Social activities are as much a part of the elementary counseling Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum as any other of the skills-related lessons.
Because Winona Area Public Schools students have spent so much time isolated at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, counselors felt it was necessary to implement activities in class that reconnected classmates in a positive way.
Giving compliments is a positive way of sharing your thoughts about peers. Counselors designed a compliment giving game called “What I Like About You.”
Here is how the game works: A classmate is selected to receive compliments from other students in their class. Eventually, all students get the chance to be a “compliment receiver.” They come up to the whiteboard and sit in a chair. The compliment receiver wears a blindfold, so they are not aware of who is giving them the compliment. The activity is partially aimed at helping students understand that anonymous compliments are just as enjoyable and valuable to receive as those we get from people we know. Further, it raises the awareness of the receiver, so that others see the positive qualities in them, even if they think they are not seen.
So, to facilitate that understanding, we have our compliment receiver wear a blindfold during their turn at the whiteboard. Classmates raise their hand to come up and write their compliment(s) on the whiteboard about their peer with a dry erase marker or a Post-it note. Counselors provide a list of positive adjectives that could be used in addition to any words the student comes up with themselves. One student can take around 10 minutes. Several “rounds” are done so compliment givers can come up to the whiteboard more than once to write their impressions. When the students finish, the receiving student takes off their blindfold and reviews what has been written about them on the board.
It is so heart-warming to watch their elated faces as they realize how much good their peers can see in them. They appreciate that giving compliments is as much a gift as receiving them. These compliment activities are specifically designed to fit each grade's appropriate developmental levels.