Building self-esteem in our students is something that teachers are often looking for ways to do. We already use blogs to publish student work online… so why not use blogs to build self-esteem as well? Say Something. Nice is an example of how you can use technology to facilitate a classroom activity.
I remember reading a story in Chicken Soup for the Soul about a teacher who gave her students a class list and asked them all to write something positive about each classmate. She then compiled all of the compliments and gave each student a list of what their classmates thought about them.
I’ve done this activity for the past few years. I would then take the compliments, type them in to ensure anonymity, and then at the end of the school year, give my students this list of positive feedback. You could hear the proverbial pin drop as students read their pages. Every year, I hear a few students say, “I never knew people felt that way.”
This year, I’m trying the same compliment activity online using a WordPress powered blog. Here’s how I did it:
- I created a user account for each student. They only had subscriber priviledges which meant they could leave comments but not create posts.
- I created a private post for each student with their name in the title. Private posts can only be read by users who are logged in. They cannot be accessed by the general public. (I use the private post plugin to allow my subscribers to read the private posts.)
- Unfortunately, because of the way that the core WordPress software deals with comments, it’s currently impossible to hide unpublished comments from other subscribers. To put it another way, all of your students can see all of the comments waiting in the moderation queue. I tried using the Role Manager plugin to take away the ability for subscribers to see other people’s comments, but it’s not possible. (The IWG Hide Dashboard plugin, however, lets me hide the dashboard so that users don’t get distracted with unnecessary details.)
- Each student logs in and works through the class list of private posts to leave a positive comment.
- At the end, I plan on moderating all of the comments, hiding all of the comment authors and printing a list of student comments for each student.
- I might post the comments on the site as examples of positive compliments. (No student names appear anywhere.)