“For what is more powerful- more dangerous- than words? What gathers us, divides us like these letters and how we arrange them? How can we use words to improve ourselves and inspire Mindfulness…”
-From “Words For A Better World”, Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters
Each morning, I select an affirmation from a beautiful deck of inspiring cards.(The deck I use I purchased here). I pull from the middle of the stack, with the cards all face down, not knowing what word will guide my day. As I turn the card over, I read the words and then write them in my journal, along with 5 things I am grateful for that day. A recent affirmation was “I am ambitious”- another was “I am compassionate.” The affirmations are simple but they feel empowering to me and give me an expectation to live up to that day. How can I work towards worthy goals? How can I be more compassionate to myself and others?
According to Harun Inam in the article, “What are affirmations and how to affirm yourself” , “Affirmations are sentences aimed to affect the conscious and subconscious mind so that in turn they affect our behavior, thinking, patterns, habits and environment.” Last spring, I created affirmations to share with my students when we were suddenly shifted to learning from home. As a new calendar year begins, I decided to bring affirmations to my current third grade class. Class affirmations can be used to inspire and empower writers throughout the writing process.
Each week, I share an affirmation with my class, which frames our week. Read alouds and mentor texts can be chosen that relate to the affirmation. For example, our first affirmation was “I am always learning.” Picture books to highlight would include The Oldest Student:How Mary Walker Learned to Read and Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: A Growth Mindset Book to Stretch and Shape Their Brains.
During writing workshop, the affirmation can be referenced as the teacher introduces a new craft move or genre to explore. Excitement and enthusiasm around “always learning” can help students connect those words to the new learning they are experiencing. During share time, students can talk about something they learned about themselves as a writer or something they learned about quality writing.
Here are a few other affirmations and ideas to connect with writing workshop:
The teacher can model how she is trying a new writing form, strategy or craft move in her writing when creating a demonstration text to share. Students can highlight what they tried in their writing. Students can try out new forms or genres and celebrate being brave and trying new things.
The class can discuss how to give feedback to writing partners in a way that is kind, encouraging and helps the writer grow. Other discussions could center around being compassionate to yourself when you are having a difficult time getting started on a writing piece.
Teachers can share stories of authors who wrote for many years before any of their work was published.(The Author Spotlight series has many good examples!) The class can discuss ways to be patient with a writing partner. Discussions can center around being patient with yourself as you learn new ways to grow as a writer.
Books like The Dot and Ish by Peter Hy. Reynolds are wonderful to share to help students enjoy their creativity without fear of judgment. Teachers can give students space and time to explore genres of their choosing and write for fun sometimes. Cards, letters, songs, comics, fiction, poetry and speeches are just some genres students might want to explore as they create meaningful independent projects.
To see all the affirmations I’ve created so far, you can click here. I created them on Buncee, which is one of my favorite digital platforms!
Words matter all the time. Our leaders words matter. Our words to our students matter. What our students say to themselves matters. We can inspire and uplift the conversation by using affirmations throughout our teaching and in writing workshop. Have you used affirmations personally and in your teaching?
7 thoughts on “Words Matter: Using Affirmations in Writing Workshop”
Oh, Kathleen, I LOVE this so much and plan to adopt/steal/use your ideas right away! Thank you so much for the resources, ideas, and concrete examples!
Yay! I am so glad you like the ideas abs the resources were helpful Erika! Please let me know how it goes with your group!
Affirmations are a big part of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron about recovering your own creativity, so of course it would work with kids, too. I am going to start each week on our blog with an affirmation of the week. Thanks!
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I will check out Julia’s work! Thanks so much for mentioning it.
What an inspiring post! I have those same cards, Kathleen, but didn’t consider using them in that way. I also appreciate the practical, supportive suggestions for using affirmations with students. Thanks so much for sharing!
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Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful idea, Kathleen! Although I’m no longer working in the classroom, I’ll use this idea for myself and apply it to my own writing. Glad I stopped by today.
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