Amanda shares her reflections on the experience she had at an ECET conference that she adapted and turned into a daily practice with her students. Thank you for sharing this practice with us, Amanda!
After attending ECET, I fell in love with the whole “shout out” culture. During the conference, when you hear something that you LOVE and you want to celebrate it, you say “SHOUT OUT!” Then, everyone else in the room will yell it back together. I loved this idea so much I decided to bring this concept back to my classroom a few months ago. I teach 4th grade and felt this was such a great practice to do with them because my students never become complacent, are still eager to learn, and love new ways of making learning fun. They aren’t too serious and still appreciate goofiness and have a good sense of humor. They still love coming to school.
Shout Outs in Action
We end our days by spending five minutes celebrating awesome things that students saw other students doing during the day. Peers recognize each other and capture those moments that I don’t get to see. We sit in a circle and I call on someone raising their hand. They start with “I want to give (student’s name) a shout out because….” or “(student’s name) deserves a shout out because…” After they celebrate their peer, they excitedly say “shout out!” and the class responds with “SHOOOOUUUUUUT OOOOOUUUUUT!” Shoutout culture = enthusiasm in my students. Everyone loves feeling appreciated and recognized and it’s the way this practice makes you feel. These small acts of kindness make our school and class a better place.
This practice has instilled a sense of ownership in my students over their actions and built classroom camaraderie. They know that their peers are watching them and looking for examples of them doing the right thing. The most important thing though is honoring each other, being kind and celebrating each other. Students build each other up and are kind to one another. Not every kid gets a shout out every day. This makes it more genuine and gives students a chance to model behaviors they saw being shouted out. By the end of the week, I make sure every student gets at least one “shout out”. There is no better way to end the school day than spending the last few minutes where students are lifting each other up!
As the teacher, I am embarrassed to say I don’t always see the great things they shout out when they actually happen. But isn’t that kind of a good thing? We want our students to do the right thing when they don’t think anyone is looking knowing they’re not always going to be recognized for it.
The staff at my school have also been doing a version of this practice. Every week, staff write shout outs for each other and on Friday they send them to the principal where at our staff meeting, everyone is honored and appreciated. It’s the little moments that students and staff see in each other that are really adding up to create a bigger change in our school culture.