Like many teachers, you probably work hard to engage students with humor to hold their attention. A fun way to cap this off with each class is by presenting humorous classroom awards at the end of the school year. But sometimes, what was meant as a joke can hurt the feelings of students and parents. Being conscious of the implications of your funny student awards is vital to avoiding hurt feelings and helping your students build confidence and self-esteem. Try these techniques for adding humor in a positive way.
Emphasize the Positive
While humor is often a component of awards at the end of the school year, it shouldn’t be the main focus. Look for positive traits of your students first, then find a humorous presentation later. If necessary, make a list of students and their special skills, interests, and abilities.
This will help you keep your classroom awards focused on the positive. It’s also important to make sure these awards honor traits and characteristics your students can control. For example, a tall student may feel left out if their award simply acknowledges that they’re tall. Use these classroom awards to offer a genuine acknowledgment of each student’s positive traits as they finish out the school year and head to the next grade.
Brainstorm the Classroom Awards Presentation
Now that you have a list of positive traits for each student, it’s time to find a humorous way to present an award honoring them! Look for fun graphics to illustrate the skill, or visit a dollar store to find funny props that represent it. Here are some ideas:
- Super Sleuth – Present your best researcher with a magnifying glass and detective hat
- King of Kindness – Crown the student (of any gender) who works hard to uplift their peers
- Word Wizard – Encourage your best creative writer with a writing journal or comp book
- Savvy Scientist – Get creative with your star scientist; look for a handheld periodic table, a cup shaped like a beaker, or even something as simple as a ruler
- Aspiring Artist – Acknowledge artistry by gifting your best artist with a paint palette or set of brushes
- Smithsonian Star – The history buff in your classroom would cherish a small globe or atlas
- Inspector Gadget – Okay, they may not understand the reference, so you can change the name if necessary, but it only makes sense to present a small gadget to the student who helped get the TV working on movie day
- Duct Tape Award – Some students think outside the box to fix any issue in the classroom
- Numbers Ninja – Crack out a calculator for your math whiz
- Concertmaster – The classroom musician can serenade the class when you award them a kazoo
For early elementary students, create personalized scratch-off certificates with the name of the award hidden in silver. Let students scratch it off to reveal the title of the award and read it aloud. Use creative titles and descriptive language for these uplifting award names.
It’s important not to joke at the expense of your students, even though you know other teachers and students may appreciate the humor. Remember, this is a time to honor and reward students, not show off your inner comedian. Avoid the temptation to award the little daydreamer or most talkative student. It may get a laugh, but it doesn’t do anything to build up students and reward them for their positive skills.