Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Star of the Week

I've thought a lot about the "Star of the Week" that the four-year-old classes have implemented at the preschool.  I've wondered if middle and high school teachers could capitalize on the practice, which values individual differences, highlights out of school literacy and learning, and encourages parental participation.  In professional development workshops I've held this semester, I've asked upper school teachers whether they thought "star of the week" could be adapted for an adolescent classroom.  A few nodded their heads.  Most balked, saying that the teens would not want to be on display and that parents would not participate.

I run into resistance a lot in the work that I do, so I wasn't surprised by the negative reactions.  I was encouraged, however, by the nods of those few teachers.  After visiting the four-year-old class in May, I am even more convinced that we need to find a way to bring "star of the week" into the ELA classroom.  As I watched the teachers individually assess and instruct that day's star, who was in charge of leading the morning circle each day that week, I realized another advantage of the practice: it allows for, and encourages, the individualized work that many students need.

I haven't quite figured out how to do "star of the week" in an adolescent classroom, where admittedly the students are often resistant to being center stage and the stakes socially and academically are high, but I think there might be a way.  I think we could learn a lot from the preschool setting.

2 comments:

  1. Hi! Dr. T! I do something in my classroom that is similar to "star of the week." However, it focuses more on academics rather than focusing on the student. Each week, I choose a "super scholar." I spend a great deal of my class time in individual / small group instruction and conferences. While I'm in these conferences, it is the "super scholar's" job to act as the teacher - field questions, allow people to go to the bathroom, lead mini-lessons, model work, etc. The students really respect the super scholar as the classroom leader of the week. They usually cheer when I announce the new week's "super scholar." Another thing that I do that sounds similar to "star of the week" (but again takes a more academic focus), I let my students teach for about the first 10 - 15 minutes of class. They absolutely love this! By this point in the year, all of my students have each had at least two turns teaching. I think "star of the week" would totally work on the middle school level and high school level. I think that it is all in the delivery and established classroom culture.

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  2. Thanks for the response! I love the academic status you give your students. What if at the end of the week, the super scholar gets center stage academically - and parents/guardians/special guests were invited to share in the celebration? Would that fly in your classroom?

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