I ask Student Scouts to identify peers who demonstrate the three class standards/rules (showing respect, solving problems, and making good decisions) to reinforce the idea that good behavior is rewarded both intrinsically and extrinsically. Student Scouts identify their peers who are showing these standards at various pausing points throughout the lesson and give out Literacy Awards. Pausing points are planned purposefully and serve as opportunities for students to practice monitoring and assessing their own behavior.
Observation charts are a type of inquiry chart that stimulate students’ curiosity. They build background information while providing teachers with a diagnostic tool. And they provide opportunities for language support from peers. During an observation chart, I use real pictures or paintings attached to white poster paper or butcher paper that contain a theme (e.g., food from a culture, ways of transportation, games a culture plays, etc.). My students walk around from observation chart to observation chart and write down either a question they're wondering about, a comment they'd like to make, or just an observation (i.e., statement of fact).
This (bi-weekly/tri-weekly) strategy is used to incentivize, motivate, and support my students in truly taking ownership for their own learning. During each Blended Learning Data Chat, I recognize students who are consistently performing at the highest levels (Top-5) per program with a certificate and a small prize of their choice like a book, poster, or eraser. I then have the highest performing students come up so we can take a group selfie (with a selfie stick, of course), and then print each student a copy of the picture. The last part of the Blended Learning Data Chat is the recognition and celebration of our top performers who receive a certificate and take a picture to take home. They also receive a poster, eraser, book, or small prize of their choice for their effort and consistency.
One way we bring authenticity to our lessons is by making explicit connections or real world hooks to what we're learning. What I particularly enjoyed about our persuasive writing unit is that we were able to identify real problems in our own school community and to think of solutions. It then brought about real change in our school, and in this case brought about getting more magazines into the classroom which was an identified need of our class.