Structuring Classroom Champions Throughout Your Week

Amber Calderon
Classroom Champions
6 min readOct 4, 2023

Ten Tips to Help Teachers Use Classroom Champions in the Classroom as a Daily Experience

My first year as a Classroom Champions teacher did not look the same as it does now 7 years later. Each year my lessons and challenges have changed and my engagement in the program has developed. The biggest thing that I have learned as a Classroom Champion teacher is that my enthusiasm in the monthly videos, challenges and activities directly impacts my students’ excitement and engagement. I quickly realized that as the teacher in the classroom, I am the main factor that is connecting my students to the athlete mentor.

Some years I make this connection between my students and our athlete mentor much stronger than other years. However, over the years I have come up with a few fun ways to build the relationship between students and our athlete stronger. If asked what advice I would give to a new Classroom Champion teacher it would be to make your athlete mentor a regular part of your classroom community — daily, weekly and monthly.

Here are 10 quick, low prep ideas to bring your Classroom Champions program into your classroom throughout your daily and weekly routine.

TIP #1 — Create a Bitmoji Athletes

Bitmoji characters were a trend in online classrooms during covid. Students became familiar with these cute, and fun versions of their teachers, so keep the trend going. Create a bitmoji character of your athlete mentor and use it daily in your classroom for morning messages, a bulletin board and on google slide lessons.

TIP #2 — Set Class Goals

One of the first Classroom Champion challenges is goal setting. This challenge looks different depending on your school and the age of your students. No matter what grade you are teaching, you can set a class goal with your students. A class goal is a goal for the whole class to work toward. For example, Can you read 100 books in a year? Can you do 1000 push ups? Work with your students to set a SMART goal as a group, make a plan for achieving the goal and discuss how to overcome setbacks.

TIP #3 — Class Meetings

Many teachers take a few minutes every morning to focus students and get a start on the day or the class. Make your athlete mentor a part of the routine. Share your athlete’s photo on your smart board and discuss the challenges students will meet throughout the day or the goals for the day. This can be done as you discuss the learning objective for your lessons as well.

TIP #4 — Create Bulletin Boards and Decorative Classroom Doors

Get creative and have some fun! Create a bulletin board or decorate your classroom door with highlights from your Classroom Champions experience. This display can be a work in progress. Add to it all year and watch it evolve with new challenges. Include key vocabulary words from the monthly topics, as well as photos from the challenges. Be sure to include a couple of photos of your athlete mentor. You can even title your bulletin board with, “What Would Jane Do?” and encourage your students to reflect on how your athlete mentor might approach tough situations.

TIP #5 — Create a Classroom Champion Sticker Book

Kids love stickers! Let’s be honest…. It really doesn’t matter how old they are either. So, create a Classroom Champions sticker book to collect all the stamps and stickers that your students collect in class. Instead of applying stickers to your students’ work or agenda books, add them to their sticker books and let them take it home at the end of the year. To give your sticker book a real Classroom Champion vibe, add affirmations or quotes from your athlete mentors to each page so that students can read the positive notes and messages each day.

Love this idea? Grab a copy of my Classroom Champion Sticker Book to share with your students. Classroom Champion Sticker Book

TIP #6 — Use SEL Read Alouds

One component available to teachers in the Classroom Champions resources is book lists of socio-emotional learning. Include these books as part of your daily reading routine.

TIP #7 — Activate Background Knowledge

Most of the time our athlete mentors are strangers to us and our students in September when we introduce them to our class. Take some time to teach students about their athlete mentor and their sport. Do a small research project or a class research project on the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, and each unique Olympic sport. This research can be spread out through the year as weekly reading activities.

TIP #8 — Make Classroom Champions Hands-On and Interactive

Just have fun! The best monthly challenges and athlete reveals are hands-on and interactive. Yes, these engaging activities may take a little more time to plan or set up, but the result is bigger and better. They have a greater impact on our students. Try an escape room, scavenger hunt, Amazing Race, or gym activities. Get your students moving and out of their desks!

TIP #9 — Rewatch Monthly Athlete Mentor Videos and Challenge Videos

Don’t just watch your monthly athlete video once. Rewatch them multiple times throughout the week or month. Students will take in new information each time they watch it. Don’t forget that the Classroom Champions website is a great resource full of valuable resources including daily videos so you can share a new video with your students EVERY day!

Create Classroom Champions Account or Log in

TIP #10 — Make Personal Connections to Athlete Mentors

As much as we want our students to absorb, learn and apply the challenges, lessons and stories that your athlete mentor shares each month, the fun facts that the kids love the most (and remember) are the personal tidbits. What is your athlete’s favorite chips? Who’s favorite restaurant is McDonald’s? Who loves sledding in the winter? What is your dog’s name? It is these little connections that build the relationship between your athlete mentor and students. Use these little tidbits of information to prompt writing or math activities and make the connection for the activities back to the athlete.

The most powerful thing you can do with your Classroom Champion program is to connect your students to the athlete mentor. The biggest connections do not happen once but evolve as you, the teacher, bring your mentor into the classroom community. Not physically of course, but with activities that engage your students and reinforce the videos and resources each month. This doesn’t happen once or twice, but over and over again throughout your daily and monthly c;assroom routines. Just because our athlete mentor’s aren’t in the classroom with us every day doesn’t mean they can’t impact the classroom.

Written by Jennifer Lundsten

This blog was written by Jennifer Lundsten. Jennifer has been teaching for 20 year. She has used the Classroom Champions program in her grade 3 classroom for the past 6 years and loves watching her students develop and grow with each monthly video and project. The highlight of her Classroom Champions experience has been meeting each athlete mentor in the spring with her students and getting to check out the Paralympic medal and World Cup trophies in real life.