Step 1: Students fold a piece of blank drawing paper into 16 squares. Independently, the kids think of all the different â€œcompliment wordsâ€ and â€œcompliment expressionsâ€ they know and write them on their papers, one word/expression per square. Students can use the back or fold the paper to create more squares, if necessary.
Step 2: The kids circulate throughout the room and participate in a â€œGive 1, Get 1â€ activity where, in pairs, each student shares one idea with a partner and receives one idea from that partner before moving on to a different person. Students write these new ideas in blank squares on their papers.
Step 3: The kids return to their seats for a whole class share. As volunteers share their ideas, the teacher or student recorder lists everything on a chart for future reference while everyone else adds ideas to their papers.
Step 4: Each student circles his or her three favorite compliments, memorizes them, and commits to using them in the coming months. Follow up with these compliments as opportunities arise.
2) High Fiving - In this simple 5-minute activity students walk through the room â€œhigh fivingâ€ their classmates. Each time the students give a high five, they tell the other person their name. A terrific idea when you have a few spare minutes and want the kids to learn one anotherâ€™s names in an active, novel way.
3) Human Health Hunt - A variation of the well-known â€œPeople Huntâ€ activity found in Jeanne Gibbsâ€™ book Tribes, the Human Health Hunt contains a list of sentences that connect to various healthy habits and behaviors. Presenter Jeff Haebig (1994) created the first Human Health Hunt that I ever saw. The object of the activity is for students to walk around the room and collect the signatures of classmates who exemplify one or more of these behaviors. I stipulate that each student can only sign a given paper once, thus ensuring that everyone mingles with as many people as possible. The Human Health Hunt promotes positive social interactions, creates situations where students need to help one another, and raises awareness of important health concepts. I like to end the activity with a whole class debrief so that everyone has a chance to share the items which they were able to sign.
I have uploaded a sample Human Health Hunt into the â€œClassroom Resourcesâ€ section of the website.
4) Cooperative Handshake - A variation of an activity presented by Melanie Champion at the 2008 Cal Poly Elementary Physical Education Workshop in San Luis Obispo. Partners start on opposite ends of any indoor or outdoor space. The teacher calls out the first command, such as a left-handed fist bump, and the partners walk towards each other to perform the task. They then return to their starting positions to await the second command. If the second command is â€œtouch right elbows,â€ the partners again walk toward each other, perform the fist bump, and then add the elbow touch. Progressively add moves to the sequence until you reach a number that you believe is appropriate for students of that age. Other potential moves include â€œhigh tens,â€ â€œlow tens,â€ â€œtoes to toes,â€ and â€œshoulder to shoulder.â€ You can even challenge your students to create their own moves. According to Champion, this activity builds listening skills, challenges short-term memory, and improves cooperation. A great icebreaker.
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