New Ways to Use Secret Student with Your Class!

If you have been doing this hop from the beginning, you probably have a ton of great ideas by now! I hope that you will find this one useful as well.

You may think of Secret Student as being just for little kids, but it can be a powerful motivator for older students as well. Think about the feeling you have just before a number is drawn in a raffle - everyone feels that hope and anticipation. I love Secret Student (sometimes called, Mystery Student) as a motivator for good behavior so much that I came up with several variations!

The original Secret Student
You will need:
  • Cards, tiles, or Popsicle sticks with your students' names (I like cards best)
  • Small rewards of some kind (pencil, homework pass, extra free time, small treat etc.)
  • Optional: a Secret Student certificate
  • Optional: a small bulletin board or display dedicated to Secret Student
At the start of the day, the teacher randomly draws one or more student cards. She looks at the name(s) but does not reveal them. For dramatic effect, you can display the card on a special bulletin board or pocket chart - face down. It also works just to stick it on the white board with a magnet (near the top!).

Throughout the day, the teacher secretly watches the Secret Student to see if he or she is displaying good behavior - on task, waiting quietly in line, helpful etc. 

At the end of the day, if the student has done a good job, the teacher reveals the student's name with congratulations and a small reward and/or certificate. If the student has not done a good job, the teacher does NOT reveal the student's name, but instead tells the class that the Secret Student was having a hard day (as we all do from time to time) and that he or she will probably do better next time.

I love this idea, but for some students a whole day of good behavior might be too high a bar. A wiggly student who could never sit quietly all day long may be able to manage it for a single work period. You may also want to target a specific behavior. Here are some variations to try:

Secret Line Walker: You don't even have to bother with pulling a name card. Just tell your class that you will be watching one particular student while you walk. The reward could be as simple as letting that student be the line leader on the way back to the classroom.

Secret On-Task Worker: For those times when you need the class to work quietly at their seats while you work with a small group or individuals.

Secret Silent Reader: Great if you have a class that tends to get squirrelly during DEAR time.

Secret Test Taker:  If eyes tend to wander, pencils tend to tap, or you just can't get them to stay quiet, this could help.

Secret Contributor: For this one you are watching the secret student to see if he or she is participating appropriately in either a class or small group discussion.

Secret Sub Helper: If you know you are going to be out, this could be a good thing to set up for the sub.

Secret Citizen:  If you do some sort of character education or citizenship program, you could reward the secret student for demonstrating whatever trait you are currently working on, for example: responsibility, enthusiasm, kindness etc.

A few last tips:
One of the nice things about Secret Student is that it is pretty easy to rig the game for success, especially if you are doing small ones that don't require you to actually prove who was the secret student. Kind of like catching them doing something good.

You may want to have some kind of system for keeping track of who has been the secret student so that no one gets left out.

Have you used Secret Student with your students? Please share with a comment.

Looking for more bright ideas? Check out this helpful post from Amanda at Mrs. Richardson's Class on using Ipads in your classroom or pick select one of the awesome posts from the link ups below.


Mrs. Richardson said...

What a great idea! I can definitely use these in my kindergarten classroom!! Thanks so much for sharing, Rachel!
Mrs. Richardson's Class

TheElementary MathManiac said...

Love this idea! I do think with most of my kids it would have to be the secret student for one class period. All day is a long time to wait!

The Math Maniac

Blair Turner said...

Love these ideas - they would definitely motivate my kiddos!! Thanks for sharing some new ways to make this work in the classroom or a small group!

One Lesson at a Time

Lesson Plan Diva-Teaching Resources said...

I love this idea! I have never tried it this way but I am eager to try it. Great tip! Thanks for sharing!

Kimberly S. said...

Wow! I haven't seen this idea before, but I love it!


Traci - Dragonflies in First said...

I use "Mystery Student" in my room. I LOVE all of the other little "takes" on the concept. The kids will love it, too.

Alicia said...

Those are great ideas for the secret student, especially for lower grades where they have multiple opportunities a day to be the student and to improve overall class behavior for specific things, such as walking in line. Thanks for sharing those!

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