Last year, March was Excellence month at my school so all my classroom lessons focused on some aspect of the importance of trying your best. In first grade we read the book "My Shoes Take Me Where I Want to Go" by Minnesota author Marianne Richmond. The kids love the playfulness of the story and the concept of different shoes transforming them into different characters.
After reading the book we discuss the idea of wearing excellence shoes. I ask students to tell me why we should try our best in first grade. Common student responses include to make their teacher or parents proud, so they can become a Super Scholar (a recognition program at our school), to get a good report card, etc. Then I ask them what comes after first grade. This gets their brains working and they start to connect that each grade prepares them for the next year.
|Students' Excellence shoes on display above their lockers.|
|The sign in the first grade hallway announcing|
that they're wearing their Excellence shoes.