Each week since October, Boals Elementary School third grade teacher Lisa Hockenberry has made a stealthy visit to the yard of one of her students to quickly drop off a yard sign to show she cares.
“I got the idea from another teacher on Twitter,” Hockenberry said. “I just fell in love with the idea of really connecting with students and showing them how proud I am of them.”
Each week, students in her class focus on a character trait such as gratitude or growth mindset. At the end of the week, students vote on who they think has consistently exhibited the character trait.
That child then at some point in the week or weekend receives the sign in their yard. Hockenberry drops it off at different days and times so they are never sure when it will happen.
Hockenberry’s small but grand gesture works in conjunction with Frisco ISD’s focus on the development of social-emotional skills. The goal is that children acquire and apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.
“I just really love the idea of going outside of the classroom to celebrate a student and show them that extra love,” Hockenberry said. “The smiles I get back from when they get the signs really makes everything worth it.”
The students and parents love it, too. The students excitedly talk about who might get it next and the parents send Hockenberry a picture of the student beaming with pride next to their sign.
Hockenberry reports that numerous teachers in Frisco ISD have expressed an interest in doing something similar.
Frisco ISD staff work to support the development of social-emotional skills in students through a variety of strategies that support the whole-child model, whether it is in the classroom during instruction or running through yards covertly delivering yard signs.