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5-15 minutes




Writing materials and tools


To help students learn about themselves and that they matter by describing their positive traits with help from their peers

  • Provide context for the practice (see “Evidence” section).
  • Brainstorm examples of positive adjectives.
  • Invite students to think of positive adjectives that might describe themselves (e.g., kind, smart, creative, curious, energetic, positive, athletic, multilingual).
  •  Start this activity individually, and gradually work toward whole class participation where positive adjectives are said of others.

NOTE: Co-creating classroom norms of inclusion, respect for diversity, compassion, and collaboration will help create discussions with a positive and safe emotional climate. To ensure respectful dialogue, norms must be co-created before the practice, and students can be reminded of them throughout.

Complementary practice:

Consider using a computer program to create a “wordle” of positive adjectives for the class.

Studies have shown that students benefit from knowing that they matter to an adult, as well as their peers. Encouraging students to develop relationships with both staff and students increases self-confidence and creates opportunities to form healthy relationships. (Bergin & Bergin, 2009; McNeely & Falci, 2004; Roorda, et al., 2011).

Bergin, C., & Bergin, D. (2009). Attachment in the classroom. Educational Psychology Review, 21(2), 141-170.

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.

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.