By now, everyone knows about the Third Grade Reading Guarantee and its impact on the education of students. Teachers are working diligently to help their students reach the necessary achievement level for success using different teaching, learning and motivational strategies.
One Bucyrus Elementary School teacher, Mr. Derek French, decided to use an unconventional strategy to motivate his third grade students to perform their best on the reading portion of the Ohio Achievement Assessment (OAA). The deal French made with his students was simple. If 17 of the 19 students passed the fall reading OAA, all of the students could take a turn shaving his head.
"I was trying to think of something that I would like to have for a reward if I was a 3rd grader," French said. "I remember a teacher when I was in elementary school having his head shaved in front of the whole school. Everybody loved it. So I thought I would go this route."
The morning of the OAA, French showed the students a movie clip from the film "Facing the Giants" called The Death Crawl. French and his students discussed how the scene in the movie related to them taking the OAA, and French presented the students with their incentive.
"I decided to do this with my students because I believed they were all capable of passing this test the first time," French said. "This is the first time students take a test of this length and of this importance, and I didn't want them not passing just because they got tired or didn't feel like taking a test."
When it was time for French to keep his end of the deal, students' names were drawn from a hat to determine the order that each student would get to run the clippers through their teacher's hair. While the activity was fun, the students did not forget how they had earned the privilege.
"This was really awesome and cool," third grade student Kameron Lewis said. "We had to have 17 of the 19 students pass the OAA in our class and we did it!"
"It was fun because he looked like an old man with hair just on the side and the hair on top of his head was shaved off,"third grade student Natalie Hankins said. "It was really cool that he let us do it because I usually have girl teachers and they don’t like their hair to be shaved off."
Each of the students had two opportunities to shave French's head, and the teacher was all smiles. The students were equally as excited because they were rewarded for their hard work and best effort.
"I want to commend Mr. French for finding innovative means of motivating his students to perform their best on the OAA, and congratulate his students on their accomplishment," Kimmel said. "We have an amazing group of teachers throughout the district who work hard every single day to help their students reach their potential, and Mr. French's willingness to be unconventional is just one of many examples of our teachers' dedication to their students."