Thursday, January 19, 2017

Kindness Matters: Motivational Cards for Students and Teachers



From the beginning of my teaching career, promoting kindness and positivity in my classroom has been a top priority for a few reasons. I wanted my students to feel comfortable and to know that I am one of their biggest champions and cheerleaders. In addition, I  wanted to create a classroom community where students are not afraid to be themselves or make mistakes. I wanted my students to know that even though things may get tough or seem impossible that working hard and giving their best effort was appreciated. I wanted my students to embrace the philosophy that it's okay to make a mistake and that every success, no matter how big or small, should be celebrated. 

In the past, I have used a variety of methods to recognize my students and promote positivity. Here are photos of two of my favorite ways that I have used to instill kindness and encouragement into my classroom community and the inspiration behind my newest idea.
A few years ago, I discovered an amazing idea while browsing Pinterest. Student Shout-Outs are a simple tool to allow students to recognize their classmates. At our school, teachers are allowed to recognize students with Bulldog Brag Reports and I thought that this would work perfectly with that reward system. I created all the resources that I would need to implement this system and introduced it to students on the first day of the new school year. Students were allowed to grab shout-out slips at the beginning or end of class to recognize their classmates. At the end of each week, I selected one entry to be the "Student Shout-Out of the Week". That student would get a small prize while all the other entries would get Bulldog Bucks. On Monday, I would hand out the shout-outs to any students that had received them. It was so heartwarming to not only read the kind words that students wrote to one another, but to also see the reactions and smiles from the students who received a shout out.


Another way that I have used to encourage kindness and positivity with my students is through personal notes. Many years ago, I created teacher post cards and had them printed at Vistaprint. These post cards were used to encourage students who were struggling in my class and to recognize student growth and successes. Although it can take quite a bit of time to write these notes to my students, it was definitely time well spent once I would see the reactions of my students. Their smiles, happy responses, and hugs are one of the thing that made teaching such a rewarding job. 

This brings me to my newest idea to promote kindness and positivity in the classroom. Since I have experienced success with both of these tools, I contemplated how I could combine them to create an even better strategy.  The result of my brainstorming was the creation of Kindness Matters: Motivational Cards for Students and Teachers. Each motivational card contains an inspiring quote or words of wisdom that are easily relatable to both students and teachers. There are a variety of ways that these cards can be used to not only recognize or inspire students and teachers, but also allow students to spread kindness and encourage others.

 photo www.GIFCreator.me_dmVvwe_zpswq1uh7lr.gif

Here are a few ways that you can start using these cards in your own classrooms today:

Idea #1: Print out these cards on cardstock and laminate them.  Use the laminated cards to create a bulletin board or classroom display.

• Idea #2: Print out these cards and keep them in your desk until needed. If you see a student or colleague who looks like they need a dose of encouragement and positivity, hand them out to those students or teachers.

• Idea #3: Print out these cards and use the blank side to write an inspiring notes to students or teachers. 

• Idea #4: Print out these cards and keep them in a place that is accessible to your students. Explain the purpose of these cards and set expectations for students to use them. Encourage your students to write notes that recognize or inspire their classmates or teachers.

Do you have any other ideas on how these cards can be used to promote kindness and positivity in your classroom and school? Leave them in the comments below.

Thank you to Darlene from ELA Buffett and Pam from Desktop Learning Adventures for hosting this awesome blog hop that celebrates #kindnessnation and #weholdthesetruths. Check out the other blog posts from the Secondary Teacher-Authors below.



22 comments:

  1. I love the idea of shout-outs and recognizing students for their progress. So often, they feel like no one notices them. Thanks so much for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely, Leah! I've always stressed celebrating every success no matter how big or small with my students! It's so important to recognize their hard work and progress.

      Delete
  2. Students struggle so much for acceptance and your shout-outs are perfect to help build that self-esteem!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Middle school can be so tough for students. It's so important to help them discover their talents and self-worth.

      Delete
  3. i really love the idea of "student shout-outs." This is perfect for any grade and any subject. Thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
  4. The shout outs are such an easy and effective way to make kids feel good about themselves. I will definitely try this with my kids. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome! It's such a great feeling to see their smiles and reactions when they receive them! :)

      Delete
  5. What a wonderful way to encourage secondary students to express supportive thoughts. This idea gives them a confidential way to say something kind that they might feel uncomfortable saying out loud, especially to someone they don't know well. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are absolutely right, Jill! I have constantly been amazed by the kind and thoughtful messages that students have shared and written to one another!

      Delete
  6. Short, sweet and snappy. It's a perfect way for kids to connect! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love the idea of student shout outs. What did we do before Pinterest?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Tammy! That is a great question! Pinterest has been such a great resource for teachers! :)

      Delete
  8. It's true that when we make our classrooms positive places for learning we make them safe for students to grow. I love these cards. Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are absolutely correct! It's an essential component to helping students be successful! Thank you! :)

      Delete
  9. I love the cards because they are so personal. I think it might be a goal of mine to write 1 per class per week and see what kind of magic happens. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I l love your idea of setting a goal of 1 per class per week to see what happens and to make it manageable! :)

      Delete
  10. I love your Motivational Cards! They are beautiful and very inspiring. I also really like the idea of other kids doing shout-outs, too. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am SO going to try some student shout-outs! Thanks for the awesome ideas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome, Darlene! I hope your students love them! Thank you! :)

      Delete