Teacher high-fives smiling elementary student as classmates watch and smile.

Celebrate Progress as Excellence: Encouraging Growth Mindsets & Inclusion

Celebrating success is an essential element of every classroom. It is the driver behind student motivation, self-esteem, and creating a positive classroom culture.

– Alison Smith


See the Teach Starter Blog source provided for complete details, tips, examples, and considerations (for inclusion and diversity) of each activity.

1. Celebrate With a Class High-Five

A quick way to encourage class morale and to raise the profile of even the quietest member of your class is to encourage class high-fives to celebrate student success — or class elbow bumps, air high fives, etc. in these times of social distancing.

2. Call Home

It makes parents feel proud. But most importantly, it makes students feel proud of themselves and of each other.

3. Celebration Tunnels

Is there anything more uplifting than running through a human tunnel? Celebration tunnels have to be my all-time favorite way to celebrate student success — no teaching resources required. (Video example included in the original blog source.)

4. Celebrate Life Skills

Watching out for ways to ensure you celebrate all kinds of success is an important part of building a positive classroom culture. One perfect place to celebrate student success that’s not about the letter or number at the top of the paper is in the areas of personal and social capability.

5. Send Postcards and Letters Home

Why is receiving a postcard or letter in the mail so magical? Letter writing takes time, shows a deep level of care, and makes the receiver feel valued. The extra effort of writing a letter goes a long way in making your students feel special, appreciated, and proud of themselves. Letters are timeless treasures that make memories.

6. Buddy Awards

Students tend to look up to their buddies and see them as role models. So, it makes perfect sense to ask buddies to help celebrate student success by presenting student awards.

7. Celebration Envelopes

Celebration Envelopes are a great way to recognize student success and to develop peer relationships. This fun activity is particularly suitable for the upper elementary grades and encourages students to think about the strengths of others.

8. Plan a Principal Class Visit

There is huge power in asking your school principal to visit your classroom to celebrate student success. Book in some time in their schedule and ask your school principal to drop by.

9. Set up a Student Success Wow Wall

A great way to celebrate student success is to create a “Wow Work” wall where students can proudly put their work on display. What’s more, you can encourage classroom visitors to check it out!

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