Creating a sense of community is important in the classroom (and in our individual families). During the year, I helped foster our classroom community through compliments, having a servant's heart towards helping each other, and writing thank you notes to outside helpers.
I also wanted to give my students a unique end of the year gift. Like all of you, I don't have much spare time and couldn't devote the hours to the lovely projects out there in Pinterestland! I turned to technology and created word shapes filled with the compliments of each other.
During the last 2 weeks of school, I introduced the Compliment Jar! Actually it was not a jar, but a lovely empty Kleenex box....! (I came up with the idea kind've quickly, and grabbed what I could find!!!) I filled a separate bin with cut up scraps of paper for students to use. It wasn't fancy, but it was the compliments that counted! I told my students to think of a fellow student and write down a compliment on a piece of paper and fold it into the box. They were to include the person's name, but NOT their own name. It was more fun to be anonymous. As a bonus, I found out which boy was "cute"!
Then during the last week of school, I led the class into a group compliment session. I gave each student a paper with their classmate's names and instructed them to write a couple of words to describe that classmate next to the classmate's name. I helped them a bit, writing some examples onto the board. I told them they couldn't use the same word for every person...and it had to be encouraging and nice. :)
After awhile, my students asked if they could include my name on their paper. That touched my heart!
I collected papers and the Compliment Jar slips and entered the key character words into a site called "wordle". The words are saved into practically any shape/color you want. I printed them, signed my name, the date, and our school's name, and placed them into page protectors. On the last day of school, I called each student up to give them their gift and compliment them in front of their peers. It was moving and a gift they will hopefully treasure for years to come. I know some of the students were going to rush home and frame them!
Here is the my wordle from the student's kind words:
It's in the shape of an apple and I had each student sign it for me. To make it simple (and to decrease any disappointment in the children), I created every one in the same color palette I made every girl's into a heart shape and every boy's into the United States.
Here's a link to try it for yourself: wordle