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Putting Away the Put-Downs

Found in: back to school, classroom management, routines & procedures

The first weeks of school, we do an exercise in my sixth-grade class, where students write what they think about their classmates on Post-it notes. No put-downs allowed; they can only point out good things about each student.

The Post-it notes are collected and placed in an envelope for each individual. Any put-downs are brought to me immediately to discuss with the class. Sometimes a child is misunderstood and this opens up a line of communication right there.

One year a student in my class lost his brother during the school year. He told me months later that he slept with his envelope under his pillow and when he woke up in the middle of the night feeling sad and lonely during his grieving time, he would read those compliments from his classmates. He said that those words were like hugs that made his tears go away.


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