Friday, August 29, 2014

Brag Books!

Good team climate is essential for a good learning experience for all of our students. We work tirelessly with the kids at the beginning of the year to instill in kids a sense of belonging, respect for others, collaboration and compassion. After all, these are the 50 other kids that they will be learning with this year.

One of our first "assignments" is to pay one compliment, in writing, to each student on the team. I pass out a class list and kids are to write one good thing about each person. Some have known each other for years and have a long history from which to draw. Others are meeting for the first time this year. In either case, kids try to come up with one positive statement about every other kid. 

I take all of the sheets home and create a page for each student on team with a list of the best compliments that the students gave that student. At the end of the process, we have one sheet full of compliments and positive statements. While the kids are in electives, we tape them to the insides of their lockers so that when these kids open their lockers at the end of the day, a sheet of positive statements is staring them in the face. 

We love watching the moment when the lockers start opening. At first the kids are a bit startled that something is out of the ordinary but then they read "This is what your teammates are saying about you" and they begin to read all of the good things that their peers know or have noticed about them, and they stand stock still reading the page. Some ask, "Who did this?" and Melissa and I just smile to each other. Watching 50 kids read good things about themselves, smiles lighting up their faces, is a moment we wish we could record on video. Some kids take the paper home to show parents, some leave them hanging inside their lockers, and some take it out and place it on the outside of their locker for all the world to see. This is one of our favorite moments of the year!

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