During both my time at the junior high and high school levels, I have seen the ubiquitous use of stamps and even stickers to mark student work as complete.  This is something I did not expect to see.  I would have guessed that students would see it as childish, but they seem to really like it.  In fact, the high school students I have been observing seem to be more excited about stamps than the junior high students.

Today I stamped homework.  This is something that my cooperating teacher, NB, does two or three times a week.  She asks the students to get out the homework that was assigned the previous day and goes around stamping those assignments that are complete.  However, these stamps don’t actually mean anything.  Assigned work for each unit is not due until the day after the unit test.  If NB goes too many days without stamping, the students begin asking her to come around.

During class, when I was stamping, several students did not have their work quite complete.  I told them I was willing to come back and stamp it if they could get it done in the next couple of minutes.  They worked frantically at it, even though they did not need the stamp.  During sixth period, I had a student who asked me to stamp a drawing he’d done, and another who asked me to stamp his hand.  In two weeks, I do not think I had ever seen this student so excited.  He showed several of the students near him, as if he had been marked with some special status symbol.  Maybe that’s what these stamps represent.  They don’t translate into points in the grade book, but they clearly have some value to many of the students.


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