I did another lesson with first and second graders about the power of their words. We had discussed during the last class that words have the power to build someone up or tear someone down, depending on how you use them. This lesson helps to tie everything together, and provides a little extra help with how to compliment others and also how to receive a compliment.
Ball of yarn
Two sheets of paper (or space to write a T-chart)
Class sitting in a circle
To begin this lesson, I had each of the students share how they got their name (named after someone else, a place, a thing, for the meaning of their name, etc). I explained that your name is very important because that is the first thing that anyone learns about you when they first meet you. "Hello- my name is ___. What is your name?" If names are so important, how might it make you feel if someone started calling you by the wrong name? What about if someone calls another person ugly? This is what we call "name calling", or a put-down.
We then created two charts- one with "name calling/ put-down" and the other with "compliments/ put-ups". We brainstormed words and phrases for both categories, and talked about how it would make someone feel to be called one of the things from the list. I reminded students that words have the power to build someone up or to tear them down. Everyone agreed that they would like to be called something from the compliment list.
Using the ball of yarn, we created a web of compliments in the classroom. I started it off by wrapping my finger around the end of the yarn one time, showing the class what is expected. I then complimented one student in the class and rolled the ball to that student. The student responds by saying "thank you" , wrapping their finger around the yarn, then saying a compliment to another student in the class, so on and so forth until every student has received the yarn and a compliment. This helps students not only learn how to give compliments, but what to do when they receive compliments as well.
Tying It All Together
As a class, we talked about how good it made everyone feel to receive a compliment. I pointed out the fact that people who were across the circle from one another were could feel the string move every time another person pulled on the string. In the same way, when we hear one person giving another person a compliment, that also makes us feel good. Compliments are contagious! Before I left the class, I cut off a piece of the yarn for the teacher to keep in the classroom as a reminder to give people compliments instead of calling them names.