After going through a handful of ideas, I put up the display shown in the picture in both of my classrooms.
In case you can’t see the photo, there’s a poster in the middle that says “take what you need,” surrounded by sticky-notes with messages.
You got this!
I can do it!
Mistakes are opportunities
I am a problem solver
You are a problem solver
I’m going to be OK
I am in control
It’s hard but it’s worth it
I belong here
You belong here
Better than yesterday
I have grit
Each one is written once on each of five colors of paper and stuck randomly around the center poster.
I introduced this to my students–5th and 6th graders–on Monday at one school and on Thursday at my other school.
They seemed interested. Monday, a few kids grabbed one.
Thursday, most of the kids grabbed one. I didn’t see what everyone took (that wasn’t what we were working on!), but I did go look after they left to see what needed to be replenished. (Eyeball estimate–with random placement, I’m not going to count every single one of those to keep the counts even.)
One or two of many were missing: I’m a problem solver, I can do it, You got this, Breathe (though I think their intention is a reminder to take a good breath when they play).
But this is what struck me (and why I’m writing about it).
Every “I’m going to be OK” was taken.
It gave me pause.
Many of those kids are dealing with problems that I certainly didn’t deal with as a kid. (Some of them have problems I can relate to.) But most of them, I don’t really know their story.
I’m going to be OK.
I made more and stuck them up there. I may start circulating to see who is taking those, if it’s consistently the same kids, and check in, either with them directly or with their homeroom teacher or the counselor.
If that’s what they needed, I’m glad it was there.