I came across this Valentine's Day Class Compliments post from Blair Turner (which has a great traits poster so check it out!) and the compliment circle popped into my head. I was teaching first grade with many students who were learning English as a second language. The compliment circle really turned out to be a favorite for both me and my students for several years.
Here's how it worked: Students would sit in a circle on the rug. The teacher went around the circle first giving each student a compliment. Because the kids were so young and also learning English, we used the sentence stem, "I like the way..." followed by the compliment. This also encouraged kids to note things other than physical characteristics of each other. So I would say, "Jessica, I like the way you helped Avery get on the swing at recess today." The student would respond with thank you and I would follow with your welcome and continue all the way around the circle. Then it would be the students' turns. One at a time they would choose a student to compliment using the same format. If they really did not want to, they could always say pass. But once this became routine, that hardly happened.
Yes, looking back this must have taken a loooooong time, especially at the beginning of the year. I don't think we used to be as time crunched to fit so much in. But, as time went on it sped up. The modeling is really important for the younger kids so they learn the format, feel comfortable talking to one another, and learn to focus on actions and not appearance. Once they do, it's so cute!
We always did our compliments after lunch/recess so it was sort of a way to settle back in and get a fresh start for the second half of the day, but morning would work too. Although, in the afternoon we were always able to draw attention to things that happened earlier in the day.
Once I moved to Texas and started teaching second grade, this wasn't something I continued with, probably because of the time. It's still such an important skill for students to learn though! So I was thinking about how it could quickly and easily be integrated into the day without taking a bunch of time and came up with these tear off sheets.
Simply post one or a few of them around your room. Students can pull one off and use it to compliment another student. The sentence stem will help them focus on important characteristics (other than I like your shoes...) and the variety will keep them from constantly saying the same thing. Of course the thank you and your welcome mannerisms will still need to be taught too!
You can download these sheets for free from my TpT store (in B/W too) and I hope they brighten your students' days (and yours)!
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