A Moment

In my classes we’re always talking about capturing moments. Today I had an epiphany.

It started yesterday at in-service when Dr. Cupp told us about the Five Blessings and how they can impact our kids. 

Today was the first day with kids after break. I originally planned a big lesson because we’ve got work to get done. But yesterday I scrapped that.

Sometimes I do a goal setting lesson. Today I decided to make it a dream lesson and to try to help the kids feel connected.

I knew it would work in yearbook, but photo is a different monster. The kids in photo didn’t sign up for what they’ve done this semester. They didn’t know the amount of work they’d be doing for yearbook. At times about half the class has been resistant since Thanksgiving. I almost let the fear of their resistance let me back out of a powerful lesson.

The lesson is certainly not new, and I totally stole bits and pieces of it over the years.

I had the kids grab a piece of blank colored paper and write their name at the top then tape the paper to their backs. Then I had them use markers and write nice things about each other.

I worried someone would be mean or someone would opt out. Once that starts it’s a tidal wave of whiny. But I still did the activity.

When they were done one of kids said “What do we do with this now?”

I said it was up to him. He could throw it out during passing period or keep it. It was completely up to him.

The kids spent several minutes reading their signs and thanking each other before we transitioned to the next activity: the I Want list. That list is powerful. I’ve always loved sharing the power of writing your I Wants down with kids. Often they’ll freak out stressing over the paper until I tell them the list is for them NOT me.

Today at the end of class I watched three kids throw the blank paper with compliments away. But before the end of class I watched several kids fold their papers up and put them away. 

Day one. No deadlines, no regular lesson plan, but today a class of kids felt good about themselves. And today this teacher learned to go with her gut and not let fear keep her from trying. 


2 responses to “A Moment

  1. Absolutely love that idea and wish I’d read about it around Thanksgiving. I’ve needed a bonding activity like this. However, we’re starting the new year off with a couple of new staffers we picked up to replace a few we lost, 1:1 on news and 2:3 on yearbook, so I think they need to get to know each other better first. Maybe after we hit that next deadline.
    One activity I did several years ago that had a similar effect – also around Thanksgiving (what is it about that point in the semester?) – was that I stopped them when they came in one day. No work. Instead I sent the 12-14 or so of them (YB) out with our 4 cameras. I told them to go out as a group and just roam around campus and take pictures of each other. They did end up starting as a big group and a little group, but the two groups met up toward the end. They had a wonderful time and we got some of the best photos of happiness and friendship and goofiness. Pressure was off a little and they’d connected in a different way. Whatever it was, it carried us for quite a while.
    Tell me what type of “wants” end up on the list. Are they material things like more SD cards or abstract things like more appreciation? Or both?

    • I love the camera idea. How fun! The I Want list is more personal than staff related. Each kid makes the list and then keeps it. They add to it and cross off as they get their wants. I learned about the list when I read The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. (Fabulous book!) I keep mine in my wallet.

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