The Benefits of Awarding Middle School Students for Creativity and Autonomy 

Part 1: Why give awards?

It’s no secret that middle school can be a difficult time for kids. They’re trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in, all while transitioning from childhood to adulthood. As teachers, we want to create an environment where students feel comfortable taking risks, learning from their mistakes, and developing creative thinking skills. One way to do this is by giving awards at the end of each quarter in a class focused on student autonomy and creativity. 

In this post:

Part 1: A discussion of giving awards in a classroom.

Part 2: Possible awards to consider giving out in your class!

Why Awards Matter 

When it comes to fostering creativity and autonomy in middle schoolers, awards can go a long way. All too often, middle schoolers are taught that there is only one right answer—which can stifle their creativity and lead them to become complacent with their work. By introducing awards into the classroom, you’re showing your students that there isn’t just one right answer—that there are multiple ways of looking at a problem or situation. This encourages them to think outside the box and take risks with their ideas and opinions. Furthermore, awards can also help build self-esteem in your students by acknowledging their efforts and accomplishments throughout the quarter. 

Encouraging Risk-Taking 

Awards are a great way to encourage risk-taking in the classroom by recognizing middle schoolers for going beyond what is expected of them or attempting something new. For example, giving out awards for creative projects helps reinforce the idea that it is okay to try something different even if there is a risk involved. Additionally, awarding students who take on leadership roles will motivate them to take on more responsibility in the future. By recognizing these behaviors, you can create an environment in which middle schoolers feel comfortable taking risks without fear of negative consequences. 

Promoting Self-Reflection 

Awarding students for their work provides opportunities for self-reflection as well. When awarded for their efforts, middle schoolers can think back on what they did right and learn from their mistakes if necessary. This helps them become more self-aware and encourages them to continue learning and growing as individuals. Awards also provide teachers with an opportunity to discuss what went into earning an award such as hard work or perseverance so that students understand these values better and apply them outside of the classroom setting as well. 

Recognizing Achievement 

Finally, awarding middle schoolers allows teachers to recognize achievements that may not be reflected in traditional assessments or tests such as participation, collaboration or innovation. This promotes a sense of accomplishment among students who may not excel at standardized testing but have valuable skills that should be acknowledged nonetheless. It also reinforces the idea that success doesn’t always come from getting perfect scores—sometimes it comes from trying new things or working together with peers towards a common goal.  

Types of Awards 

When it comes to giving awards at the end of the quarter for a class focused on student autonomy and creativity, you have some options. You could opt for traditional “Most Improved Student” or “Best Project” awards, or you could get creative with more specific themes like “Biggest Risk Taker” or “Most Innovative Solution Provider” awards. You could even let your students suggest award categories—after all, what better way to promote autonomy than by allowing your students to decide how success should be measured? Whatever type of award you choose should be tailored towards encouraging independent thinking rather than conformity or mediocrity. 

Giving awards at the end of each quarter in a class focused on student autonomy and creativity is an excellent way to foster an environment where risk-taking is encouraged and failure isn’t seen as something negative. Awards help build self-esteem while also promoting independent thinking among middle schoolers—so why not give it a try? With thoughtful consideration into what type of award you’d like to offer, you’re sure to see positive results from your students!

Part 2 – Possible awards a student might earn!

These first examples are specific to Innovative Arts class. The following will work in more classes.

  • Engineer of the term: This award could be given to a student who excels at engineering projects or who shows a particular aptitude for engineering concepts.
  • Designer of the term: This award could be given to a student who excels at design projects or who shows a particular aptitude for design concepts.
  • Digital creator of the term: This award could be given to a student who excels at creating digital content or who shows a particular aptitude for using digital tools.
  • Wordsmith of the term: This award could be given to a student who excels at writing or who shows a particular aptitude for language and communication.
  • Coder of the term: This award could be given to a student who excels at coding projects or who shows a particular aptitude for computer programming.
  • Entrepreneur of the term: This award could be given to a student who excels at entrepreneurship projects or who shows a particular aptitude for business and innovation.
  • Creativity award: This award could be called the “Creative Genius” award, the “Innovative Thinker” award, or the “Imagination Award.”
  • Teamwork award: This award could be called the “Team Player” award, the “Collaboration Award,” or the “Working Together” award.
  • Innovation award: This award could be called the “Inventor of the Year” award, the “Game Changer” award, or the “Forward Thinker” award.
  • Creator award: This award could be called the “Master Creator” award, the “Idea Generator” award, or the “Innovative Creator” award.
  • Creativity award: This award could be called the “Artistic Genius” award, the “Design Dynamo” award, or the “Creative Spark” award.
  • Teamwork award: This award could be called the “Cooperation Award,” the “Togetherness Award,” or the “Team Spirit” award.
  • Innovation award: This award could be called the “Innovative Mind” award, the “Forward Thinker” award, or the “Disruptor” award.
  • Creator award: This award could be called the “Idea Master” award, the “Visionary” award, or the “Innovation Leader” award.

Additional Award Ideas:

  • Persistence award: This award could be given to a student who shows perseverance and determination in their work.
  • Adaptability award: This award could be given to a student who is able to adapt to new challenges or situations and find creative solutions.
  • Communication award: This award could be given to a student who excels at communicating their ideas or collaborating with others.
  • Leadership award: This award could be given to a student who takes on leadership roles or who demonstrates strong leadership skills.
  • Resourcefulness award: This award could be given to a student who is able to think outside the box and find creative ways to solve problems or complete tasks.
  • Problem-solving award: This award could be given to a student who excels at finding creative solutions to challenges or problems.
  • Time management award: This award could be given to a student who is able to effectively manage their time and prioritize their work.
  • Organization award: This award could be given to a student who excels at keeping their work organized and on track.
  • Growth award: This award could be given to a student who has shown significant improvement or growth in their work or skills over the term.
  • Progress award: This award could be given to a student who has made steady progress towards achieving a specific goal or objective.
  • Initiative award: This award could be given to a student who takes initiative and works independently to complete tasks or projects.
  • Responsibility award: This award could be given to a student who consistently takes responsibility for their work and follows through on commitments.
  • Attention to detail award: This award could be given to a student who pays close attention to details and produces high-quality work.
  • Creativity award: This award could be given to a student who consistently comes up with creative solutions or ideas.
  • Resourcefulness award: This award could be given to a student who is able to find creative ways to overcome challenges or obstacles.
  • Flexibility award: This award could be given to a student who is able to adapt to changing circumstances or requirements and remain flexible in their approach to work.
  • Consistency award: This award could be given to a student who consistently produces high-quality work or who maintains a high level of performance over time.
  • Improvement award: This award could be given to a student who has made significant improvements in their work or skills over the term.
  • Dedication award: This award could be given to a student who demonstrates a strong dedication to their work or goals.
  • Passion award: This award could be given to a student who shows a strong passion for their work or subject area.
  • Integrity award: This award could be given to a student who consistently demonstrates honesty, fairness, and ethical behavior in their work.
  • Respect award: This award could be given to a student who consistently shows respect for others and demonstrates good interpersonal skills.
  • Gratitude award: This award could be given to a student who consistently shows appreciation for others and expresses gratitude for the support or help they receive.
  • Excellence award: This award could be given to a student who consistently produces high-quality work or who demonstrates a high level of proficiency in their work or subject area.
  • Talent award: This award could be given to a student who demonstrates a particular talent or ability in their work or subject area.
  • Inspiration award: This award could be given to a student who inspires or motivates others through their work or attitude.
  • Positive attitude award: This award could be given to a student who consistently maintains a positive attitude and approaches their work with enthusiasm.
  • Courage award: This award could be given to a student who demonstrates courage or bravery in their work or in their approach to challenges or obstacles.
  • Determination award: This award could be given to a student who demonstrates a strong determination to achieve their goals or overcome challenges.
  • Confidence award: This award could be given to a student who demonstrates a strong sense of confidence in their work or abilities.
  • Compassion award: This award could be given to a student who consistently demonstrates compassion towards others and shows an understanding of their needs and feelings.
  • Humility award: This award could be given to a student who demonstrates humility and a willingness to learn and grow.
  • Service award: This award could be given to a student who consistently goes above and beyond to help or support others.
  • Empathy award: This award could be given to a student who demonstrates an ability to understand and share the feelings of others.
  • Responsibility award: This award could be given to a student who consistently takes on additional responsibilities or tasks without being asked.
  • Initiative award: This award could be given to a student who consistently takes initiative and works independently to complete tasks or projects.
  • Resourcefulness award: This award could be given to a student who is able to find creative solutions to challenges or problems.
  • Time management award: This award could be given to a student who is able to effectively manage their time and prioritize their work.
  • Organization award: This award could be given to a student who excels at keeping their work organized and on track.
  • Attention to detail award: This award could be given to a student who pays close attention to details and produces high-quality work.
  • Resilience award: This award could be given to a student who consistently demonstrates resilience and bounces back from setbacks or challenges.
  • Adaptability award: This award could be given to a student who is able to adapt to new circumstances or requirements and find creative solutions.
  • Communication award: This award could be given to a student who excels at communicating their ideas or collaborating with others.
  • Leadership award: This award could be given to a student who consistently takes on leadership roles or demonstrates strong leadership skills.

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