Watering Flowers

"Materials: colored pens, pencils, or markers; and for each child a large drawing of a flower head with a circle in the center, with as many petals as there are people in the circle

"Sitting in a circle, each child can write his own name in the center of the flower. Then he can write a quality or something that he likes about himself in one of the petals. If some children can't write much, encourage them to draw something in the petal or an adult can transcribe their words.

"Everyone passes their picture to the person on their left. Then everyone fills in the next petal and writes a good quality of the person whose name is in the center. At the end of the session everyone should have a flower full of good qualities about themself offered by each person in the group. You can do the same thing with rays of the sun showing a child's strengths. Each child draws a picture of the sun with large sunrays. Put a photo of the child in the center or have them draw their own face there. The compliments they received in flower watering can be written in short form in the rays themselves.

"You can also do this exercise without the drawing and just give the children the chance to have their flower watered by every other child in the circle. They can give compliments, thanks, or notice positive qualities in the child. There is a fifth-grade teacher in Germany who hands out a sheet of paper to each student in the class with the names of every student (and herself, too!) down the left-hand column of the page. Every student writes one sentence appreciating every other person in the class. Then, she takes the sheets, cuts them carefully, and pastes all the positive qualities about one student on a single page to copy and hand to them. It is time-consuming but she notices that the atmosphere changes dramatically in her classroom after this, becoming much warmer and more open."