I saw this pin on Pinterest last year about leaving words of encouragement on pencils for students during exams. I tried it for my Honors class and they really loved them. One student even made a Tweet about it a few months later when she found the pencil in the bottom of her backpack.
I wanted to do this again for all my classes for finals this past year but with 152 students there was no way that was going to happen. So, at the last minute, I decided to just take a whiteboard marker and write the message directly on the desk. Here are some pictures of what I wrote:
I think my favorite part about the day was when some students came in early, noticed the messages, and went around the room trying to find the one they liked best. I don't know if it helped improved scores, but it definitely put a smile on their face.
One student told me at the end of the year that she feels so comfortable learning in my classroom. I think I can call my year a success.