This is a collaborative blog post from Derek Oldfield, Jodie Pierpoint, and Paul Bailey.
Paul Bailey, Jodie Pierpoint, and I are in a Voxer book chat group reading Kids Deserve It with some other friends. The three of us were Voxing each other recently about developing authentic relationships with students. Born out of our conversation is this fun challenge we considered posing to our PLN via Twitter. Our purpose is to get more educators engaged in the extra effort that is required to build true relationships with tough students through positivity.
We have designed a challenge where educators keep track of “positivity points” daily by giving high fives, writing handwritten notes, or making positive phone calls home. We use the word points loosely because we will not be posting a leaderboard, giving away a million dollars, or any other award. The only reward given will be a smile on a kids face, the gift of being a champion for a kid, or joy from the happiness in a parent’s voice. Utilizing points will provide feedback for the participants to track if they are being positive throughout the school days. The hashtag #high5challenge can be used to post photos, point totals and/or goals and gain ideas of how others are promoting positivity within their buildings.
We value the power in turning negative behavior through a simple high five or a sincere handwritten note. In a lot of ways, managing tough kids isn’t hard, it just requires effort that few people are willing to put forth. Meeting that tough kid in the parking lot as they get off the bus in the morning, just to slap him five and tell him you’re glad he’s here, doesn’t require a PD session or a training day. These simple gestures send messages to kids and we believe every kid deserves to be recognized. This is not designed to be a competition among adults. It is set up to be an easy challenge for individuals to begin promoting positivity within their building. Fourteen points one day with a goal of twenty the next ultimately means there will be more positivity shared. However, individuals are not to be discouraged if a colleague earns fifty points in a day. Together 64 points (plus the points of other staff members in the building) of positivity were shared in one building on one day.