Use code SAVE20 for 20% off everything!
Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Using “First Grade Quality” to Maintain Student Motivation

Are you in the final weeks of the school year? Is student motivation starting to slip as Spring Fever takes over your classroom?I have just the solution to keep those students motivated… a First Grade Quality stamp. You won’t believe how powerful that expression can be.

This post contains affiliate links. I earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase through one of my links, which helps to support the blog.

use a First Grade Quality stamp at the end of kindergarten to motivate students to do their best work

My secret to maintaining student motivation can be summed up in two little words:

There is something so magical about that phrase in May. All I have to do is mention the next grade level and my students sit a little taller, look me right in the eye, and fold their hands in their laps. I’m not kidding!
(In fairness, I think I have the sweetest students ever, but still… it IS pretty amazing!)

I am an opportunist, so I use this expression whenever I can. Here are just a few classroom tasks that I have successfully motivated my students into doing their best at:

  • printing properly
  • coloring neatly
  • working quietly
  • drawing detailed pictures
  • listening attentively
  • walking quietly down the hall

We actually made this little concept map together in class when we brainstormed what is so special about First Grade work and First Grade behavior.

First Grade

I recently decided to take this mindset to the next level and have a little fun on Vistaprint. I made a custom stamp for my classroom that says “First Grade Quality!” Now, instead of a handwritten message from me acknowledging a job well done, my students get a VERY official-looking stamp on their paper. What’s not to love?

using a First Grade Quality stamp in kindergartenusing a First Grade Quality stamp in kindergartenusing a First Grade Quality stamp in kindergarten

Encouraging First Grade Behavior at the End of the Year

Of course, giving their best effort on assignments is only half the job of a kindergartener. They also need to bring their best behavior to school each day. And I don’t need to tell you how difficult classroom management can be during the final weeks of the school year. Fortunately, I have a great solution to that problem as well. Yes, it involves the words “First Grade.”


You can read all about it in this blog post or purchase a set of training badges in my shop. These are such a game changer.

Share This Post:


Maria Gavin

Maria is a former kindergarten and first grade teacher, with 13 years of teaching experience. Her love and passion for all things early childhood is now fulfilled as a mom to two amazing kids. She loves sharing practical and creative tips and ideas that are perfect for young learners – in the classroom or at home!

Leave a Comment

90 Responses

    1. Wow! That would be something for a snow day this late in the year and SO close to the end of the school year! Craziness!

  1. Just today, I asked my students if our line was kindergarten line or a first grade line. I too and using 1st grade as a motivator.

  2. Oh, my word! What a great idea! I always pull the “show me you’re ready for first grade card”. I also use it in the hallway around the first grade teachers, and my students always straighten up and walk so nicely!

    Thanks for the giveaway!
    Nurturing Noggins

  3. Our last day is June 11th! I try not to count down because then it seems to take even longer!!! My kinders are rocking it this year…showing the first graders how to walk quietly in the hall!

  4. Awesome idea! I also use the first grade card the last month of the school year and have noticed a great improvement in student effort/work. Never thought of making a stamp. Thanks for sharing! Our last day of school is June 6th.

  5. Love this idea…my kids were being loud in the hall and saw one of the first grade teachers and straightened right up because I told them he was looking to see who was ready for first grade. We are done May 24th– Wahoo!

  6. I accidentally entered for the first grade stamp too and then realized there was the one for second grade which would be the one I would need if I won! What an awesome idea… I think this idea with definitely motivate my students! Our last day is June 7th!

  7. Maria, I was just on Vista Print and tried to make one of these. But I couldn’t get the word First to be as large as yours is. Can I ask what font and size you used?

  8. This is my first year teaching and I love this idea to use with my Kinders!! I just downloaded the badges to begin tomorrow. I would really love the stamp but even if I would win, I’m not sure it would be in by our last day, May 20th! Luckily I will be teaching kindergarten again next year so I may have to look into getting me this stamp, no matter the outcome of the raffle!! Thanks for all the great ideas!! 🙂

  9. I also use first graders as a motivation, but you moved it up a notch. What a great idea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Hi, I'm Maria.

I’m a former kindergarten teacher turned work-from-home mom. I still love sharing ideas and resources to make teaching easier, so you can focus on what really matters in the classroom. When I’m not working on the blog, you’ll find me chasing kids around the house with a cold cup of coffee in my hand (some things never change even once you’re out of the classroom!)


You Might Also Like

Classroom Decor
Classroom Decor
Subject Areas
Subject Areas
Resource Type
Resource Type
Special Days

Shop on Teachers Pay Teachers