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Teacher: Junne Ulbrich who teaches at Troy Crossroads in Shorewood, IL. Junne Ulbrich can be contacted at

Name of Best Practice: An All-star Year

Rationale/Purpose of Event: The purpose of this practice is to motivate students can stay focused on their personal goals through having a common yearly theme.

Suggested Grade Level: 3-5

Materials Needed: Anything that you can find with a star on it will do. Decorations or just construction paper stars in any color or size to use as a visual reminder of the theme.

An All-star Year

I begin each school year with a new theme and slogan that remains throughout the entire year. This years theme is "Stars".

The slogan upon entering the activity area reads, "SET YOUR GOALS HIGH! REACH FOR THE STARS"! I have stars hanging as you enter and exit the activity area as a daily reminder of our theme. Stars are used as squad line markers on the floor. (eg. Red Star Squad, Blue Star Squad)

As students enter the activity area I play music which I burned on a CD that contains all songs that have to do with stars or reaching for a goal. As the students pass by me as they jog/run I hand them a laminated construction paper star. When the music stops students return to squads. The squad whose "star job" of the week is to collect items, collects the stars and counts them and records the number on the dry erase board.

A map of the United States is posted on the wall. The students are the "Star Travelers" and we set a destination and determine the mileage to get there. The students record and calculate how many "star laps" they have run and keep adding on each week until we reach our goal.

Student are also chosen as Star Students of the Month based on their behavior and efforts. Their picture is posted on the wall for that month. Once a students month is up I take their picture and make a mural on the wall of all the Star Students for the whole school year as part of the "Shining Stars" wall.

Each time students come to P.E. they have an opportunity to get 2 star stickers on the "star chart", based on their overall behavior and effort. At the end of the month the class from each grade level with the most star stickers will get the grade level cloth banners that I made and they get to display it in their classroom for the month. I made these banners out of material that I got donated from a local craft store. Each grade level had a different theme. Kindergarten is "Future Stars", 1st grade is "Smiling Stars", 2nd grade is, "Shinning Stars", 3rd grade are the, "Superstars", 4th grade is the"Allstars", and 5th grade are the "Rising Stars". These banners serve as a great source of pride and achievement in our school. It is a great way of motivating students to excell and set goals for themselves and still have fun and learn some important lifelong lessons.

This is only one possible theme. Each year I spend a good part of the summer developing a new theme and find new ways to tie things togther and motivate students throughout the school year.


Other themes I have used are "Race to the Finish" using Race Cars as my theme and mile markers as our lap counters.

Another theme I used was "Dash for Dollars" and play money was used as incentive for students to purchase "Free Choice Days", equipment usage, etc.

Teaching Suggestions/Tips:

My only suggestion would be is that it does take some time to come up with the ideas and develop them, but students love the challenges that they get from participating.

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities:

Students with disabilities could be teamed up with another student to combine their totals for all activities. Students with special needs are given recognition as being part of the group that collects items adds them up and records information. They also can help in planning the next destination of for All-star Traveler.

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Posted on PEC: 9/10/2002 and has received 127 votes.

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