Every Friday, my class looks forward to our weekly “team” meeting. It is a time for reflection, compliments, problem solving, but above all, it is a time for us to bond together. Since day one, the students are use to hearing me describe our class as a team. It is important for them to understand the attributes that make a good team successful, so this regular discussion is a part of our daily conversations. During our Friday meetings, the beauty of our team shines brightly!
Throughout the week, the students enjoy writing compliments or “brags” for their peers on sticky notes. They fold them up and place them inside our “Brag Box” waiting for Friday afternoon when they will be read aloud. At the beginning of the year, we modeled what a quality compliment entails by explaining the need to give a specific example. It took the students a few weeks for their compliments to turn from “Joe is nice” to ones that describe positive behaviors that are observable. Laurel and I make sure to write many “brags” every week to reinforce the characteristics of a good teammate. The kids love it when they receive a “teacher brag,” as they all exclaim enthusiastically.
I am always impressed with the ability of my students to write compliments for not only their best friends, but also other classmates. They have truly learned how to tune into the “bright spots” that are occurring on a daily basis in the classroom. I can recall a specific “brag” that one little girl wrote about a boy who was having a rough time getting his work completed. This boy utilized a new strategy of choosing a quiet spot to do his work. The girl noticed it, and wrote a compliment about his effort. That particular compliment said more than just words. She noticed something he attempted to improve and congratulated him for this. It was a huge moment for not only the boy, but also for our class as a whole.
These weekly class meetings are also a time for anyone to share concerns or ask for advice to solve a problem. The kids genuinely want to help one another, and they are able to gain perspective into others’ feelings by empathizing with their classmates’ problems. Just last week, a little boy was feeling glum about his dog being put to sleep, and the kids gave him a great idea to honor the memory of his dog by creating a book of pictures.
Ending the week in this way truly enhances the positive climate of our class. The students feel appreciated, respected, and part of something bigger than just their own selves. They realize they are an important player on our all-star team!