I like the idea of encouraging compliments from students! Also the actual seeing of the chain grow will help students know how close they are – at first, it may be like a chore for them to get to the bottom. But eventually, they should just want to say them (it will become routine to be nice!) This is a great thing for my Pre-K students because they are still learning the importance of what they say and making friends.
I discovered an activity on Pinterest that involves buckets for each student on the wall that they fill with kind comments every day, and really liked it! I think it is a really great idea to encourage student community and make everyone feel validated. I have thought about some ramifications that could come up though – some students might have tons of comments in their buckets, and others (who are more outsiders) have only a few or comments that aren’t very personal. One way that I have seen a teacher work with students on compliments is by explaining good compliments during morning meetings. She allows the students to start with more superficial compliments about someone’s outfits, personality, etc BUT the goal is to work up to “good” compliments. Good compliments involve actual events that happen with the person or something you noticed that you want to acknowledge. This process could also work with the buckets. I would want to create sample comments that we could analyze together as a class to help them know how to really make someone feel appreciated 🙂 Tactile daily activities like this are very important to me. I want my classroom to feel like a family and the best way to make the students feel close to each other is through something like a compliment bucket – during afternoon meetings, there would be time for students to share some of the things they wrote down to bring us closer together. There are always students who feel left out, but hopefully, if you work on building a community, everyone can be validated. I would be taking place in this activity as well so my students know that I appreciate them every day!