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3-5 minutes




White wall of paper or whiteboard, writing tools


To build awareness that there is support and a community around us

  • Provide context for the practice (see “Evidence” section).
  • Discuss with the class what kinds of messages might reflect empathy, encouragement or acknowledgement.
  • Build, along with your students, a safe space in the classroom/school where students can leave messages of empathy, encouragement and acknowledgement that demonstrate that together we are a community and we support one another. No one is alone!
  • Monitor to ensure content is appropriate.
  • On a regular basis, review and reflect with students on the messages being left.

In a virtual learning environment, this can be done using a whiteboard platform (such as Jamboard).

Healthy relationships within schools are fostered through mutual experiences of being cared for, respected and valued, and realizing that others’ experiences are similar to ours (Graham et al., 2016). Supportive and caring relationships within schools improve mental health outcomes for students (McNeely & Falci, 2004), with student peer relationships having the largest impact on students’ emotional well-being (Kutsyuruba et al., 2015). Additionally, students may feel stressed and overwhelmed without realizing it, or may be aware of these feelings, but unsure of what to do to manage them; therefore, normalizing stress through psychoeducation can reduce the impact of stress on well-being and development (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2008; Van Daele et al., 2012).

Graham, A., Powell, M.A. & Truscott, J. (2016) Facilitating student well-being: relationships do matter, Educational Research, 58:4, 366-383. doi: 10.1080/00131881.2016.1228841

 Kutsyuruba, B., Klinger, D. & Hussain, A. (2015). Relationships among school climate, school safety, and student achievement and well-being: a review of the literature. Review of Education, 3(1), 103-135. doi:10.1002/rev3.3043.

McNeely, C., & Falci, C. (2004). School connectedness and the transition into and out of health-risk behavior among adolescents: A comparison of social belonging and teacher support. The Journal of School Health, 74(7), 284-92.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2008). The effects of childhood stress on health across the lifespan. Retrieved from: http://health-equity.lib.umd.edu/932/1/Childhood_Stress.pdf

Van Daele, T., Hermans, D., Van Audenhove, C., & Van den Bergh, O. (2012). Stress reduction through psychoeducation: a meta-analytic review. Health Educ Behav, 39(4), 474-485. doi:10.1177/1090198111419202