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Student of the Month: What it Looks Like from a PYD Lens


Does your school or organization have a student/youth of the month award?  Author Jamie Jones offers a way of delivering the award that is not only fun but helps the youth to learn more about the internal assets or explicit character traits. Read how this helps to encourage a safe school climate through student engagement. 

Topics Covered:

  • Role Models
  • Student-Teacher Relations
  • Engagement

Premium Content:

The Issue or Objective Being Addressed:

To create a Student of the Month assembly format that is:

  •  Fun and focused

              more like a pep rally than an awards ceremony

              approximately 45 minutes in length

  • Explicitly teaches character traits
  • Uses literature to reinforce instruction

The Strategy Utilized:

The Student of the Month assembly format is as follows:

Opening – While students are entering assembly, popular music with a positive message is playing (Happy by Pharrell Williams, Everything is Awesome from Lego Movie soundtrack, Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves, Best Day of My Life by American Authors, etc.). Once all classes are present, welcome students and thank families for attending.

Awards – Introduce the character trait students will be honored for. Give a short description of what the trait means, why it’s important, and how you achieve it. For example, “Perseverance means that we don’t give up. We keep trying even when something is really challenging. We understand that it takes a lot of practice to get really good at something. We need perseverance to be successful at the many things we want to do or have to do. It takes perseverance to learn a musical instrument, play a sport, or become a fluent reader. Even things like puzzles, learning to snap, or learning to tie your shoes take perseverance. Every time we practice perseverance, or not giving up, we get better at it.”

Invite teachers up to honor the students from their class. This always involves much cheering from the students. Students come to the front as their name is called by their teacher.

Game – Students who are being honored that month get to participate in a Minute-to-Win-It style game. The game should be quick, able to accommodate several participants at once, and easily viewed by a large audience. Some examples are: trying to flip a cup onto a water bottle, flipping a tortilla with a spatula and trying to catch it on their head, or stacking 5-7 dice on a tongue depressor students hold in their mouth. You can do multiple rounds of the game if there are too many students to accommodate at one time. Encourage the audience to cheer on their peers as the game commences.

Performance/Whole group activity- A class or grade level can perform for the school, or the whole group stands to do some kind of brain break activity or dance. This helps the transition from the high energy game.

Introduction to upcoming character trait focus- At this point, the assembly transitions to looking ahead to the next month. Introduce the character trait that will be honored at the next month’s assembly. Explain what the trait is/means, why it is important, and how to achieve it. Emphasize that it takes daily practice to develop one’s character. For example, “Let’s talk a little bit about the award for next month. Your teachers will be looking for students who practice being truthful. Being truthful means telling the truth. It is also called being honest. So why is it important to tell the truth? When we tell the truth, people can trust us. We have stronger relationships with friends and family. But when we don’t tell the truth, when we lie, trust is broken. And our relationships with our families and friends become weakened. This includes: not admitting when we make a mistake, making excuses, stealing, or cheating.

One of the most tempting times to not be truthful is when we have done something wrong and we don’t want others to know what we have done. But so often, the truth comes out and then you have two strikes against you, the original thing you did wrong, and the lie. Double trouble!

But, when we are honest, when we tell the truth, people respect us and know they can depend on us.”

Story – Read a story (5 minutes or less) that reinforces the character trait to be practiced in the upcoming month. This can be done using an LCD projector to project the picture making it large enough for everyone to see. This complies with Fair Use Section 109. Point out examples of the featured character trait after completing the story, since having students answer questions is usually not productive in a large group setting.

Closing – Thank students for attending, encourage them to practice the character trait daily, and leave them with an inspiring quote or saying like, “Remember, you make a difference with each choice you make.” Play music as students leave the area.


  • Student show more interest and better understanding of character traits.
  • Assemblies are more fun
  • Positive feedback from students, teachers, parents, and administrators


Fair Use Section 109 Limitations on Exclusive Rights: Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106(5) [17 USCS Sect. 106(5)], the owner of a particular copy lawfully made under this title [17 USCS Sects. 101 et seq.], or any person authorized by such owner, is entitled, without the authority of the copyright owner, to display that copy publicly, either directly or by the projection of no more than one image at a time, to viewers present at the place where the copy is located. (https://www.law.cornell.edu/copyright/copyright.act.chapt1b.html)

The Science of Character (8 min “cloud film”) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3nT2KDAGOc

Character Education Partnership https://character.org/

Book Reviews http://booksthathealkids.blogspot.com/

The Corner on Character http://corneroncharacter.blogspot.com/


Jamie Jones, King City, CA; jamiejones79@gmail.com; Character Education Teacher


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