A School/Class Recognition Project

The concept is based on the ideas of “Pay It Forward” and blue ribbon awards.


  • royal blue ribbon, the 3/4′ works best and is sold on spools
  • small gold safety pins, be sure they are the kind that have a loop (or a curl) scissors
  • thimble-you will REALLY appreciate having this
  • zip lock type bags, gallon for class and quart sized for 3 ribbons per student
  • sharpie
  • optional: colorful or cheery computer paper, to write a personal message or instructions
  • optional: a children’s book to illustrate kindness, selfless or related ideas


  1. Pre-teaching activities: Submit the idea in writing or verbally to the principal, assistant principal and if possible your team leader, it is crucial to have the support of your administrator and team for the success of this project. Once you have the go ahead, enlist help to cut, place on the safety pin (like the AIDS and Cancer ribbons) count and sort into bags per student and class. On a Friday or Monday present the idea to the class to gage interest and publicity
  2. Open with a short brainstorm discussion or children’s story about kindness, recognition or other related topics.
  3. After a few minutes, share a brief story of someone that you want to recognize and why.
  4. Then call on a few students to briefly share similar stories.
  5. Then after they have ownership of the idea of recognition, pass out blue ribbons to the students individually and help them put them on if needed.
  6. Another way is to start with 1-5 students and individually recognize them and have those students in turn recognize another student and so on until the whole class has been recognized.
  7. Try to say something to each student, but in the interest of time a whole class statement is fine.
  8. After they are wearing their ribbons, have them think about someone that they would like to recognize for their positive contributions.
  9. Then pass out the individual zip lock bags with 3 ribbons to each student.
  10. The students recognize one person and present them with a ribbon, then the other two ribbons that are left in the bag.
  11. The recognized person then recognizes another person and presents them a ribbon and the remaining ribbon in the bag for them to pass on.
  12. To adapt this activity for the whole school: With the administrator’s approval, make ribbons for each student in the whole school-enlist help for this if possible.
  13. Have a student from your class pass out the ribbon bags to each teacher in the school, and be sure to have the students recognize everyone on the campus with a presentation of a ribbon, and possibly one to pass on. You might want to discuss this project in detail with the faculty in writing (on the cheery paper) or e-mail, a brief presentation at a faculty meeting is also good. You may also want to have the students in your class create a mini-explanation and type it up to copy/distribute with the ribbons.


  • Upper elementary learners can write journal entries about topics relating to the project including the person they gave a ribbon to and why, personal reflections/opinions about the project. Lower elementary can create a picture and a sentence, or dictate what is in the picture.
  • The student excitement and enthusiasm for this project is contagious! Not to mention the parents and the rest of the school. It is amazing to see virtually a whole school wearing blue ribbons and a smile.

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