From Katie Starke, a Cheltenham High School biology teacher who is currently pursuing CAPP certification in our program:
“I turned an ugly bulletin board in the front of the room (with a permanent and broken paper-towel dispenser stuck to it) into a “Win of the Week” board.
For the Warm Up, kids write about a success they’ve had over the past week. They can choose something academic, something extracurricular, or something from their personal life – anything! I push them to share a WIN – something good that happened or something they worked hard at to achieve. I also push them to be specific – instead of “I did well on my test,” try “I studied and earned a 97% on my Geometry test.”
The results have been spectacular. They range from “I pulled my English grade up from a 67% to a 71% and now I am eligible to play basketball” to “I wore a Santa hat the day before Christmas and passed out cards and made people feel good” to “I learned how to play a new song on my violin.” I have already learned so much more about my students through this and some of the co-teachers that come in with kids are participating as well.”
The research that supports this is noted as the broaden and build theory of positive emotion – that focusing our limited attention on what’s good and what’s working will broaden our ability to see things panoramically and build our capacities for connecting and learning which is sure to make any lesson that follows more successful for all.
Way to go, Katie for applying the principles of positive psychology in your world – being a change-agent for students and other teachers — and who knows how far that reach extends!
Here’s a picture of Katie (middle) flanked by two fellow teachers from Cheltenham School District, a place committed to the wellbeing of its teachers, students and families: