Excellence in Education: Autocrat and End of Year Recognitions
During my second or third year of teaching at the end of the year, I began the practice of recognizing each student for something that made them special.
My first six years of teaching were spent at a Rappahannock County High School, one of the smallest schools in Virginia, so it wasn’t uncommon for me to teach students 2, 3, 4, or even 6 times during their four years of high school. One late spring day, in my senior humanities class, one of the seniors, asked, “Are you going to give us a certificate like you did our freshmen year?”
Truthfully, I hadn’t really thought much about it, especially since they were seniors--almost all of whom I had taught as freshman (I taught every freshman history class). One student, Cara, immediately joined the conversation, “You HAVE to. I still remember that you said, I was always smiling and had a beautiful smile.”
Now I know you might be thinking, “Nicest smile. C’mon that’s pretty cheesy, Gillespie.” Well let me tell you what Cara said next, “As a freshman I was filled with self-image problems and thought I had the ugliest smile. The fact that you recognized I didn’t meant a lot to me. And I began smiling more.”
I then began to ask the students if they remembered what each of their certificates said, and surprisingly almost all of them did. Needless to say, for the next dozen years, I made sure to recognize what made each student special with a certificate at the end of the year.
Depending on the class, I varied my approach. Sometimes, I handed out a paper with everyone’s name and asked each student to write something positive about all of his/her classmates. Some of these statements were more powerful and emotional than anything I could even fathom
You can also use AutoCrat (a Google Doc Add-On) to help the process:
- Create an online survey using Google Forms.
- Create a Google Doc using the certificate template. Use the repeating brackets for places where you want to merge submitted data from the Form/Sheet. Example: <<Student Name>> or <<Best Smile>>
- On the Google Sheet, from the Add-Ons menu select AutoCrat
- Choose your Google Document as your template.
- Select what options you want to use.
- BAM! You’re done.
Now, honestly you really don’t need to use AutoCrat to do this, but it’s a powerful tool that has so many uses in education, I felt it was worth sharing. Here’s a video explaining how to use it for certificates, but it has lots of uses.
Positive Referrals: https://goo.gl/forms/HZtZoQqHoa2SWT0H3
Portfolio Assistance If you have a student who needs assistance setting up his/her portfolio, click here
Technology / Website Permission Request Form http://go.shr.lc/1HovEA6 Please use this form to request use of a website that requires student log-in if the site is not already on the approved list. DART approved list
Morning Announcement Stream: http://streaming.k12albemarle.org/ACPS/links.htm Please be sure to have announcements cued and ready to go at 8:55 every morning.
Announcement Request: http://tinyurl.com/requestannouncement
Calendar and Memo Items
May 15: SOL Schedule begins, modified bell schedules
May 17: Honors Award Banquet/Inductions
May 18: Faculty Meeting: Morning Only
May 19: Awards Banquet
Year-end calendar is here.
Final Exam schedule is here
May 8: Pam Bradley
May 10: Rob Ayres, Amber Sullivan (cafeteria)
May 13: Adam Southall
May 16: Monica Ferguson
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