Hi, Sunday-night-of-a-long-weekend. Snuggle in. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to share some stories resulting from the project that called YOU-ARE-AWESOME. The YOU-ARE-AWESOME project started in January 2009 with some bright + simple customizable posters designed with the intention of creating a positive impact and affirmation. When you see your name in print - it feels good. Whether you are just born, in highschool (I'll get to that) or a real-live-adult - it touches you somehow and gives you permission to believe it. You can find out more about the posters here. YOU CAN ORDER THEM HERE. And the YOU-ARE-AWESOME mini print set here. I've been enjoying these posters for so many reasons - but, the absolute best thing about them is the ripple effect I see when a poster is created. I know this is not rocket-science or ground-breaking-news... but, I fully and completely think that if something inspires goodness in someone - then it's BETTER than science or broken ground. IT'S A WEE BIT O' MAGIC. Like this...
So cool. I love seeing the names and YOU-ARE adjectives. There are so many wonderful stories about why you chose certain words and I seriously love it all. There are SO MANY great names out there, too. And so many requests for special YOU-ARE phrases. Here are some of my favourites...
Amazing stuff. I love when ideas evolve. I loved this teacher's idea so much - I asked her to write a little guest post...
Some days the duty of being a high school teacher is an unforgiving and thankless job. Some days the smallest most unexpected gesture makes me realize how much I like my job. In the back of my mind I have this crazy idea that all students arrive happy, excited and intrigued to learn. Eager to fill their brain with knowledge, anxious to explore and motivated to succeed. I keep forgetting that many students arrive dejected, fearful of failure and preoccupied with other problems. Fitting in is hard. Peer pressure is real.
I believe attitude is contagious. I believe an unwritten part of my job is to model a positive attitude (I actually believe this is part of everyone's job). During the last few months of my maternity leave, while planning for my return to work, I tossed an idea out to some colleagues. My idea involved using Kal's custom YOU-ARE-AWESOME posters. I was setting a personal goal to pay attention to positive student behaviour and reward at least one student per week until the end of the year with a custom poster. Most of my colleagues smiled and threw a negative slap my way by commenting that I probably wouldn't be able to find enough students. I almost threw out the idea. For some reason I kept believing that a positive attitude is just as contagious as a negative attitude. I was bit apprehensive that because I teach high school. Teenagers trying to be cool, trying to fit in, trying to distance themselves from being a "teacher's pet". It didn't take long before I received some feedback. One student response was, "when can I take my poster home?". Another student response was, "can you get more than one?". Another student response was, "I'm going to try for Meghan You Are Mighty".
This is the 11th week of my "Project YOU-ARE-AWESOME" and here's a sample of what students had to say about it.
"It makes kids feel special to see their name on the poster. It is also good to see the people that get recognized for a good thing that they have done." ~ Amy P.
"I think project YOU-ARE-AWESOME is a valuable reminder to people that they are being noticed for everything they do. Even though people probably wouldn't admit it, they would likely feel good that they were recognized by another person for doing something helpful, and they would also be more likely to notice and comments on the good things that other people do. Keep up the good work!"
"I think that Project YOU-ARE-AWESOME is a lot better than the other projects we have for recognition in our school. Knowing that your name is on a poster makes you feel included." ~ Steph P.
"I like the bright colours but think there could be more colours like pink or other themes. They are very personalized and make you feel like it is just for you. The words pop out and look nice. They are fun and make you want to do something good." ~ Kim B.
"It might give people a much needed boost to be told they are awesome!"
"I would really like to be in the YOU-ARE-AWESOME Project"
Has Project YOU-ARE-AWESOME had a positive impact in my classroom? Absolutely. Students are often asking when I will be adding new posters to the wall. There is something infectious about the "YOU-ARE-AWESOME" posters. It must be some psychological mind game to see your name in print with a positive adjective. It feels good. Students appreciate being recognized, without blowing things out of proportion or having them stand in front of the entire student body and risk public humiliation for being or doing good. Last but not least, students earn "YOU-ARE-AWESOME" posters for more than just high marks or perfect test scores. It's not all about being perfect ... everyone has the ability to do something good.
"Hi Kal. I just wanted to let you know that it was my 47th birthday today and a my daughter had you make a poster that she gave me this evening. Perhaps I should preface this by saying that I am a senior partner in a law firm in San Antonio and I am the last person who might admit that it was quite a moment to see my name next to the words You Are Loved and Admired. We have had a challenging relationship since her mother and I divorced - so the words were very meaningful to me. The poster will go in my office where I will see it everday. Thank you for this incredible gift. ~Michael"
"Dear Kal. When I came home from school today my mom put my poster in my room and it made me feel proud because it said I am incredible. That is cool. I like the monkey. ~Logan"
"Hello Kal!! I wanted to let you know that my sister loves the poster you did for her. She's been feeling low and this was the perfect way for us to remind her that she is an amazing person. ~Meghan"
To Dan and Kal - thank you for the posters! They arrived today and they are even nicer than I expected! Thank you for shipping all the way to New Zealand ~Kiri"
Cool. Very cool.
It's not too late to get your own YOU-ARE-AWESOME poster. Order them here.
Today: well, it's actually late at night and I'm going to get some rest before a busy holiday Monday around these parts. Life is good. Actually - it's awesome.