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Shawn, wonderful comments!

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Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas. I have actually done the plate activity with a high school class too (we used papers instead of plates) and they LOVED it. Your Secret Admirer letter is a fantastic idea. The fact that your students noticed how doing something kind makes them feel good, is experiential learning at its best. Finally the "Rocky" themed activity is so great because it allows kids to focus on their strengths. Delightful!

Mentor, Teaching Consultant

What you see is what you get

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That is how our brain is wired. There is so much information around us at any given moment that most info is discarded by brain and senses before you even become aware about it.

You know the effect: when trying to get pregnant the streets are suddenly filled with pregnant bellies and moms with kids - does it mean there really are more of them now? Of course not! But that is what your subconscious makes your pay attention to.

Equally important is to guide students' attention to learning, positive thoughts. and the fact how they can choose between these and their opposites. More information about this: http://notesfromnina.wordpress.com/

5th grade teacher from Richmond, Va

With all the standardized

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With all the standardized testing and mandates pressed upon us as teachers, we don't always think about how important it is for our students to have social skills. This information reminded me of how we should think about what we want our students to become in ten or twenty years. I am going to try the activities suggested.

Thank you so much for sharing

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Thank you so much for sharing your ideas on how to influence a positive learning environement. I agree that this is the first step that an educator has to achieve in order to creating a classroom where learning takes place.

lead by example

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I believe that modeling is a powerful tool for learning; not only during the "appreciation" lesson, but throughout the day. Students are always listening, and watching our every move. Providing a positive example when you think students aren't watching may be the best lesson of all.
I am going to incorporate this lesson into my morning meetings. This will help create a sense of community within my classroom, and will give students the opportunity to develop communication skills and foster healthy friendships!

1st Grade Teacher from Gering, Nebraska

I really liked this idea.!

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I really liked this idea.! After reading this blog, it reminded me of when I was in third grade. We taped paper plates to our backs and wrote something that we liked about that person on their plate. I have always wanted to implement this into my 1st grade classroom. Within our grade level, we have flexible grouping for reading, writing, and math. I work with the below grade level group for reading and writing. I feel these students are the ones who would benefit the most from a lesson like this. The Gratitude Check stood out to me as the easiest to implement at first. I thought I could randomly chose students for them to share something special with. The second part of the Gratitude Check could be done in their writing journal using pictures and labels.
Last February, our classes wrote Secret Admirer letters to the support staff within our school. In our letters, we told them we appreciate all they do for our school and listed one or two specific things they do for our kids. We mailed them from our local post office. The response was amazing. The support staff was thrilled! We talked with our students about not only giving thanks, but how it makes us feel.
Lastly, I strongly agree with teachers expressing appreciation toward students. Each Friday, we have reader awards. I usually start off with the "Rocky" theme. I call each students up to the stage and share something positive about their progress that week. Students enjoy this recognition.
Even though it nice to be recognized by adults, I feel it is more beneficial for peer recognition. If students are taught at an early age to appreciate others effectively, it will carry over to adulthood.
I enjoyed reading this article and finding ways to adapt it to my first grade classroom!

You are great :)

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Heather, So delighted that you'll be integrating it in your classroom - love to hear what you notice :) You are so right that it's for children of all ages (pretty good for adults too!). Be on the lookout - in some of the lessons, we also have activities for students to practice at home with parents. Thanks for your comment!

Lucky to have you

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Stacie, that student is lucky to have you. Often one teacher can plant a positive seed for life. Sounds like you're doing that. Thanks for sharing. Your school sounds progressive too.

I thinki this is a great

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I thinki this is a great idea. It is useful for children of all ages. The fact that gratitude can be taught is excellent. I work in a very hard, at-risk district and sometimes gratitude may not be taught at home, but the thought of having it be a part of my classroom is very encouraging. I am excited to try this out!

I thinki this is a great

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I thinki this is a great idea. It is useful for children of all ages. The fact that gratitude can be taught is excellent. I work in a very hard, at-risk district and sometimes gratitude may not be taught at home, but the thought of having it be a part of my classroom is very encouraging. I am excited to try this out!

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