Welcome to a Silly Sam Classroom
Silly Sam is a little character that I started doodling during recess in 5th grade. I even remember brainstorming a list of names with my friends and finally choosing one for him. When I started teaching, he became a little mascot for good behavior and work habits and I started drawing him on classroom awards.
Since then he has joined me in every classroom. We have the Silly Sam Superstars Chart for the groups or teams that are earning points together throughout the week. At the end of the week, the winning team gets a "Dip in the Prize Jar", filled with little erasers, pencils, counting item and stickers. Those points are earned cooperatively by demonstrating teamwork, listening, following directions, and even just being ready to learn.
Students also earn individual Silly Sam Awards for a variety of good behavior, work habits, academic skills as well as good character. When students save up 20 Silly Sam Awards, they get an ice pop treat during the "Friday-Funday" movie. This program has been tremendously effective. Students love to earn their "Sammers" and are so proud to bring them home and show their families. They also encourage each other to listen and follow directions to earn the team points. That is a great asset in a classroom when the teacher doesn't have to do all of the reminding! A wonderful teacher that used to work in our school library once told me that the children in my classroom always seem to be exceptionally supportive of each other. She noted that they did not always start out that way, but by the end of the year it was noticable, year after year. That was probably the most meaningful compliment I have ever received. I actually credit our own little Silly Sam for that. He makes a connection to my first graders and means something to them. A parent that I worked with for several years as a Room-Parent, after having 3 of her children in my class, once shared this story with me. She was cleaning up her son's room and getting him packed up and ready for college. During the process, she came across a Silly Sam Award tucked neatly in a little box on his night stand. It was a little award from one little day when he had done a good job in first grade. After all those years, that little piece of paper still meant something to him.
In order to tell my classroom stories and share my experiences in an educational setting, I would always need to first introduce Silly Sam.
So, now I can begin...