The Compliments Project

the-compliments-project

I read this post on The Cult of Pedagogy’s blog over the summer. It’s about a teacher who began a project she called “The Compliments Project” and later renamed to “Spread the Love”. I absolutely loved the idea and purpose of this activity and knew I wanted to incorporate it in my class at some point this year. I hope you read this and decide to use it in your class, too!

You can read the original post (linked above) to get the backstory.  My goal is to post the resources I created to go along with the activity so they can be reused in your classroom. I liked the ring of “The Compliments Project”, so I’ll be referring to this activity as such from now on. Below you will find an overview of the project as executed in my classroom.

 

Purpose of the Compliments Project

  1. Vocabulary – gratitude, thankful, appreciation, compliment
  2. Students learn to generate thoughtful compliments focused on character
  3. Students develop an understanding that giving compliments is just as uplifting as receiving them
  4. Students will feel recognized and appreciated

 

The Compliments Project In Action

I created the following PowerPoint to introduce students to The Compliments Project. It highlights key vocabulary, examples of compliments focused on character, and includes a brief overview. A slide for reflections as well as a slide to close the activity are also included.

  • Slides 1-4 introduce the project to students. When on Slide 3, have students practice creating compliments focused on character by sharing compliments for their parents. I found that students find complimenting appearances and possessions easy, while complimenting how someone makes you feel and recognizing personality traits is a little more challenging.
  • Slide 5 kicks off The Compliments Project. Ask for a volunteer to be in the “hot seat”.

This is where I made a few changes. Since I’m working with younger students, I decided to have the student in the “hot seat” sit outside of the classroom while we wrote compliments on the SmartBoard. I also gave students a piece of scrap paper and invited them to brainstorm compliments for their classmate on the paper first. This was helpful, as students were able to create several compliments and then choose 1 or 2 of their favorites to write on the board. Last, since I have a SmartBoard, students aren’t able to write on the board at the same time. Unfortunately, this meant that the project took a little longer that it would have if I had a whiteboard instead. Still, the time was well worth it! I invited three students up to the board at a time so they could quickly transition.

When we were done, we invited the student in the “hot seat” back into the classroom. This student was directed into the classroom with eyes closed and took a seat facing away from the board and towards the rest of the class. Another student was selected to summarize what occurred while he/she was outside and then invited our compliment subject to turn towards the board for the BIG REVEAL. The student in the “hot seat” then read the compliments aloud. It’s important that the student read the compliments aloud rather than just look them over…this part is particularly rewarding for the rest of the class. Just wait until you see the gigantic smiles on your students’ faces!

  • Slide 6 was used after the activity. I went back to these two questions after each student was in the “hot seat” to really drive home the impact of giving and receiving compliments. I also loved hearing the students reactions and responses.
  • Slide 7 is the big takeaway. I also challenge students to offer at least one other genuine compliment to someone throughout the day.

After The Compliments Project

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I printed two copies of the compliments we brainstormed (see example above). I laminated one copy and taped it to the front of the our classroom door. The other copy was given to the student to take home. I wrote the following note on the back of the print-out.

We are so thankful to have you in our class. Post these compliments above your bed or by your mirror, someplace where you can see it each day, so you can be reminded of how awesome you are and how much we all appreciate you. 

I also laminated Slides 1 and 2 and put them on our front door as well. Each student’s compliments were added to the door, along with a picture of them in front of their compliments on the board. I recommend doing the same someplace in your classroom.

The Compliments Project is MOVING, UPLIFTING, and INSPIRING. Try it in your class and be a part of teaching and spreading positivity. 

A big thank you to Stephanie MacArthur who was willing to share this idea with other teachers. The more we share, the better we become!

Explore the Genius of Dr. Seuss This Read Across America Day – A Dr. Seuss WebQuest

Last year hundreds of students used the Dr. Seuss WebQuest I created for Read Across America Day. I posted this WebQuest on the blog for the same reason I post everything else – I hoped someone besides myself and my class could utilize my work. Well, I’ve been blown away by its popularity, and I’ve updated it so that it can be better utilized by teachers and classes outside of my own.

I’ve received over 300 survey submissions, and it’s been on my to-do list for quite some time to update the webquest to include survey results, making it more engaging and fun. I finally had time to do so this week. Now, when you submit a survey, you’re led to a results page. Also, since last year, a few links have gone by the wayside. They’ve either been replaced or removed, so everything is fully functioning and ready to go for this year’s Read Across America Day.

It’s time for your class to complete the Dr. Seuss WebQuest (pictured below) and get to know the writer, poet and cartoonist known as Dr. Seuss better than ever. They will explore his books and characters, and even create a Dr. Seuss inspired character of their own! Click HERE to begin.

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Purpose: Students complete a WebQuest to learn more about Dr. Seuss and his books. They then use this to inspire them to create their own Dr. Suess characters. This WebQuest is motivating to students as it allows students to explore and learn at their own pace.

Objectives:

  • Students will use online resources to learn about Theodor Seuss Geisel, the writer, poet and cartoonist known as Dr. Seuss.
  • Students will explore books written by Dr. Seuss, discovering new books and reflecting on personal favorites.
  • Students will create their own imaginative Dr. Seuss inspired character.
  • Students exercise technology skills to compile learned information in a Microsoft Word document. Students will: create a bulleted list, insert a table, use shading to fill table background, use text alignment tools and insert headers.

Teach your Students about SMART Goals

Setting goals in class promotes student independence and ownership, improves self-awareness, and boosts motivation. This post is for any teacher who wants to provide students with opportunites to develop a lasting lifelong skill–the ability to set SMART goals and evaluate success. Setting and evaluating goals is a monthly routine in my class, and I firmly believe that this acitivity significantly impacts personal growth and academic success. In addition to the short-term benefits, when done consistently, students are able to practice a real-world skill that will stick with them and can have lasting benefits throughout their lives.

I introduce my students to SMART goals in the beginning of the school year. During the month of September, we create a “Goal Setting” book. I break it up throughout the month, so students have time to digest each new vocabulary word. Below is a sample of the book we create in class.

SMART Goals Book

This activity is perfect for homeschool mamas or classroom teachers. If executed properly, I’m sure you’ll be thrilled with the growth you see once you begin setting and evaluating SMART goals!

Wonder WebQuest for 5th and 6th Graders

Wonder WebQuest

EXPLORE THE WORLD OF WONDER using a WebQuest that I created for my class.

Purpose: In this WebQuest, students will get to know R.J. Palacio and learn more about the creation of her book, Wonder. They will also learn more about facial differences and explore themes in the novel. Students will complete a number of tasks, separated by topic, and ultimately create a Public Service Announcement that shares a lesson they learned from the novel. As students progress through the tasks, they will complete the Explore the World of Wonder packet.

Below is an overview of the objectives in the Wonder WebQuest. Click on the images to explore the tasks further within the WebQuest.

Task 1:

Wonder WebQuest Task 1

In this task, students will…

  1. watch a video interview with R.J. Palacio.
  2. read an article about the author
  3. visit R.J. Palacio’s blog to read her response to a Thank You from a fan
Task 2:

Wonder WebQuest Task 2

In Task 2, students will…

  1. read a letter from a 5th grader who R.J. Palacio calls her “real-life Auggie”.
  2. watch a video called Imagine This: A World Without Bullies from the Children’s Craniofacial Association.
  3. visit the Children’s Craniofacial Association website and research two syndromes of choice.
Task 3:

Wonder WebQuest Task 3

The 3rd task requires students to…

  1. review the definition of theme in literature.
  2. explore the main themes of Wonder by clicking on an interactive image.
  3. read a list of quotes from Wonder and choose a favorite.
  4. decide whether they’d like to take the pledge to CHOOSE KIND.
Task 4 / Final Challenge:

Final Wonder WebQuest Challenge

In the 4th Task, students will…

  1. watch three PSA examples and determine the message shared in each.
  2. determine a message to share from Wonder.
  3. determine how to best share that message in a PSA.
  4. determine a call to action.
  5. plan and film their own PSA.

Click HERE to view and download the packet that goes along with the WebQuest.

I created this WebQuest to use over the first few days of school since my students read Wonder over the summer. Last year this novel let to such great discussions and set us up for a great year. We continued to discuss the novel as issues came up in class; so many 5th grade troubles can be related to the events in the novel. We will use the Explore the World of Wonder packet during discussions that follow the completion of the WebQuest, and the PSAs will be shared with the class. After watching the PSAs we will develop our class mission statement and discuss how the PSA messages fit into the expectations in our school and classroom. I’m looking forward to using this WebQuest for the first time next week!

A Read Across America, Dr. Seuss WebQuest Activity

Screen Shot 2015-02-14 at 4.58.46 PMLast year, I created a Dr. Seuss WebQuest for my 5th Graders. Please feel free to use it to kick off Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss’s Birthday with your class. This activity is best for Grades 4-6. My class had a great time exploring Dr. Seuss and his books throughout this quest last year. I anticipate it will be just as big of a hit this year.

Project Idea: Students complete a WebQuest to learn more about Dr. Seuss and his books. They then use this to inspire them to create their own Dr. Suess characters. This WebQuest is motivating to students as it allows students to explore and learn at their own pace.

Objectives:

  • Students will use online resources to learn about Theodor Seuss Geisel, the writer, poet and cartoonist known as Dr. Seuss.
  • Students will explore books written by Dr. Seuss, discovering new books and reflecting on personal favorites.
  • Students will create their own imaginative Dr. Seuss inspired character.
  • Students exercise technology skills to compile learned information in a Microsoft Word document. Students will: create a bulleted list, insert a table, use shading to fill table background, use text alignment tools and insert headers.

In Dr. Suess’s words, “You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!” (From: Oh, the Places You’ll Go) – Click HERE to view and begin my Dr. Seuss WebQuest.

I use the Dr. Seuss inspired characters created by students for another activity that I will post about later.

About Read Across America Day – March 2nd is National Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss’s Birthday. In elementary schools, this day (or a portion of this day) is set aside to celebrate reading. This annual celebration takes place on March 2nd each year, Dr Seuss’s birthday, and exists to raise reading awareness and motivate students to read. My school also kicks off One Book, One School on this day.