I tried, but I'm terrible at phone calls. I'll talk for an hour, and then be all, "What the heck, they made me talk for an hour!" It's not good. Okay, three good emails, right? That'll do!
Can't. I'm wordy as heck, and that's really not efficient, it'll take forever. Worse, it's hard to get some kids in, while I want to write nice emails about others every day! Excuses kept coming.
So I did with this goal what I've done with so many jobs this year. I outsourced the responsibility to my students, and the result was magical. Here's how it works:
1. If cleanup ends on time, and we have time to do it, we have a meeting at the end of the day to talk about who's been awesome in some way today. Each student is allowed to nominate one person, and ideally everyone gets a call before anyone gets seconds.
2. Students nominate their friends. It may be, "Mia helped me cleanup when I spilled my crayons," or "Lucas was nice to me at recess when I was mad." It might be as simple as, "KidName didn't get in trouble at all today, he's really been doing a good job." The cool thing about 3rd grade is that they want that kid to have good news.
3. When someone gets three nominations, we say, "All in favor," and everyone says, "Aye!" The nominee of the day goes over to the phone.
4. I press the speakerphone button, and dial out, when the student's parent picks up she/he reads the script on the phone: "Hi, Mom, I'm calling on speakerphone to tell you that I've been voted as the Good Phone Call Student of the Day," and everyone goes wild cheering. I pick up the handset and hand it to the child, and they say something like, "Yes....uh huh....okay.....I'll see you when I get home.....I love you, too!"
5. And that's it! They get so excited. Some of the kids get special perks at home, and some of them just get a nice moment, but they really love the chance to recognize their classmates, to make the call, and to cheer for their friends.
Simple, and borne of my laziness, I think we stumbled on something pretty magical this year!