-2007 at 04:02 AM.. Reason: ooops. too early in the morning.
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Old 06-16-2007, 04:29 AM
 
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I actually thought 3rd grade would be too old when I made the switch, but I tweaked it a little and it works great. I continue to do it because it is such a self-esteem boost for my less popular kids and they CHERISH those little booklets from their friends. Here's what I do though:

I found that the most beneficial part of having a star/student of the week is the letters from classmates. However, it can be time consuming if done in class. I think kids in general really need a lot of practice in both writing and writing friendly letters so part of their Monday homework is to write a letter to the star of the week. The kids are responsible for writing a letter stating the posititve attributes that they observe in their classmates. I encourage them to site specific examples (i.e. You included me in the kickball game and I appreciate that.) and have a list of "banned" words (cool, funny, pretty, etc.)

The kids turn these letters in on Wednesday and have the option of typing them at home or in class and they give them to me illustrated on Wednesday morning. We present it to the star of the week on Friday.

Other than that the Star of the Week doesn't really take too much time or take away from the class.

I have a template that I created that prints out as 2 8.5 x 11 inch pages and have them use that to create a display to share with the class. I used to do posters, but found this to be better because I keep them. They bring them to me on Monday and I display them on the board. At the end of their week I slip them back to back into a plastic page protector and they go into a binder which is our "Star of the Week" book. I keep it in the class library and it is an absolute FAVORITE to read.

On Tuesday the child brings in a favorite book to read to the class. I normally do a read aloud in the morning anyhow, so in this case it is the child doing it. Again, it takes no additional time.

On Wednesday the child gets to sit at my desk to work for the day. I'm never at my desk when the kids are in the room aside from checking morning folders so this isn't a big deal (well, to me anyway...it is a HUGE deal to the kids).

On Thursday the star of the week gets to skip morning work (journal and number of the day) and use that 30 minutes as free choice. We do these activities EVERY day so it certainly will not effect his/her learning to skip it once. Also on Thursday, during my morning meeting I share a letter that "someone special" wrote about them. This is an idea I adapted from my idol Beth Newingham (http://hill.troy.k12.mi.us/staff/bnewingham/myweb3/) She has the parent's write a letter, but I just ask that "someone special" write it since I feel as though a few of my parents will drop the ball. This way I can ask a former teacher or the principal to do so for that child.

On Friday we present the book (which includes a letter I wrote) to the child and they are able to invite someone (usually a parent) to come to have lunch with them.

I have a special "star of the week" chair that sits next to my chair during group times and a special desk (we use tables) that they are able to sit at for the week. I painted the desk and covered it in stars and it has a comfy chair. The desk includes fancy scissors, gel pens, glittery crayons and fun colored markers that they are welcome to use to illustrate their work when they are the star.

I guess it depends on your population. While I don't work in a low-income area, I do work in an area where the kids really do appreciate and benefit from this extra attention.

A few other ideas to make Star of the Week special for a child, but not make any more work for you:

-let that person be line leader for the week
-let that person be the operator (answer phones)
-call upon him/her for errands to other classes

As a sidenote: I also have a special basket of birthday themed books that children are only allowed to read on or near their birthdays (we do 1/2 birthdays for the summer bday kids) and they do so instead of the books in their book boxes for the day.
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star student
Old 06-16-2007, 06:21 AM
 
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I don't think it's horrible if you don't have a Star Student (several of my colleagues don't), but I really think you could make it easier on yourself and still do it. Mine sure look forward to their week!

Since I have a jungle theme, I have a King/Queen of the Jungle. I'll attach the letter I send home to parents so you can see what privileges it gives the child. I'll also attach the form they fill out (at home) and put on a small bulletin board in our classroom library, so the other kids can read it throughout the week.

The whole thing doesn't take time away from learning, so it works for us!

For a personal note from classmates, I do that on birthdays. On the first week of school, I give the kids a birthday sheet (I'll attach that, too) and put it on their desk. Everyone walks around and writes one or 2 words about what they like about that child. Since we talk about classroom community at the beginning of the year, it ties right in with it. We talk about saying only positive messages, put some examples on the board, etc... They use different colored markers to make the sheet colorful. Then they go back to their seats and glue their own paper onto contruction paper. I laminate all of them and save them in my file cabinet. When it's the child's birthday, I have it waiting on their desk when they arrive that morning (along with a goodie bag). They love it! It only takes 30-45 min. of classtime - and that's for the whole year!
Attached Files
File Type: doc King of the Jungle - letter.doc (31.5 KB, 398 views)
File Type: doc King of the Jungle.doc (29.0 KB, 336 views)
File Type: doc Birthday.doc (28.0 KB, 295 views)
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all about me
Old 06-16-2007, 07:55 AM
 
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I don't do Star Student but instead I do what I call All About Me. I go these posters from Scholastic called all about me and have the student fill it out at home. They have blanks for all sorts of things and a place for a picture. I have a form letter that I send home so the parents know what to do. I try to keep it a secret so the rest of the class is surprised on Monday. I start the year by displaying my own poster and talk about myself on the first day of school. Then on each Monday morning about 15 minutes before lunch break the student gets to sit in the bar stool and read their poster for the class and then the kids raise their hands and the student answers questions. I do it right before lunch to avoid taking too much time out of my day. The student is line leader for the week and their poster stays up all week long for people to reread. I don't do anything else with them. The kids look forward to this time and the surprise of who will be next. I have a banner that I made on Print shop that says "Read all about_______" and then I print each child's name on a separate paper and put that up with their poster. When there week is over I give the poster, picture, and name part to them.
I plan on doing this again next year because it has been so successful.


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For Scraphappy
Old 06-16-2007, 09:01 AM
 
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Would you mind sharing the template you created for Star Student? Creating a book with all of the star student pages sounds great. By the way, all of your ideas sound super, and I know my students would enjoy them. I didn't do star student this year (for the first time in many) but reading these posts has given me new ideas and inspired me to try again next year! Thanks!
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Pond Pal of the Week
Old 06-16-2007, 11:20 AM
 
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Susan,

Once more you have inspired me! I used your King of the Jungle ideas to make my own Pond Pal of the Week. Each student will have a chance to be the Pond Pal (hopefully the week of their birthday, or close to it.) I will have a bulletin board (a pond) that will feature the Pond Pal of the Week. Attached are the notification letter and the lily pads I plan to use. The rest of the pond will be decorated with laminated clipart pictures (from FROGS by Laurie Furnell at PCCrafter.com) I will post apicture om my website when I have it up in the classroom.

Thanks for the inspiration and keep it coming!!!!!
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Pond Pal Letter.pdf (158.0 KB, 296 views)
File Type: pdf Small Lily Pads.pdf (101.9 KB, 250 views)

Last edited by tbsrwilson; 06-16-2007 at 11:20 AM.. Reason: oops!
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tbrwilson....
Old 06-16-2007, 04:01 PM
 
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Adorable interpretation... I love your graphics. Where did they come from?
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Clip Art
Old 06-16-2007, 05:47 PM
 
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It is from www.pccrafter.com . The set is called Frogs, by Laurie Furnell. I get a lot of mt clipart and backgrounds from there. Check it out!
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star
Old 06-16-2007, 07:13 PM
 
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I hated star student because of pretty much the same reasons you gave. Last year this is what I did and I loved it. Scholastic has these great Star Student posters that students fill in the blanks to and decorate with pictures and color. The first 9 weeks I do a unit on Me and my community. This poster is their 1st 9 weeks project. They complete it at home. They present it telling a little about themselves. We display the posters in the hall for a while. I put them in their portfolio and included it in their end of the year memory book. It worked out beautifully. This is what I plan to do from now on.


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Thank you EVERYONE!
Old 06-16-2007, 08:37 PM
 
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Thank you for all your imput. I think I will be doing some form of "star student" next year, but I will be using many of your wonderful ideas!

Yes, I agree that the kids really do look forward to it, and it is wonderful to see those shy awkward kids have their 15 minutes of fame.

By Gosh, I will make it work!!

Thank you all again!
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Old 06-18-2007, 04:12 PM
 
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My first year of teaching, I team taught with a woman who did a star of the week writing activity on Friday. She had the star draw a self-portrait on a circle of paper. Each child then wrote the star of the week a message on a piece of paper in the shape of a petal. The letters were all pasted onto the self-portrait, making a flower. The children LOVED these flowers! At the beginning of the year, the messages were simpler, but as the year progressed, children were expected to adhere to more demanding criteria (ie. 2 adjectives, an adverb and a strong verb were expected in January). I keep meaning to try this is my classroom, but for some reason have yet to get around to it! Maybe next year...
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Old 06-18-2007, 06:47 PM
 
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Once again I'm so impressed with your creativity! I always think yours end up looking better than mine - but that's okay! I'm so glad you could use my idea and make it fit your classroom!
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