Well – its been a while since my last post. We have been snowed in here in Boston but we are finally starting to thaw and I have a bunch of ideas to share! I am going to start with two activities I implemented this week that resonated with students (my students blog reflections about class and everyone talked about the impact of these activities).
The focus of the class was self-esteem and “self” as an influence (we were discussing analyzing influences and the impact of self-esteem/self-confidence as an “influence” on health behaviors). At the beginning of the class, I had students complete two activities:
1) Students had to write 10 positive words about themselves on Post-It notes (one word per Post-It note) but the words could NOT relate to their bodies or their appearance. I informed students that this activity was for them – they would not show it to anyone but I did encourage them to post the words in their rooms (or somewhere else) as a reminder.
2) Students then had to complete either sentence: “I am BEAUTIFUL because I . . . ” or “I am AMAZING because I . . .” Again, the sentence could not be about their bodies or their appearance, After they completed this (I let them decorate the pages), they had their picture taken with the statements. I print out the pictures and write a short note on the back to each student. I also made a video montage of the pictures with theme music of MC Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This” and Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way”.
Students haven’t gotten the pictures yet or seen the video but the feedback from the activities in class was overwhelmingly positive. Students felt that these activities were valuable for a few reasons:
- They didn’t realize it would be so hard to write positive statements about themselves. Many commented that they could get to 5 or 6 words and then struggled. They offered some thoughts about why they thought this was the case.
- They felt GOOD after completing the activities.
- They appreciated the time to think about themselves and focus on the positives.
- They felt uncomfortable sharing something positive about themselves at first but felt better since everyone was participating.
- They realized that we do not often set aside time to help students develop self-esteem or self-confidence.
- They realizes the impact 15 minutes could have on their feelings about themselves.
In addition to this feedback, our in class discussions included ideas for empowering students, ideas to help students to become more comfortable saying positive things about themselves, how to give and receive compliments and ways that teachers can support self-esteem and self-confidence in the classroom. There were many great ideas generated from this activity!
One of the “take-home” messages was that we need to help students gain confidence in themselves to “be an influence” their own lives and help them take control of aspects of their health (and beyond). These were engaging opening activities that lead to thoughtful discussions about self-esteem.
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” ~Dr. Seuss