Saturday, July 2, 2016

Bags of Good Feelings

Everyone loves to feel good and there comes a point in the year when we really need to focus on the positive...this point might come sooner than we would hope. This activity is a great way to help refocus your class and help build on a positive classroom family. The activity is called Bags of Good Feelings and is super simple to set up. The materials you will need are paper bags, art supplies to decorate with, and scrap paper to write notes on. Ok, to start each student gets a paper bag. They must write their name large and neatly so other students can read it. I have done it where I personally have written them on the bags first or had the students write them on labels of some sorts to add to the bags. The students can decorate the bags as they would like with drawings and colors. I then tape them to a part of the wall so they can be seen and reached. After all bags are completed and taped up you can move to the written activity.

This is a bag I created two years ago during the winter Olympics. 

Students are instructed to write positive notes to one another that are more than,"you are nice." I explain that students need to write complete sentences for each student and that they MUST write their name on each note. The notes need to point out something nice that person did, a personality trait you noticed, or an awesome character trait you witnessed. They should be different for each student and hand written. We do a practice one together on the board based on a teacher in the building (This year I plan on making the practice teacher a real bag and we will drop it off as a class. It might be a nice way to spread positive energy through the building). We talk about how we would describe this teacher and why we would describe them this way. What is special about this teacher? Have they done things for the school? Have they done things for you? Once we brainstorm the students write their own note to  the teacher and we share them aloud. We discuss what we like about the student written notes and ways to improve them. Afterwards, the students get a class list and start working on class notes. I tend to set a due date for all the notes and only set aside maybe 10-20mins on the first day to work on it. I explain to the students that they need to work on them during their extra time after they complete class work and quietly during read aloud time. The majority of the students do a great job at  writing and really enjoy doing them. They also can't wait to take their bag and read their notes.

There are a couple of ways to do a note reveal. I tend to just let my students take their bags home to read, but you could make a reveal party where they can read them in class. You could also have students share one during a morning meeting at random. Students could also read their notes before placing them in the bags during Morning Meeting or just the last 10mins of class. There are so many ways to modify it to your class. I would highly suggest this as a fun classroom, group, team building activity. It might take some time out of the class day, but it is so worth it to see the students highlighting each other's positive characteristics. It definitely helps me as a teacher when I read my own notes students send me. It refreshes our class and gives a positive lift to our classroom.

What do you do in your class to build a positive atmosphere?

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