How often are students or children asked, “What is the best part of you?”or “What do you like the most about yourself?”? Teachers are busy with teaching. They have planning, testing, and grading, and more! They may not notice the self esteem of their students is not being nourished daily. Kids aren’t always taught to love themselves. They aren’t always taught to be proud of these features they were given.
A girl that is really tall, doesn’t see that as an advantage, but as a disadvantage. The girl sees that the other students make jokes of how tall she is and she looks different than the other girls. Why don’t we take those features and emphasize them into greatness? With this girl’s height, she is stronger, she can reach things that are up higher and she is helpful in the classroom by hanging the posters up high. She might be a faster runner because she has long legs, can probably kick the ball further, can ride more roller-coasters than her classmates, and gets new pants more often, etc. Its the little things that we need to teach them to be thankful about.
The Best Part of Me Project was born …
One week, we had several strange schedule conflicts in my class for a span of 2 weeks, it was a combination of 2 shortened weeks, President’s Day and parent-teacher conferences. I didn’t want to begin a new writing concept only to not get the full lessons on it. It was the perfect time to take a break from the regular routine and do a self esteem boosting project.
We began the lesson by writing out parts of the body that they are proud of and the reasons why they feel it benefits them. We wrote tons of ideas down on the anchor chart. The students also filled out their own sheet. This way they could easily decide the best one for them to write about.
Next the students were given the Opinion Writing Story Map that we use in class. The class has used this template numerous times and the students are very familiar with it. You can download it here for the lessons on how to use it. Most students were able to complete it quickly using their brainstormed ideas. My class is very familiar with the Writer’s Workshop concept, so they each worked at their own pace and went through the steps; brainstorm, rough draft, peer edit (the peer edit sheets are included in the Opinion Unit on TPT) or teacher edit, then final draft.
Final Draft Project
For the final draft, the students laid white copy paper over lined paper, it is helpful to darken these lines so they are easy for the students to see. Then the students wrote the final draft in pencil and traced it with black pen.
The Writer’s Workshop process works well in our class, the students are familiar with it and it usually goes smooth. However, the process can be tough for those really slow working students. The steps can be written on the board as a reminder. When they are finished I have another list of activities to do.
While the students were working on their projects, I walked the room and took close up pictures of the body parts that the students chose. I turned them into black and white photos. For a more elegant look, the teacher can enlarge the picture to a 5 X 7 and print them up at a place like Walgreens. The pictures can also be printed on regular white paper on the printer.
We used long black construction paper and glued on the writing and the picture.
Since we were completing them during conference week, I was able to show them off at conferences. Unfortunately, the parents didn’t seem that impressed, I thought they would have liked it more. However, the principal really liked it and chose for them to be hung up in our Auditorium entrance. The kids were proud to see their work displayed.
At the end of the year, I do a student survey, most of the students said it was the piece of writing they were most proud of .
For more character education ideas, check out the article Character Education through Morning Meetings.
There are also multiple units in the Special Treat Friday Store about Character Education
Accepting Others (Coming Soon)