Tools for Reflecting: Creating a Positive Classroom Environment with a Post-It Note?

How can you use post-it notes and mints to create a positive classroom environment?

A few months ago, a student of mine asked to have a mint from a jar in my room. After letting this student take a mint, I noticed that this became a daily habit for many of my students. I soon ran out of mints and many of these students demanded (rather nicely) that I fill my jar with more. Being the softy that I am, I caved in an bought more mints; however, I had an idea of how they could "pay" for the mints that they took (this is where the post-it notes come in!).

I decided that I would make a thankful tree in my room with one simple rule: if you take a mint, you have to write something that you are thankful for. I would have the students put the notes on the door of my classroom and soon it began to fill.

Where did I get this idea? 

Several years ago, I was a teacher at another school and was inspired by a student of mine. This student's world was falling a part, leaving her to feel that suicide was an option. My heart broke for this student whom I had known her and her family my entire career in this district.

She and I had a blunt conversation. She felt that she had nothing to live for and I was going to prove to her that she had everything to live for. Each day, I would have her stop by my room to check in and turn in a daily assignment / ritual we went through for the next several months...she was to give me a list of 10 things she was thankful for. Each day she gave me the list, we added to a wall in my room.

It is amazing how being thankful could dramatically change someone's mindset so drastically. Over time, she became a totally different person, who had everything to live for.


So when I sit at my desk in my room today, I have to think about this student and how much being thankful changed her life. I laugh at the posts some students make today at Milton Hershey, but I see the differences it makes in their lives. Students from other classes are starting to come in and fill out post-it notes because they have been inspired too. Who would have thought that a simple post-it note and mint could have so much impact?


Ayden Murray is from Wrightsville, PA and was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma. He is receiving treatment at Hershey Medical Center and needs your prayers and support. 
For every time someone visits my blog until the end of December, myself and several donors will donate to his medical fund "Prayers 4 Ayden." 

How can you get involved?

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