Today I was privileged to be in a classroom while they shared in “Compliment Cookies”. As I walked into the room, the students were very excitedly moving their desks to the edge of the room. I asked one of the boys what was happening and he joyfully said, “We’re doing Compliment Cookies!” So, I just had to see what this was all about.
The teacher had asked all the students to move their desks to the side of the room so that they would have plenty of room on the floor to sit in a circle together. After the students, the teacher, and I all gathered together, she brought out a bucket of letters and numbers shaped cookies. (She happened to get hers at Trader Joes)
The students’ excitement heightened. The teacher explained: Each student was to select one cookie from the bucket – without digging through it. If the cookie they selected a letter, they were to give a compliment starting with that letter. If it was a number, they were to give that many compliments. But to whom? Well… the teacher used her popsicle sticks with student names on them to determine. After a student selected his/her cookie, she drew a stick from her cup and told them who they would be complimenting. There was no complaining. The students simply said things like, “That’s different.” Or “I wonder who I’m gonna get.”
I can see this being done in various ways as well. You could have the students give the compliment to the person to their left, right, or directly across from them. You could have the student whose name was pulled be the one who gives the compliment to the one who selected the cookie. Or many other ways.
The kids were great. Some of the compliments I heard were:
“You are a good friend.”
“Best at basketball” or “…soccer”.
“You’re pretty, nice, smart, helpful, intelligent, and a good friend.”
“The best at being quiet.”
And so much more.
One of the fun elements to this was that if a student selected a broken cookie in which they couldn’t tell what letter or number it was, they got to “pop” it in their mouth and select another. Bonus! The kids secretly hoped they’d get a broken one too, but it only happened a few times.
It was a privilege to be a part of this and to share in the compliments of others. It was apparent that this class had built a trusting, caring community lead by their teacher. The students were excited to give a compliment and to receive a small treat for themselves. In today’s world of division, bullies, animosity, and selfishness, taking time to regularly teach students how to give and receive compliments is so important. I made sure to tell this teacher just how great the activity was today. I also wrote about it on our staff “brag board” where we get to compliment our colleagues. Maybe more of us will incorporate these important moments and lessons into our days here at school and maybe even at home.