What would you change about your body?
With hands outstretched and open, students indicate they are ready to welcome a compliment. Once they receive one, they close their hands. It use to be that students would "pass" if their friends had already been complimented and those left weren't peers they felt comfortable complimenting.
That wasn't the case today. It seems as though Kid President's idea hit home today: "If you can't think of something nice to say to someone, you're not thinking hard enough!."
I watched as light bulbs lit and students gave compliments that were so incredibly thoughtful and targeted. A student noticed a peer who has been struggling to not shout their thinking out loud in an interruptive way. He complimented him on a noticeable effort to raise his hand and followed it with "I know that for people who are really creative, like you, it's really hard not to share your good ideas right when they happen!"
My students are growing in their ability to encourage each other in a deep and authentic way. Positive Discipline in their classrooms and incredible support from home over the last few years has taught them so much. What a skill for a young student to learn and carry with them. What change will they create in each other and in our community with the ability to subtly notice just what a person needs and formulate a compliment that acknowledges both their effort and their character!
While stuck on the West Seattle Bridge behind a stalled car, I clicked on a video a friend had posted on Facebook. I promise-I was at a complete stop :)
I immediately wanted to show this video to my class and watched it a second time to make sure it was cool to show in class :)
The kids' reactions were so wonderful I wish I had a recording to show you. I asked them to think about the difference between the way the kids, the adults, and the older adults viewed their bodies.
One student immediately made a connection to El Deafo and said "Our differences are our superpowers!" A student asked what the lady meant about stretch marks. I explained what stretch marks were and another student said "but that's like... a gift! Even big ears are like your gift" Wow.
We wondered about the reason behind why we make a shift from thinking that the only change we we could possibly make would be having a shark mouth and cheetah legs, to wishing we could change our bodies for reasons of vanity.
While we didn't come to an official answer, we did realize that maybe the way people are airbrushed and modified in magazines and other media sources makes us think we need to look better. One student pointed out that none of that is real life!
So remember everyone, stretchmarks are gifts. A third grader says so :)