In addition to affecting a child’s ability to learn, learning disabilities like dyslexia and dyscalculia often negatively affect a child’s self-esteem. Continued difficulty in class as well as comments from peers can gradually affect a child’s self-image and can lead to negative self-talk. This negative self-talk can become a self-fulfilling prophesy. A child who believes they are incapable of succeeding in school fails to engage in class, and this lack of participation affects their performance, which in turn validates their negative self-talk that they are incapable of doing well in school. Parents and teachers often witness this cycle and are unsure how to help.
What can I do to help boost students’ self-esteem?
Try making affirmation cards. They are simple to make and require few materials. This project also allows students the freedom to be as creative as they care to be. Their cards can be as simple as magazine clippings glued to index cards or miniature works of art incorporating paints and other craft supplies.
What is an affirmation?
An affirmation is a statement of support or encouragement. These statements can focus on personal characteristics, a person’s potential, or their values. These short and powerful statements are intended to empower and promote positive self-talk.
This activity is suitable for most ages. Although younger children with limited fine motor skills or reading abilities might require assistance.
After a class period, your students will have entirely personal sets of affirmation cards to carry with them or keep in a special place.
- Index cards (or paper cut into size)
- Old magazines or catalogues
- A pair of scissors
- A glue stick
- Markers/ coloured pens or pencils
Additional material ideas:
- Coloured or patterned paper
- Washi tape/ decorative sticky tape
After collecting all materials, distribute the materials to your students and explain what an affirmation is and what you will be making today. Focusing more on the artistic portion of this activity, in the beginning, will help to keep the interest of your students.
*Be sure to let them know that their cards can say and look like anything, not just the examples you’ve shown them!
Ask your students to flip through the magazines and cut out pictures and words that they like or that stand out to them.
After they have finished cutting out pictures and words, ask your students to arrange them in meaningful ways onto the index cards or slips of paper.
Next tell your students to glue down the magazine clippings and decorate the cards with markers, paints, or any other materials you have gathered.
Due to the personal nature of this activity student might feel uncomfortable sharing their work with their peers. Instead, consider assigning a self-reflection written assignment asking the students to describe both the process of making the cards and what their finished affirmation cards mean to them.
Thank you to Evelyn Lim for the idea!