Scrolling Pinterest or Teacher Instagram, we see so many cute selfies of teachers posing in their #ootd, reflected in a mirror surrounded by laminated cards with words of affirmation. These bursts of positivity in my social feeds inspired me to finally grab the cheap full length mirror I saw at Walmart, some Command Hook adhesive strips, and enough laminating pouches to circle the mirror with affirmation cards.
I ended up making an “affirmation station” that I call, “Terracotta Pencil Themed” because of the pink, yellow, and orange hues and the pencil clipart design I created. I finally had my very own affirmation station in my classroom, but aside from cute selfies, and the occasional student repeating some of the positive words as they fixed their hair or outfit before heading to their next class, I wondered how I could integrate these words of affirmation into my classroom in a meaningful and purposeful way.
Having an Affirmation Station in your classroom, whether it’s posted around a mirror, doorway, bulletin board, or kept in a box that students can look through, can help to boost students’ self-esteem, confidence, sense of belonging, and overall well being. Positive affirmations contribute to a growth mindset, and can help to quiet negative self-talk.
Here are five ways to use an affirmation station in your high school classroom:
At the beginning of a semester students choose one of the affirmations and write about why they feel this is one of their best attributes.
Students take a selfie of themselves in the mirror and post it into a slide where they can write about which affirmation they chose that day and explain their choice. At the end of the semester students will have a series of photos and writing documenting their feelings over time.
Provide your students with a class list, and ask them to write a positive affirmation word for each of their classmates that they feel best describes them. Compile each student’s words and give them a card with these words on it. Ask students to reflect on how their peers see them, and write about whether or not they feel this is an accurate depiction of who they are.
Students title a poem “I am ____,” choosing one of the affirmations, and write about how they embody this word. Other poetic options could include creating an acrostic poem with their chosen affirmation word, or a cinquain poem using the affirmation word as the first line (turning it into a noun – ex: kind = kindness).
Place the affirmation cards into a bag and ask students to do a blind pick. In the style of a personal narrative, students will write about a time when they felt like they truly embodied the attribute they chose. Remind students that personal narratives are a snapshot of a moment in their life, which means they may be writing about an interaction that lasted for only minutes, but left a lasting impact.