I’ve previously posted about research discussing the value of students sharing what is happening in their lives (see The Value Of Sharing Positive Events) and have written on this blog and in my books how I apply this finding in my teaching, primarily in my English Language Learner classes. I have students write about two positive events in the week and why they felt they were positive, and one not-so-positive event and what they could have done to make it better. They share it with a partner verbally, and each has to ask a question of the other. Then I invite a few people to share with the entire class, and afterwards collect them. Not only does it help build a positive classroom atmosphere, it provides an opportunity to write for an authentic audience and it helps me learn what’s going on in students’ lives.

I can’t really say why I haven’t done it with mainstream students in the past, but I’m starting to do so this year. We always do a short reflection on Fridays and, though I might not ask them to do it every week, I’ll include it regularly.

I thought readers might find it useful to see the model I use. I’ll print it in the body of this post, and you can also download it as a student handout here that you can modify. Here’s the content:

Mr. Ferlazzo’s Journal, Sept. 7, 2012

Here are two good things that happened to me this week:

I really enjoyed school starting this week. I love my classes and all my students because they are all hard-working and smart.

I had a great time playing basketball on Tuesday night. I scored the game-winning shot, and everybody on the team wanted to pass the ball to me.

Here is one not-so-good thing that happened to me this week:

A student dropped gum on the rug in my room, and I was not happy that I had to scrape it off. I could have reminded students to throw gum in the garbage.

I’m adding this post to My Best Posts On Why It’s Important To Be Positive In Class.