Self-Esteem Activity GRADE LEVEL/SUBJECT: grades 4 - 7 OVERVIEW: I believe that in any classroom, it is realistic to expect that two to four students may be feeling hurt or very sad or just discouraged about something that happened the night before at home, on the playground before school, or even in the classroom. These few students, no matter how high their I. Q. and no matter how brilliant the presentation, may not be able to focus their attention on the lesson. Also, in small, rural communities like ours, a single tragedy may affect almost every student in the class. This strategy, used at the beginning of the day, can increase the positive feelings of each student and the classroom atmosphere as well. Last year, I had the opportunity to use the Ombudsman Program in the 5th and 6th grades in my school. Both classroom teachers commented on the positive atmosphere generated by these activities, so they encouraged me to use the first period of each Tuesday and Thursday for my presentation. We talked a lot about feelings and student participation improved as they became more comfortable, even eager, to share how they were feeling with the whole class. In order to help the students personalize what they were learning, I introduced them to the positive/negative ratio, developed by Glenn Jorgensen. We did this regularly in response to the question, "How positive are you feeling today?" I began taking the first few minutes of each day to check every student's positive/negative ratio. There were always three or four who were less than 50% positive. One at a time, they would sit on a special stool where they could see the whole class. They each had the option of sharing with us why they were feeling sad or hurt or discouraged and they always had the right to pass. The rest of the class then took turns giving them positive statements. (They improve quickly with this kind of practice.) This was a quick but clear demonstration of the power of affirmations -both for the student receiving them and those who participated. The student on the stool would always say, "I feel better now," or, "now I feel 60% to 70% positive and only 30% to 40% negative." PURPOSE: This lesson recognizes that none of us feel extremely positive all the time and that it is acceptable to say, "I feel sad because______" This lesson is important because it can establish a classroom atmosphere that is so positive that even the most discouraged or most shy student will feel empowered to participate. It removes fear from the classroom and replaces it with the experience of being listened to. OBJECTIVES: l. Listening skills will be taught and reinforced throughout this lesson. 2. Each student will experience the good feelings that come from this special positive attention from their classmates. 3. Each student will experience the power of thoughtfully expressing a compliment to a classmate and seeing positive results. 4. The class will have the opportunity to witness and discuss individual and group power in a positive setting. ACTIVITIES AND PROCEDURES: 1. Brainstorm feeling words on newsprint or blackboard. It is helpful for students to have separate lists for positive and negative words so they can compare them. 2. Introduce the positive/negative ratio as follows: Positive Negative 100 0 90 10 80 20 70 30 60 40 50 50 40 60 30 70 20 80 10 90 0 100 Each student can share their own P/N ratio with the class. (Respect each student's right to pass.) 3. Brainstorm opposites - Positive power and negative power. RESOURCES/MATERIALS: 1. Positive/negative ratio on a poster 2. Copies of P/N ratio for each student 3. Newsprint and felt markers for brainstorming TYING IT ALL TOGETHER: 1. Define and discuss internal and external locus of control. Then, using P/N poster and newsprint, check student's understanding of this concept and help them clarify it for each other. (Examples of internal locus of control) a. Happiness comes from within b. Awareness of personal capabilities c. Confident about solving most problems d. Has several close friends e. Is loyal and honest f. Can admit mistakes and learn from them (Examples of external locus of control) a. Reacts or responds to peer pressure b. Lacks goals for the future c. May be habitually critical and insulting d. Often regellious e. Potential drug and alcohol addiction f. Potential for depression 2. Using poster and newsprint - answer any or all of the following questions. a. How would you describe a person who is 80 to 100% positive? b. What kind of friend would this person be? c. How is this person doing in school? d. What might their goals be? e. Where will they be and what might they be doing in ten years? 3. Ask the same questions about the person who is 70 to 100% negative. Comparison of these two sets of answers can trigger a lively discussion.