Compliments Count!

Compliments Count!
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104 KB|9 pages
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This is quite possibly one of the most fulfilling activities I have ever done in 11 years as a teacher.

It wasn't required. If students wanted to earn some extra points on their test average, they had to read 4 articles from the AP about both high school bullying incidents and the scientific evidence showing the benefits of compliments. They then had to write objective summaries of the articles in formal language.

More importantly, they had to write a compliment to each student in the class; no one could be excluded, and the compliments couldn't be generic little comments like, "You're nice." I told them when I passed out the assignment that I knew some kids went through school never hearing anything nice, and we were fortunate enough to have smaller classes this year, so we needed to not let it be any of us.

The compliments could be in informal language as long as they were meaningful. Some kids put so much effort into what they had to say. Some drew pictures to accompany their words. The spelling and the grammar weren't always the best, but the effort was there. You could tell when a student didn't know someone as well; there was less written. But an attempt to say something sincere was always made. I was surprised (and I admit this is a gender-based stereotype, completely guilty here) to find that the boys did a better job at this than the girls. They were very expressive with their feelings. The anonymity of the compliment cards most likely made it easier to write freely.

The final part of the assignment was a written piece voicing their opinions on the overall assignment--what did they get out of it? Some students said that they wish they could do it in other classes because it's hard to say nice things to people without feeling weird. Some said they were glad they did it because high school is lonely, so they were happy to give everyone a good thought. One girl said she got to get things off of her chest she just never felt comfortable saying.

I cut apart and bagged each student's compliment cards, so they can keep them for rainy days and pick me ups. Students received their bags on the last day of classes before exams. Their smiles and shared stories and cards were worth the entire effort.

These are word docs inside this zip file, so if you want to change it from extra credit to a required project, go right ahead. Edit away! I highly recommend this activity for helping to produce good citizens in the world. :)
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9 pages
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