Updated: Jul 6, 2021
Sunshine Phone Calls became one of the most memorable components of my fourth-grade classroom. All week long, I was on the lookout for students who were demonstrating exemplary qualities, and on Fridays, our class would surprise them with a Sunshine Phone Call on speakerphone for all to hear.
During the first week of school, my class wrote a script that we would use for these special positive phone calls home. It went something like this:
Class: “This is a Sunshine Phone Call from Ms. Higgs’ class! [Student] was a WONDERFUL WORKER!”
Teacher: Spends one to two minutes highlighting why the student was selected for this honor and bragging about their accomplishments in class.
Class: “We hope this Sunshine Phone Call brightened your day! Have a wonderful weekend!”
Students do not know ahead of time who we are calling. The class begins the sunshine phone call with the script, and then the teacher fills in the name of the student. My principal filmed one of these, and the look on the student’s face when I filled in the blank with her name was priceless. It brought tears to our eyes! She was in complete shock, and she radiated joy and pride.
This took less than three minutes each week and made a lasting impact. Years later, these are still the attribute of my fourth-grade classroom experience that I hear about most often from both parents and students. Students never forget the power of those positive phone calls, and neither do their families.
Power Up Tip: Keep a record of this! At the beginning of the year, I made a quick checklist so that I could ensure each student received at least one Sunshine Phone Call. By the end of the year, some students received two or three!
Power Up Tip: Secretly email parents the night before to let them know a surprise phone call will be coming the next day with an estimated time frame. Parents really appreciate the heads up and try to make themselves available to take the call. No answer? No worries! Your class can always leave a Sunshine Voicemail. Kids love this option because they can go home and listen again and again!
Power Up Tip: Start the year with a positive phone call for a student who might require less sunny phone calls in the future. Beginning the year with a positive phone call home sets the tone and the stage for future conversations. It establishes a positive relationship and indicates you are looking for the many strengths each student possesses.