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Wednesday, December 19, 2018


LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE DAY isn’t until Friday, but keeping optimistic is something that teachers struggle with every day – especially this time of year!

Many of you might have students who are a little like Eeyore. “Woe is me…nobody likes me…it’s going to be a bad day…” Unfortunately, some of these children get a lot of attention from their parents for their negative attitudes.

But, rather than focusing on a pessimistic outlook, I’m going to focus on being optimistic today. This Winnie the Pooh cartoon is one of my favorites because for some children, being with YOU every day is the best thing that can happen to them.

How can you help your students LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE?

First, have a class discussion about what it means to look on the bright side. Accept their responses without judging. Ask them for examples of what it means to be optimistic. What does it mean to be pessimistic? What kind of friends do you like to be around?
*Make a T-chart of optimistic and pessimistic behaviors.

Here are three simple behaviors that will encourage children to look on the bright side.

Change I CAN’T to I CAN! We are AmeriCANS and so we always need to say I CAN! Teach children this little chant to say to themselves when they have a difficult task or are trying something new.

I Think I Can
(Tune:  "If You're Happy and You Know It")
I think I can are words I like to say.
I think I can are words I like to say.
If I try with all my might, in time I'll get it right.
I think I can are words I like to say.

Look around at all the things you have to be grateful for each day. Pencils, books, friends, trees, food, families... If you focus on what you do have then you won’t have time to worry about what you don’t have. Start each day by passing around a smiley face puppet and asking each child to name something that they are thankful for or happy about.

Making mistakes is an important part of the “hidden curriculum” that is not in your state standards. If children learn to experience failure in the classroom, they will be much better equipped to handle it in real life and the work force. Losing a game, missing a word when you read, or running down the hall are all opportunities where children can learn and be challenged to try something different the next time. 

I make mistakes, you make mistakes, everybody makes mistakes, and that’s O.K. 

*As a teacher, model making mistakes and then saying, “I’m sorry.” Model how to clean up your mistakes. Model how to say, “Next time I will….” 

*Let children role play making mistakes. 

*Read THE BEAUTIFUL OOPS! by Barney Saltzberg.

*Make a class booked called “Mistakes Are O.K.” where children write, draw, or dictate mistakes they make and how they can do better the next time.

It's O.K. to Make Mistakes
(Tune: “This Old Man”)
It’s O.K. to make mistakes
Mistakes are always O.K. to make.
You can say, “Ooops!” and try it again.
It will be fine in the end.

Moms and dads, teachers, too,
We all make mistakes, it’s true.
Say, “Oh, well!” and try something new.
Use mistakes to learn what to do.

*Note! These activities might be a great way to start 2019!