No Series: Star Student of the Day

Star Student of the Day

Lesson Objective: Build community by having students share about themselves
Grades K-2 / History / ELA / Community


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Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. How does this activity help to promote an appreciation of differences?
  2. What strategies does Ms. Laurance use to make the writing activity accessible to all students?
  3. How does this activity help to build community?


  • Private message to Paula Pleasant

Paula Pleasant

I loved this video!!  The activity promoted similarities and differences by highlghting a student and letting the students interview them, in this process the students find that they don't like all of the same things, but they do like some of the same things. It allows the students to feel more comfortable with each other.

The  writing is made accessible to everyone because the teacher jots down information from the interviews in simple sentences and then reads them aloud with the class.  The students are them asked to pick a sentence to copy and draw a picture about.  

I am going to use this idea to begin my journal writing and to welcome some virtual students back into the classroom.

The only difference is I will have half the students write about the things that they have in common with the star student. The other half will write about the differences between them and the star student.  I will still keep it very simple such as:  Erica likes apple juice, but  I like grape juice  or Erica and I both like to drink apple juice.

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  • Private message to Barb Axe

I liked how Ms.Laurance called the students news reporters and had them ask questions. This definitely engaged them and gave them a purpose to ask the questions. She promoted an appreciation of differences and similarities when after the article was written she had the children silent applaud if their favorites were the same as the star student. By doing this activity, having the students ask their question of the star student, brought the class together by learning, first about the star student, and then about others as their silent applauded when the answers were read again to the class.I enjoyed how she first had them write the student's name and then she had them draw the picture and then write the sentence. It was done in steps and not all thrown at them at once.  Once we are together again in the classroom this is an activity I would like to incorporate into my classroom. 

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  • Private message to Adri Rodriguez

The activitiy helped promote appreciation because the students were able to identify everyones differences and alikes. The teacher used great strategies to start a writing promp when she gave the sstudents the chance to ask star students questions and she wrote them on the board. She was able to give two lessons in one. It helps kids brake down their walls and helps them excel in social learning.

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  • Private message to Cassandra Lytch-Colter

This a an activity I have seen done in Kindergarten. It is really great as it allows the students to learn in levels (reading, spelling friend's names, words through pitcure clues, sentences, puncuation,etc.) as they learn about one another. 

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  • Private message to Riva Kaplan
I love the way the teacher has allowed the students to be the reporters increasing the use of conversational skills as well as building social skills during group activities.
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  • [00:00]
    Interviewer: Good morning, room 102.

    Interviewee: Good morning, Miss Laurance.

    Interviewer: This morning [cross talk 00:10].

    At the beginning

    Interviewer: Good morning, room 102.

    Interviewee: Good morning, Miss Laurance.

    Interviewer: This morning [cross talk 00:10].

    At the beginning of the year, I start off with the students thinking about themselves, ‘cause that’s kinda where they’re at, and I want them to represent themselves and also become a part of the community by sharing themselves and learning about others.

    Male Voice: This morning, Mrs. Laurance leads a recurring social studies activity that puts one lucky student in the spotlight.

    Interviewer: This exercise is called Star Student of the Day.

    Okay. Our star student this morning is who?

    Interviewee: Isaraya.

    Interviewer: Isaraya. Let’s give her a big round of applause. Isaraya. Yay, star student.

    They get to be literally the star.

    Stand up.

    They get to choose the cape and get chanted and cheered for.

    Interviewee: [Cheering].

    Interviewer: We can do better than that. [Cheering].

    Interviewee: [Cheering].

    Interviewer: Princess Isaraya.

    Then we move into the interview.

    Let’s do our interview. [Cross talk 01:10].

    The other kids are little reporters, and they get to call on the students.

    She’s going to call on you while I write the article. Let’s go, newspaper reporters.

    Interviewee: What’s your favorite animal?

    Interviewee: Giraffe.

    Interviewee: What’s your favorite food?

    Interviewee: Soup.

    Interviewee: What’s your favorite drink?

    Interviewee: Apple juice.

    Interviewer: It’s interactive, but it also lets them find out information about their classmates so they can connect with them.

    Interviewee: What’s your favorite game?

    Interviewee: What’s your favorite color?

    Interviewee: Where do you like to go?

    Interviewee: Chuck E. Cheese.

    Interviewee: I like Chuck E. Cheese.

    Interviewer: Oh, Chuck E. Cheese.

    Interviewee: Me, too.

    Interviewer: They make connections and say, “Oh, I didn’t know that about them. That’s true for me, too. Oh, cool.” That’s the way that they start to feel like they’re a group.

    Apple juice, giraffe [cross talk 02:05].

    Male Voice: During the interview, Mrs. Laurance was writing down Isaraya’s answers to create her star student article.

    Interviewer: All right, so now it is time for us to read it. Feel free to join in and read any of the words that you want [cross talk 02:17].

    As we read the star student article for that day, if it’s something that is true for them or that they also like or agree with, then they do silent applause.

    Here we go. Isaraya’s favorite food is soup.

    It helps them buy into the idea that they belong.

    Her favorite drink is apple juice.

    They feel like they have friends here. They have people who care about them ‘cause they ask them questions and they know about them.

    Isaraya likes going to Chuck E. Cheese.

    It’s a way for the students to get to know each other and learn about each other and to appreciate each other.

    Male Voice: For Mrs. Laurance, these star student articles are a great way to get her students reading and writing.

    Interviewer: These articles are some of the first readings that they’ll do.

    Her favorite animal is a giraffe.

    We re-read them so they feel comfortable with the words. A lot of them are repetitive like favorite and color.

    Isaraya’s favorite color is pink.

    I also draw pictures above the words that aren’t as repetitive so that they can remember what the word is.

    A giraffe.

    Interviewee: I knew it.

    Interviewer: Yes.

    Male Voice: After the class reads the article, Isaraya picks one sentence, which Mrs. Laurance writes on the board. It will be the basis for their next task. Next, students gather on the rug to copy down sentences from the article.

    Interviewer: I want them to feel comfortable writing and not have a lot of stress about it, so that’s why they have the scaffolding of the article that they can take words from.

    Interviewee: What’s [inaudible 04:04].

    Interviewer: They have a blank piece of paper. They have to have three components—the drawing, their name, and the sentence.

    Interviewee: Isaraya’s favorite animal is a giraffe.

    Male Voice: This writing activity helps students build their skills and their confidence.

    Interviewer: We start off slower where they just have to write the name of the student.

    Interviewee: A.

    Interviewer: Isaraya and then you can go up with the clipboard and write down the sentence [cross talk 04:38].

    Then we move into adding labels, and then we move into a sentence.

    Good job, Adil 04:44. Don’t forget your period, okay, after the E. Good.

    In doing that, I set them up for feeling successful as writers, and at the beginning of the year, that’s super important ‘cause a lot of first graders come in feeling like, “I can’t write.”


    Interviewee: Isaraya’s favorite animal is a giraffe.

    Interviewee: Isaraya’s favorite color is pink.

    Interviewee: To get.

    Interviewer: Let’s cheer for her one more time. Say, “Go, Isaraya.” [Cheering].

    Male Voice: Every student will get their chance to be the star.

    Interviewer: It’s the core of setting up the year so that each student can be successful and we can help each other learn.

    Have fun. Good job, sweetie.

    [End of audio]

School Details

Washington Elementary School
2300 Martin Luther King Junior Way
Berkeley CA 94704
Population: 466

Data Provided By:



Kimberly Laurance


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