Tuesday, May 10, 2016

End of the Year and Kindness

The end of the school year is here. We begin our state testing in a week and a half. Stress levels are at an all time high. I find myself complaining more and hear more complaining in the halls and classrooms. Last week, I spoke with my students about complaining. We admitted we all got into a bad habit of complaining and we promised to work on it. I've seen a change in them.

We are working on group projects right now. Group work is challenging to every student, for different reasons. The introverted students struggle to participate. The extroverted students struggle to control their participation, some students hang back and others take over.

I want students to experience this and to have a voice as well. The first two days of the group work, the students filled out an exit ticket telling me about the group and how things progressed.

Yesterday I tried something different. Students were asked to write one sentence about their group work and after that, they had to list the names of their group members. Next to the names, they needed to write something kind.

Last night, I made an index card for each student with their compliments written on them.  Here are some compliments written by sixth graders FOR sixth graders...

He gives positive energy to the group.
She always keeps the group on task. 
He is good at incorporating everyone's ideas.
She is efficient. 
He keeps others happy.
She is very helpful.
He always cooperates. 
She explains things well.
He asks kindly for things.

All of the groups were not joyfully working through the block, so this makes these compliments all the more meaningful. I want to do this. I think adults should do this at the end of a stressful meeting...before you leave, write down one kind thing about everyone present.

It changes perspectives. It changes minds. It can change the world. 

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  1. What a great idea. My 6th graders are definitely feeling as though they are ready for the end and maybe I will try your strategy to keep it positive.

    We did the writing portion of the test last week and will do the multiple choice portion at the end of the month. I am glad they take it seriously, but wish some of them took it a little less so.

  2. Definitely needed, especially at this time of year! How sweet of you to collect the comments for the kids!

  3. Oh man, I love this idea of a sentence to encapsulate the work/group AND a kind thought for each group member. Simple, powerful and thought provoking. Thank you for your ability to bring out the positive even in those crabby moments.

  4. What a challenge that you've taken up in a unique and positive way. BRAVO!!!!
    Good luck with those crazy tests...
    Bonnie K.

  5. I love that you're having your kids write something kind about each person. That kind of perspective-taking makes a difference, doesn't it?

  6. This is a great way to share those positive vibes. It's all about how we view the situation. Thanks for the opening quote. It's awesome! ~Amy


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