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The Power of Positive Affirmations

Hello blog friends :)

I feel like it has been way too long! I've been one busy teacher (you know the feeling). It was report card "season", then I became obsessed with teaching myself how to make fonts, and now using those to create fun products for the classroom! I'll be sharing one of those today for free because I know you love freebies as much as I do!

Last year I was fortunate enough to be part of the district's Math Leadership Team. It was exciting to know that I was taking part in helping to shape the future of math instruction and curriculum for our little ones. On top of that, it was an incredible learning opportunity. Everyone on the leadership team was enrolled in Jo Boaler's online course with Stanford on Growth Mindset and How to Learn Math. I became fascinated with this idea and how to foster this mindset in my students. If you want to learn more, I suggest reading Carol Dweck's book, Mindset.

One strategy I have used to help build my students' growth mindset is positive affirmations. It's such a simple strategy. If you're already doing this, you know how powerful it is... and if you aren't, I hope you'll give it a try :)


The idea behind this is so logical. Kids need to believe in themselves as much as they need others to believe in them. So you give them the tools, the words, to express positive self-talk. "I am smart." "I can do it." "I will try my best." "I can learn anything." We've all had students in our class who struggle to believe in themselves. They don't know how to use positive self-talk or they lack the confidence to do so. I know this because I was one of those kids. Praising myself was completely unnatural and I needed other people to tell me when I was successful, when I was doing something well, right, etc. Is it great to get positive feedback from others? Yes. But we need to be able to give it to ourselves, and so do our students.

There is currently a big push for teachers to provide more specific praise and feedback to their students. Instead of, "Good job", state specifically what they did well. "I like how your lowercase j goes under the bottom line" (Literally used that one today).


So about those positive affirmations.... How do I use them? What do we say? The main time we use them is during Morning Meeting as we're getting ready for the day. The idea is to feed kids with a positive, growth mindset to help them believe in themselves. A few positive affirmations I use with my students are:
  • "I am smart."
  • I can do this." (We tend to make this more specific - "I can count to 100!" and we say it before we do it). 
  • "I am a good listener." - This one is my favorite. I start by praising their amazing listening skills, giving them examples of how I know they're good listeners. Then I ask them to tell themselves they are a good listener. 
To put another spin on it, my students also tell each other these things (i.e., "You are smart." "You can do this." "You are a good listener."). When those little eyes light up after saying or hearing positive words about themselves, I guarantee that your heart will feel so full!

In light of the Valentine's Day spirit, here are 5 positive affirmation posters to hang in your classroom!

Click to grab this freebie :)

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