I've talked about my two nice things rule before and mostly because it's the one thing I've been consistent on throughout my entire teaching career.
When someone says a rude or mean comment about someone (whether they are in the room or not, or a family member, or celebrity, or someone I've never heard of) they must immediately say two nice things about that same person.
It's not about the nice things really being meaningful but it's about being consistent and sending a reminder that words matter. Mostly it stops them from saying mean things because they don't actually want to say the nice things.
I wanted to do something fun for my students for the end of the year but 90 students is a lot to buy candy or food for. So I used what I had: paper, ink, and my brain.
I made a list of every student in the class. I gave a little speech first about raising their maturity level, being kind and thoughtful, and imagining their classmates find this in 10 years so that it would leave a positive feeling. I asked them to write two nice things about each person in the room except for themselves.
I took their papers and used Wordle (currently using wordart.com) to type in all the responses. Then I copied into basically the size of a book mark so I could fit four per page.
I also put their names on it but of course I'm not posting those here. Not going to lie, this took a while. I did this for all 90 students and it probably took about...3 minutes for each one. I actually ran out of time so some were on paper, some were on card stock, some were laminated, some were not. But the appreciation was the same.
The students LOVED them and they traded with others to read theirs and just stood around in clumps trying to guess who said what about them. Some of my favorite comments from the students were:
- I'm going to keep this forever!
- This is my self-esteem boost for the week.
- This makes me feel really good about myself!
I also always do class awards where I make certificates for every single student in the class. They are usually in the form of 'Most Likely To...' and then I say things that they normally do. They aren't academic at all.
Apparently, the students were really impressed that I knew them so well. I guess they didn't realize that we just spent 180 days together. =) They told other teachers about it and talked about it at lunch. They decided they wouldn't have done that if they were teachers and that I am really observant.
It's one of my favorite things to do and I always have students tell me they are going to frame it or it's the first time they've ever won anything. This year I even had former students quote theirs to me from past years.
I also made a 'video' out of funny teacher and student memes. It has my name in it so you probably don't want to use it, but here it is in case you need some ideas.
And last, I used this mad lib style survey to get my students thoughts on me and my class.
Always a good time.