For this week's upper primary teaching tip we're going to explore the importance of giving your upper primary students recognition.
Does your school have perks for the older students? Everybody loves to have something that signifies they're moving up in the world and upper primary students are no different.
Maybe they get to sit on chairs at assembly or be house captain or chairperson of the SRC? These perks are a great way to show recognition of their senior position within the school and are some of the first things students mention when asked what they’re looking forward to about being in Year 6.
You can do this in your classroom as well, by including students in their learning, asking for their ideas and opinions and providing fun self-directed learning activities (with your guidance of course).
Listening to students and allowing them to have a say in classroom management is a great idea too. Here are a few ways you can give your students recognition in the classroom and wider school community.
1. Flexible seating
Allow students the choice of where and how they sit in the classroom. This will need to be managed and have set rules and expectations but it is a great way of allowing students to demonstrate their growing maturity through making choices and behaving responsibly.
2. Added responsibilities
Look for opportunities for your students to help around the school and take on roles that are suited to their age and increasing sense of responsibility. Here's some examples I've seen at various schools:
* Manage the PA system at assembly
* Help out with borrowing and returns in the library
* Serve the canteen or help with prep
* Manage the borrowing system for sports equipment
* Organise lunch time games and activities
* Help duty staff keep the school crossing safe at drop off and pick up time
* Help set up for special events
* Help the junior primary students with logging on for their IT lesson (the JP teachers will LOVE this)
3. Relax your stance (just a little bit)
I rarely make older students line up to move between classes or around the school. I also rarely make them sit on the floor to listen to stories or hear instructions. I find sitting on the floor for extended periods uncomfortable and so do they. They also find it a bit demeaning which isn't conducive to a great relationship.
Obviously there are times when I've needed them to line up and I find because it's such a rare occasion they do it quickly and quietly because they realise for something important (like a head count on excursion or class photos or during an evacuation drill).
Relaxing your stance on things like this is a small but very effective way to show students your recognise their position as older students and they respond well to it and feel proud that they no longer need such strict procedures and protocols. That said, it still needs to be managed by you. If they aren't able to demonstrate the maturity to move around the school as a quiet sensible group or sit at their desks without being distracted go back to lining up and sitting on the floor and try again later in the term when you think they might be ready. Also, explain to them what your expectations are and that you believe they are capable of doing this so it's up to them to show you.
These are just a few of the possible ways you can give your students recognition as the senior students in your primary school. There are many other ideas and tips for teaching upper primary students and I will explore these further in future posts. In the meantime sign up for VIP access, in our free resource library you will find our Goal Setting Flip Book which is the ideal way to start the year with your class.
I'd love to hear from you about how you provide recognition for your upper primary students.