As part of our end of the week celebration my class convenes with our daily circle discussion. In addition to our debrief of the week’s events, we add our ‘Get, Give or Pass’ activity. Each person in the circle is asked whether they would like to give a compliment to another person, get a compliment from a fellow student or pass. This is truly a very powerful measure of the level of community that my class has evolved into.
In order for this level of comfort to be present in my group I have to spend time daily working on team building tasks that facilitate a comfort level between all members of the class. In addition, there is extensive time spent modelling and supporting effective communication skills. As with any other outcome, this has to be scaffolded over time in order for the activity to be successful. If this activity is done without the time spent in building to this level of trust it could and will most often produce negative results.
Two pieces of advice I would offer to teachers in implementing this strategy are first and foremost to spend daily time reinforcing the expectations you have around how people are expected to treat each other in your room. This is best done by finding and recognizing students who are exhibiting the target behaviours you seek to develop.These expectations must be clear and consistently followed through on. The second critical piece is the modelling by you of the way to speak, to listen and how to give and receive compliments from other people.