When I was student teaching, my cooperating teacher told me that the best thing I could do for my students was to teach them how to be appreciative. It’s a lesson that has stuck with me, and one that I think is so important.
In order to create a positive classroom environment, it is important for students to feel appreciated and valued. It’s important for them to feel safe and comfortable in the classroom so they can focus on learning.
That being said, it can be tough to figure out how to get your students to appreciate and respect each other. It can be tricky to get them to open up, but it’s definitely worth the effort.
After all, what better way to build community in your classroom than by getting students to share what they appreciate about each other?
Here are a few tips that can help:
1. Start by modeling how to write about someone you appreciate. Show your students examples of what a good thank-you note or appreciation letter looks like. Then, have them practice writing their own notes or letters using the same format.
2. In addition, encourage them to be specific. When writing about someone they appreciate, students should focus on special qualities or things that stand out to them. For example, rather than saying “I appreciate your kindness,” they could say “I really appreciate the time you took to listen when I was feeling down.”
3. Help them find the right words. Sometimes it can be hard for students to put their thoughts into words. If this is the case, provide word walls filled with appreciation words to use as prompts.
4. Brainstorming questions that can help get them started:
What are three things this person does that make you happy? Why do you think this person is important in your life?
How does this friend help you?
5. Make it personal! One of the best things about writing appreciation letters is that it allows students to express their feelings in a personal way. This isn’t always easy, but it’s definitely worth the effort!
By taking the time to express gratitude and appreciation for someone else, we not only make that person feel special…but we also make ourselves feel happier and more connected too!