Friday, April 25, 2014

The Power of an Affirmation


At the front of my classroom is a poster I created with sample affirmations on it. This year, I have incorporated affirmations while promoting Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Happy Kids (particularly Habit 6-- Synergize). I thought about how receiving a note or card (or a considerate verbal statement) from my administrator uplifts my spirits. I thought about I am in that same capacity when interacting with my students. At first I wondered how fifth grade students would perceive affirmations, yet they quickly embraced the concept. My students are phenomenal at affirming one another-- and so many are willing to contribute every time I set aside ten or so minutes to incorporate them.

I have encouraged affirmations because I have tried to develop an optimistic outlook in my students as much as possible. I desire for them to focus on their classmates' positive attributes and recognize what makes them "shine" as well. They are essentially part of a "classroom family"-- and it is important for them to recognize how they are a part of that whole. As you see in the image above, the sample affirmations state--

"I like how you always add to the value of our discussions." 
"You are extremely artistic." 
"You are always so articulate." 
"You are always so accurate with numbers." 
"Oh my goodness, your writing sounds PHENOMENAL." 
"You are becoming quite the friend this year." 
"You always have something good to say about everyone." 
"I think what ______________ had to say is so important." 
"Thank you so much for your help." 

These are times when I have had students verbally affirm one another this year--
  • After they present their products
  • After an inquiry-driven lesson where they had to think outside the box and utilize teamwork strategies
  • In the midst of a challenging situation 
  • Prior to state testing 
  • Students will also verbally affirm one another and write affirmations for one another for our classroom awards ceremony a few days before we graduate fifth grade. 
When I introduced the concept, I modeled what an affirmation sounded like and then asked my students to try right away. I used the poster as a reference while asking my students what merits an affirmation. Now 7-8 months later, it is something my students do naturally.

In addition to the poster you see, I also have a large board that consists of a number of kid-oriented Hallmark cards with quirky affirmations in them.

Though I never directly utilized any references when initially introducing affirmations in my classroom, I found a few sites this morning that you may find useful. Here they are--
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