Praise in the classroom it is most effective when it is sincere. Like the array of formative and summative assessments there are different avenues of incorporating praise to lessons and the school day. At my school there are postcards that teachers can pick up in the copy room and write a note to students to send home. Once the cards are written, teachers can turn them into the office and they get sent to the student. The barrier of entry to praise has been minimized. The great thing is that the postcard, in the effort in writing, brings out a natural sincerity to the times before e-mail.
Creating strong supportive relationships with students is key to aiding in their success. Taking time to simply go to an athletic event and then asking the student the next day about their game/match/race lets the student know you were there watching them. If you miss the chance to connect with the student the next day that’s fine. They may have seen you at the game and know that you took the time to go and support them outside the classroom. Sincerity is lost in this action if you are seen on your phone the entire time while the event is going on. However, I think that phone use can be to your advantage by taking a few amazing action photos and tweeting them using the school’s hashtag and put a stat or comment on them. A tweet can be seen by students, parents, administration, and the community. #schoolpride