Two summers ago at Twitter Math Camp, I learned about Two Nice Things from Elissa Miller. I quickly adopted this in my classes. When students say something mean to each other, I require them to turn around and say two things about that person. We don’t continue until this small task is accomplished. The kids usually say silly things as their “two nice things,” but I think it’s important for all my kids to know that I don’t tolerate unkind behavior or language.
Today while we were playing Trashketball in Intermediate Algebra, a kid was feeling rushed by one of his teammates, and muttered, “Ugh. Shut up.”
He immediately looked at me, turned back to his teammate and said, “Uhhhh…I mean I like your hair, and I like your nail polish.”
Like I said, completely silly. But I couldn’t have been more pleased with this young man’s decision…because a couple months he absolutely refused to say two nice things about a fellow student. He accepted an hour of detention rather than the five seconds it would have taken to say nice things.
But this time, I didn’t have to plead with him; I didn’t even have to remind him. He just did it.
So small. But I think we’re building an important, healthy, and safe culture here.