ESOL teacher at Sandy Hill and Choptank Elementary Schools in Dorchester County.
It takes a hive
I work at Sandy Hill Elementary where our mascot is the Bee.
We call ourselves The Hive! Some say that it takes a village; well, in our
school it takes a hive! Our administration and teachers do everything we can to
acknowledge positive academic and behavior achievements every day.
The teachers at Sandy Hill do so many things that it would
be impossible to list them all. Our students can earn lunch with their teacher,
be a teacher for the day, become student of the week, or earn “brain bucks,”
just to name a few.
When a teacher or any staff member sees a child behaving in
a positive way, we give them a Bee. This piece of paper with a bee on it is
signed by the student and put in a container in their classroom. The Bees are
collected throughout the week by the teacher, and at the end of each month,
each class has a Bee Drawing. The winners go to the office and pick a prize.
Both kids and teachers love Bees.
We also have something called a Bees Knees, a step up from
the regular Bee. Students can get a Bees Knees for something they have done in
or out of the classroom. A student can achieve this by going above and beyond
on an assignment, or it can be because the student helped another student or
teacher beyond what is normally expected. When a student gets a Bees Knees,
they have their achievement announced to the whole school. Who doesn’t like
hearing something positive about themselves over the announcements!
Everyone is in on the reward system. Everyone can recognize
and be recognized for good behavior! Bee’s Knees can even be given by students to their teachers or other appreciated staff member. Instructional
assistants, custodians, and secretaries have all received Bees Knees from staff
and students as a special thank
Another way we acknowledge student achievement is with a
Positive Bee Referral. This is something extra special. A student has either done something amazing academically or
behaviorally to get a Positive Bee Referral. In addition to an announcement to
the whole school, the student signs a special Bee which is hung on the
principal’s door in the cafeteria for all of the students to see all year! When
parents come for parent-teacher conferences, it is one of the first things the
student will show their parent.
Any school can do something similar to what we are doing at
Sandy Hill Elementary. It’is not difficult to administer and the students
respond in a very positive way. I believe that the reason our program works so
well is because any teacher can reward any child for a positive achievement. If a first grade
teacher sees a fifth grade student doing something positive they can give them
a Bee or a Bees Knees. Students learn quickly that they can be recognized for
exemplary behavior anytime, anywhere in their school—not only in their
John Kahl is an ESOL teacher at Sandy Hill and Choptank
Elementary Schools in Dorchester County.
Click here to read more great tips from Maryland educators!