Why are middle school students so hard on themselves? Well, do you remember how difficult middle school was? It’s not typically anyone’s favorite life stage. Take socializing and peer pressure, add academic stress then throw in puberty for good measure… Just the thought of going back to that is enough to put a knot in my stomach! Luckily these girls don’t typically have our sky-high aerosol sprayed bangs to go with their thick rimmed glasses and braces circa 1990, but they also don’t have Bel Biv Devoe, so I guess it’s a trade off. Ah, Poison. Sigh. My own middle school memories aside, I find that my own students rarely realize how amazing they are and sometimes need a little reminder. Enter Post-It Notes of Pride.
Straight to the point: Every Friday my students’ Do Now is the same. While I check their notebooks and agendas for an organization grade, the students each brainstorm three things they’re proud of from that past week. Their proud moments don’t need to be school related and they don’t need to be monumental. Each student then decides what they were most proud of and they write it on a yellow Post-It note along with their name and the date.
I make it a point to walk around the room and read each one silently as I collect it, followed by a sincere comment and a high five. I want these kids to be proud of themselves and know how proud I am of them! I put each Post-It on my bulletin board and we stack them as the year goes on, adding a new note every Friday.
At the end of the year, the students get their stack of notes (stapled together). It’s a fabulous reminder of everything they’ve been proud of all year and they get a huge kick out of looking through it in June! The brainstorming is hard at the beginning, but a little patience goes a long way with this activity.
Kids have so much to be proud of – Give them a push so they can be as proud of themselves as you are!