Building Students' Self-Esteem
When I taught high school, I remember running into a mother of a student years later. She shared with me that her son still carried a dog-eared scrap of paper around in his wallet with a list of positive qualities his classmates had wrote about him in my class. I never forgot the impact something so simple can have on a person.
I think it's extremely important to build a young child's self-esteem. Various studies have shown that children who are willing to take risks learn to read faster.
A child needs to feel confident to venture a guess, to make a mistake in order to learn. A fun way you can do this, is to make a Smile File for them.
- Write your students' names on manila file folders.
- Run off my letter + positive quality attachment to parents explaining the file and requesting a family photo and send them home the first week of school.
- Buy a pack of various sizes of smilie face stickers.
- Run off the Award calendars.
- Run off the "I love my family!" hearts on a variety of colored construction paper.
- Print off the "Happy Grams" from your teacher and fill them out as soon as you know your students well enough to make a "special" comment about them.
- Keep the folders in a crate under your desk for easy access.
- Run Off "This is your day!" sheets. Keep them in the crate.
- Keep all masters in the crate.
- As soon as students return their forms and photo pass out the folders and have them cut and glue their "pieces & parts" together.
- Whatever system you use for choosing children, pick a child each day to have your class fill out a "This is your day!" sheet, so you can get these completed the first month of school.
- Whenever you pass out certificates have students put them in their Smile File.
- Periodically star work that children will put in their Smile File so you have things to show parents for Parent Teacher conferences.
- If a member of their family comes to help in the class or chaperone, take a photo of them with mom, dad, grama, grampa working with them.
- They can glue the photo to a sheet of construction paper, write about it and put it in their Smile File.
- Give students a choice of things they want to put in the Smile File.
- Perhaps they got an "I love you" note from mommy in their lunch box, or a 100% on a spelling test, or were Star Student; you can make copies of things so they can take originals home.
- At the end of each day, pass out a smilie sticker to anyone who has put a smile on the teacher's face ALL day. In other words, this student has made wise choices (not moved their apple or other behavior management token, or been in the Time Out chair etc.), has completed their work or whatever else you have explained to your students as the guidelines for receiving a sticker.
- Children put their smilie face sticker on the appropriate day of the week.
- This Smile File then, can work as a great behavior modification program as well. You can reward students who have gotten a smile for the entire week/month if you want to.
- I've designed monthly certificates for this purpose, which of course they can collect and put in their Smile File!
- Have students paperclip certificates so they can stay organized from other things.
- If you'd like a writing extension for the calendar, post a list of one-word "happies" that students can choose from, to write on their calendar of what made them smile the most that day.
- I've given you a list of suggestions that you can keep posted.
- You should make one for yourself too! I keep my favorite drawings, cards and little notes from parents and students in mine.
- Then, when you're having one of those "I feel so unappreciated!" days... you can sneak a peak at your Smile File and feel "paper hugged" and KNOW the reason why from "scribbles of love!"
I hope this idea brings a smile to your students' faces and helps build their self-esteem. Who knows, some day, maybe you'll meet a mom somewhere and they'll tell you their child still has their Smile File!
Click on the link to view/download the Smile File Packet
Thanks for visiting! Feel free to PIN anything you think others will find useful.
"I am not a teacher, but an awakener." -Robert Frost