Shoulder Buddies in the Classroom: GIVEAWAY

Monday, April 4, 2016

Is Spring Break O-V-E-R for you? It is for me! Back to teaching those kiddos and keeping them engaged. It is that time of year where you are down to the wire teaching all of the concepts you haven't gotten to (thank you snow, lack of time, remediation, assemblies, and the list goes on....) AND trying to review all that you can before those state tests come along. EVERY MINUTE COUNTS.

Therefore, we don't have time to stop and deal with misbehaviors. However, when you have a room full of 20+ bodies all under the age of 10, something is bound to come up each and every day. To help alleviate those behavior blues, take control and invest in a SHOULDER BUDDY.

Use Shoulder Buddies for positive reinforcement in your classroom!

Kids LOVE shoulder buddies. I remember the first time I saw one in a Hallmark shop about 5 years ago. I was giddy and instantly purchased one for my classroom. My new purchase became a magical element to my classroom management. I would start the day with our shoulder buddy on my shoulder and he would "look" for an outstanding citizen he wanted to sit on. I would quickly make the announcement and then place our Shoulder Buddy on that student's shoulder. The STUDENT would now be responsible to look for another student who was doing an outstanding job. The kids would get SO into it. You do have to establish ground rules for your classroom Shoulder Buddy (just like Elf on the Shelf). For instance:
  • Shoulder Buddy doesn't sit longer than an hour  or two but also doesn't hop around every 10 minutes
  • Shoulder Buddy doesn't leave the classroom (so he doesn't fall into the toilet, someone's lunch, become abandoned on the playground, get tromped on at PE, etc.)
  • Shoulder Buddy doesn't always go to "our best friend"
  • Shoulder Buddy likes to change up where he sits (not just on BOYS shoulders)
  • No one touches Shoulder Buddy when he is sitting on someone's shoulder
Since our shoulder buddy didn't like to "sit" for more than an hour, he would "whisper" into the ear of whoever he was sitting on the name of the person he wanted to visit and the reason why he wanted to visit them. It.was.magic. This made the children aware of when others were being good citizens and EVERYONE wanted to "spread the love". What happened was it eliminated the overwhelming "authority" of me, the teacher, and helped the students become more accountable. Those students who once acted out to get any kind of attention (negative or positive) were now overly "good" because they were seeking the attention of their classmates to "send" them our shoulder buddy. Yes, it did become obnoxious when someone would yell "thank you sweet friend" from the top of their lungs so shoulder buddy across the room would hear them during reading centers, but that was a lot better than some things they would yell before Should Buddy was in the picture...

When I introduced Shoulder Buddy I would always hold a writing competition. My students would have to write a persuasive paragraph about what our Shoulder Buddy's name should be and WHY. The class would read through each paragraph and vote on their favorite. If I had a class of my own today, I would use Dotstorming to create a digital collaborative board for students to type their ideas. Dotstorming allows users to VOTE on their favorite ideas. This would be a quick and easy way to decide on a name!

Use Dotstorming for students to submit and vote on their favorite ideas!
Example of a Dotstorming Board and votes

A few months ago I stumbled upon a TECHIE shoulder buddy so I started bringing Mr. T around with me as I visited classrooms. Everyone wants Mr. T to sit on their shoulder. All Most eyes are on me at all times and all most ears are always listening. It's a beautiful thing.

Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of this post to WIN "Digit" a MATH themed Shoulder Buddy!

You can buy your very own by clicking one of the links below. There are many different kinds of shoulder buddies. If the novelty starts to wear off after a few months, buy a new one. Period. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. What a great idea! I have never seen these before!

    1. Thanks, Emily! They are SO simple yet have such a huge impact. That's why I love teaching kids :)

  2. I never heard about shoulder buddies before this post. I think they are awesome. I like the rules you created for the buddies.

  3. Love this! Where did you get Techie?

    1. Here ya go, Lori:

  4. I have never seen these; what a fun idea! I think my students would really get into it! I'd love to have a journal or something similar that my students could record why they received/gave someone the shoulder buddy to not only incorporate writing but to have a record of all the positive things that happen on a day-to-day basis in our classroom!


    1. That's such a great idea! Thanks for stopping by :)