“Share a topic/idea from class this week. What’s one thing you did with students this week that you will (or will not) do again? Why?”
One activity that I do each year about 3 months after school has started, is “Looking for the Positives.” By the time I do this activity, most of the students know each other in the classroom. Some get along with each other and some don’t. It is also getting near Thanksgiving and my students are starting to get stressed out about exams and holidays and other things that are going on with their lives. This is a good time to do this activity.
I start out by having students brainstorm positive words that they could say about other people. This is not directed to anyone specifically but just looking for positive words. As the students mention positive words, I write these on the board. No one is allowed to say anything negative during this whole activity.
Then I have each student choose a colored piece of construction paper and I write each student’s name at the top with a black magic marker. I ask the student to use a crayon and write a positive word about themselves on their paper. At a signal, I have them pass the paper to the person in front of them. Then they find a positive word on the board that describes the person named on the paper. Only positive words may be used. This is repeated until the paper has been written on by every student.
As I look around the room, I can see many students begin to smile to themselves. I see some sit up straighter as they see themselves in a more positive light. It warms my heart to see that some of my students get positive affirmation by their peers.
After this we have a discussion about how easy it is to say negative things about others and how it can become a bad habit. We also discuss why it is hard to say positive things about others. Sometimes teens are afraid of looking bad in front of their peers by saying positive things and feel like they belong more when they say negative things. It is really great to see students seriously discuss this activity.
I notice that students interact with each other better after we finish this activity. Students still disagree but many times they interact more respectfully with each other.
What is one activity/topic that works well in your class? Please share.
Image: 'YOU are Loved'
Found on flickrcc.net