Compliments web

In one of my fourth grade classes, there’s been a change in the last month. The students went from being very engaged in their weekly Community Circles, to disengaged, barely sharing anything, staring blankly at me and each other, etc. I wondered what the change meant and why it happened, so we talked about it in the circle…..I got nothing. Sooooo, I decided they needed some help engaging with one another again like a classroom community should.

Enter the compliments web. I’ve done webs before, usually in the beginning of the year to discuss how each of us are an important part of the community, each playing a role on the team, and how we need each other to do our part so the community stays healthy and happy.

This time, we focused on giving the person you roll the ball of string to a meaningful, specific compliment. We work on giving meaningful compliments all year (nothing like “I like your shirt,” “I think you’re nice,” and I don’t even let them say “Thanks for being a good friend” anymore because it’s not specific enough).

Here are some pictures of their work as a class to create something together.

This is the web just getting started.
This is the web just getting started.

Each student, upon receiving the ball of string and a compliment, had to thank the person, then wrap the string around a finger so they didn’t drop it, and send it on to someone else.

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Here is the web almost complete.

Some of their directions were to use self-control, meaning they were not allowed to pull, shake, or drop their string. We discussed how doing so was not doing their part to successfully make the web.

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After completing the web, we all stood to see the shapes.

Furthering their teamwork, all students had to stand in their spots, at the same time, to see their web in the air.

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Students began talking about the shapes and designs they saw in their web.

Some of the meaningful compliments given were: “I like it when you help others on their work after you’re done,” “Thank you for always including me at recess,” and “I like how you check to see if I’m alright when I’m sad.” Some students needed help from others to come up with a meaningful compliment. I encouraged this, as it was furthering their teamwork and helping one another to complete the task.

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More sharing of designs and patterns they saw.

When we returned to a sitting position, we discussed how it felt to give and to receive compliments.

As a side note, the student in the bottom right of the picture above, has been asking to do this activity since the beginning of the year. I’m glad we finally made time to do it!

This activity got them engaged, interacting, working together as a team, using self-control, and sharing positivity, which is much needed as spring time rolls around!