The Super Improvers Wall gives teachers an amazing tool for encouraging students. In the classroom garden, we want our students to grow in so many areas. From personal experience, the wall is not only successful and motivating, but it is also easy to create. Whether the goal is making improvements in academics, behavior, or responsibility, the Super Improvers Wall can be the fertilizer to promote progress.
In my own classroom, I have a short, but positive experience with the SIW. During the last 3 weeks of the school year, the wall was so helpful in giving some of my students praise just when they needed it most. One particular student, “Juan”, was having some inconsistencies in his ADHD medication which resulted in great problems of distraction for the other students especially in the afternoon hours. Juan tried extra hard to manage those tendencies on his own and I rewarded him with a sticker on his SIW card for his effort. That small praise planted the seed to his continued growth in self-management! I don’t know about you, but I would much rather praise a student like this than be using valuable class time to focus on his unwanted behavior.
Setting up the garden plot for your Super Improvers Wall is very simple. 10 levels are created, each with a different name and a different color. Student names are written on a piece of paper matching the color of the level they are on. You can weave the levels around any theme you would like. For example, this year I will be using a Hollywood/movie theme in my classroom, so my levels are named things like actor, writer, producer, and executive. I put the wall up early on to build student interest and excitement until I start using it a week or so into the start of the year.
Once student curiosity has sufficiently grown, they are told how the wall works. To move up to the next level, 10 stars must be received for improvements in any area the teacher chooses. Individual students, even those high achievers, can be challenged with goals. Blossoming in remembering to turn in homework assignments, flourishing in handwriting, or even working extra hard on a specific area of behavior, as Juan did, can be means for earning a star. Then, a picture of the student is taken at level 4 and level 8, but the picture is hidden from everyone until the next level is reached. Although I have not had a student get that far, I can only imagine how excited the entire class will be to see that picture!
What the Super Improvers Wall does is sow excitement into praising students without the need for tickets and expensive classroom stores. Students might even start noticing the improvements of their peers on their own! Give me a mighty OH YEAH! Let’s shower the classroom garden by sharing the love of personal achievements and growth!
Here are pictures of my SIW for this coming year. I used a pocket chart to hold colored index cards. The index cards will make it easy for me to have all the various colors I need without having to cut paper to size. There are no student cards yet because I don't have my list of names, but they would be placed under the level cards. Level 1 is a white card. Levels 2-5 are pastel colored index cards. The last 4 levels are neon colored cards.
I printed the level names and taped them on the colored cards. Like many elementary teachers, I have a TON of small circle shaped stickers. Last year, instead of drawing stars on the cards, I let the students put a sticker on themselves. Once they move to a new level, I will give them the old card to keep.