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10 minutes (requires leaving the class)




Materials Sidewalk chalk, dry erase markers, window markers


To provide students with a creative outlet to inspire self and others with positive messaging and images

Prepare for this practice by selecting messages and images that are diverse and inclusive so that all students feel included, welcomed and represented.

  • Think about where and how to showcase the art/affirmations (mural paper, collage, bathroom stalls, staircases).
  • Provide context for the practice (see “Evidence” sections).
  • Choose a theme for the graffiti either before the activity or with students. It can relate to positive affirmations or a particular area, interest, or need.
  • Students brainstorm why affirmations are important and come up with some examples.
  • Students select affirmations or positive messages that would inspire others.
  • Students will choose how to visually express their affirmations.
  • Once the affirmations have been reviewed by their teacher, students can post their statements.

Could be practiced during high stress periods.

Having a positive outlook and sharing positive messages can lead to experiencing positive emotions which is a marker of optimal well-being (Fredrickson, 2004). This activity links together the protective factors of positive emotions, school belonging/mattering and the benefits of expression through arts. Activities like these enhance student decision-making skills and foster their creativity, which helps to build social relationships (Roorda, et al., 2011; Ronkko & Lepisto, 2016).

Fredrickson B. L. (2004). The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 359(1449), 1367–1378. doi:10.1098/rstb.2004.1512

Rönkkö, M. L., & Lepistö, J. (2016). The craft process developing student decision making. Techne Series-Research in Sloyd Education and Craft Science A, 23(1)

Roorda, D. L., Koomen, H. M., Spilt, J. L., & Oort, F. J. (2011). The influence of affective teacher–student relationships on students’ school engagement and achievement: A meta-analytic approach. Review of educational research, 81(4), 493-529.