Over the years I have tried several different ideas to get students to be kind to each other and to interact with each other more. I have finally found a way to do both and it is completely free!!
This idea was inspired by a student who we have been trying to get to pay attention to other kids. He can tell you all sorts of things about me and my staff, but nothing about his brother and peers in his class. That’s when I began “Class Wins.”
Class wins is a box full of notes that are written mostly by students to other students highlighting something good about a peer. I challenged all of my students to write at least one class win note for another student each day. During the last 5 minutes of the day, we sit together and I read each note aloud. We clap and cheer for the students who got a note individually.
While we have seen this be so beneficial for students, we have had a TON of positive feedback from parents and families. They love seeing the pride on their child’s face and reading positive note after positive note!
Implementing Class Wins
First, decide on the container you will be using to hold the class wins notes throughout the day. You can make it as fancy or plain as you want. I just used a box we already had and put a fun, handwritten label in on. Stack some paper next to it for people to write notes and you are all set to go!
In the beginning, staff needed to model and prompt. We needed to model writing the notes and “catching” a peer doing something that was kind or really hard for him/her. Since being kind wasn’t a top priority for students, we needed to catch the little things. For example, holding the door, handing something to someone else, etc. Every day the “wins” get better and better. Students are noticing when peers are working hard and being kind. It makes my heart so happy!! The best was when one of my students asked if they could write wins for staff, too. He said teachers work really hard and should get some notes. It was so stinking sweet!!! ??
I also challenged therapists to write at least one win for every day they worked with my students. I wanted to make sure students realized my classroom wasn’t the only place they are a winner!
Tips for making it work
- Remind staff that all notes have to be printed (no cursive) because we want students to be able to read the notes.
- Remind staff and students to be specific in their notes. “Good job today.” isn’t nearly as encouraging as, “Wow! You did such a good job reading to your buddy today!!”
- Don’t turn this into a writing or spelling task. Paying attention to others is the goal. If you also turn this into a writing lesson, it will be too much and students will write less notes. I allow sound spelling as long as students & staff can still read it. We also allow students to dictate the note for staff to write and draw pictures.
I hope this simple, but effective idea is as successful in your classroom as it is in mine! Make sure you pin the image below to be able to refer back to the post and SHARE with fellow professionals.