“Emotional Support And Encouragement”  

While I absolutely believe high school kids understand they cannot always see or know what is happening in other people’s lives, I don’t think it is their first thought as it is still a very abstract emotion for many of them.  I think it can be difficult to remember, even for adults, it is important to take a step back and acknowledge we do not always fully understand that a bad attitude or quick snap back at a person could be so much deeper.

“It is vital that when educating our children’s brains that we do not neglect to educate their hearts.”

-Dalai Lama

I frequently see so many wonderful examples of ways to promote empathy in the classroom and I have found myself gravitating towards the amazing variations of affirmation walls.

I was most inspired by a post by Cult of Pedagogy, “Classroom Eye Candy, A Flexible-Seating Paradise.”  In the blog she interviews Ms. Rebecca Malmquist about your classroom style and then she gets to the wall…

It is the one thing that caught my eye in the picture which is what led me to click on the post in the first place.  The wall behind such a soothing ambiance simply looked amazing. I will definitely be working towards this in my classroom but the idea is so amazing!

To visit Ms. Rebecca Malmquist Google Site click HERE.

So here is what I decided to do:

  1. As students entered they found a container of Play-Doh, a white “brick” and markers at their tables.  (For the Play-Doh Activity Click HERE)
  2. We discussed the definition of affirmation and why it is important to remember that we all have bad days.
  3. I told them to create a brick so we could build an affirmation door together.  
  4. On their brick they were encourage to write:
    1. Something they hear which makes them smile
    2. Something they wish they could hear when they are down
    3. Words of encouragement
    4. Quotes of support

IMG_0682While we worked through our various daily activities, students worked on their brick.  Once it was complete, they were given tape and asked to help build the door.

I may not ever know for sure how it impacts a student on a day-to-day basis but what I do know is the students were actively participating and very happy to create something with such meaning.

“Focusing on finding and teaching the beauty in others is how we teach our youth to do the same.  Model their success.  They are our future.”

I am looking forward to revisiting our affirmation door throughout the school year with the hope the students really begin to make a connection to empathy.  I hope they understand how important it is to remember they truly cannot judge a book by it’s cover.

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