Social-Emotional Domain: Positivity
Students demonstrate the trait of positivity by choosing to be relentlessly optimistic, enthusiastic, hopeful, and cheerful. Students sustain their positive outlook based on the following beliefs. Students:
- believe that a positive attitude produces positive results – positive people are more likely to achieve their goals, feel successful, have good relationships, have better health, and live longer than those with negative outlooks,
- believe that happiness is a state of mind not a circumstance or fact; and (i.e., if they think they are happy, they are) and that “nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” (Shakespeare)
- believe that there are positive aspects (i.e., the silver lining) in all experiences and that they can characterize any experience in terms of its positive aspects (e.g., after a fire destroying most of his possessions, a positive person can feel genuinely fortunate and grateful that no one was hurt).
I will be a better student if I act on the following beliefs:
- Having a positive outlook can help accomplish positive results.
- I understand how having a negative attitude can affect my happiness and I will choose to find a positive alternative.
- I can’t always control the situation, but I can control how I choose to look at it and respond.
- Choose to be positive in every situation (the glass is half full instead of half-empty).
- Talk Positive – Talking in a positive way helps you to begin having a positive outlook as you start to look for and focus on positive things rather than negative areas. Focusing on the positive helps you with social skills, as well, understanding that people like to hear nice things rather than sad things.
- Write Positive – Journaling about what you are grateful for or happy about.
- Act Positive – Encourage others by your actions that you are someone they would like to be with because you build them up rather than bringing them down.
- Think Positive – Thinking positively allows you to focus on skills and strengths, rather than weaknesses.
- Replace “What did I do at school?” with “What were two positive things that happened today?”
- Review quotes connecting attitude and learning.
- Use technology, ideas, and experiments to figure out how something can be done
- Ask “what can this become?” instead of “will it always be this way?” A good attitude sees possibilities.
- “Having a positive mental attitude is asking how something can be done instead of saying it can’t be done.” – Bo Bennett
- “Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden
- “Strive for progress, not perfection.” – Unknown
- “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” – Henry Ford
- “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas A. Edison
- “Your attitude determines your direction.” – Unknown
- “I think it is possible for an ordinary person to choose to be extraordinary.” – Elon Musk
- “You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.” – Stephen King
- “What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity? Our attitude toward it. Every opportunity has a difficulty, and every difficulty has an opportunity.” – J. Sidlow Baxter
- “Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart.” – Roy T. Bennett
- “When you are joyful, when you say yes to life and have fun and project positivity all around you, you become a sun in the center of every constellation, and people want to be near you.” – Shannon L. Alder
- “The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.” – Oprah Winfrey
Make Attitude Acrostics:
- Give students a piece of paper and ask them to write the word “ATTITUDE” vertically down the left side of their paper. Set a timer and ask students to write down traits that are seen in positive individuals with words that correspond to the letters on the left side. For example, the “A” in “ATTITUDE” can read: “Always sees good in a situation.” Afterward, have students get into groups and share their acrostics with their classmates.
- The Attitude Inventory: Ask students to take out a piece of notebook paper and ask them the following questions one at a time, and allow them to answer the questions as much as possible:
- Write down the name of someone you think typically has a good attitude. Why do they or what about them makes you think that?
- Write down the name of someone you think typically has a lousy or bad attitude. How do you know they have a bad attitude?
- When you think of the person with a bad attitude, what things or who does that person usually point to as the reason they are in a bad mood?
- Do you think you can have a bad attitude one day and a good one the next? Why or why not? What influences that?
- Do you have to have a bad attitude if things aren’t going your way or do you think it’s possible to have a good attitude even when bad stuff is happening? Tell me why.
- Are there things in your life you’d like to change to help you have a more positive attitude?
- If negative stuff is happening to you, are there things you can do to keep your outlook positive? Name a few of them.
- After they complete answering the questions. Have students break out into groups and discuss their answers. Have them note if there are classmates who might feel the same way about certain issues and see how they handle negative issues in their lives. This activity will help them spot when they are having negative moments and can help them curb their emotions and think positive thoughts.
The Turn-it Around Attitude
Give students a piece of paper and ask them to fold it into thirds and label, “school”, “friends”, “family”, “home”, “self-image,” and “activities” on both sides. Then ask the students what problems they are having for each category, and instruct them to take these issues and form a question on how to solve them. For example, “How can I get along with my brother?” Then, turn the attitude around by having students ask themselves the following questions:
- How do I feel about this?
- Do I enjoy having this problem or do I want it to be solved?
- Have I been blaming other people for this problem?
- What will happen in the short-term if I don’t solve this problem? What about the long-term?
- What little things can I do to work toward solving this problem?
- How do I have to change my attitude to solve the problem?
- What will happen once this problem is resolved?
This gives students the opportunity to reframe these problems they are having and offer a solution to them. After the activity, students will be more prone to turn to positive thinking when they are presented with problems.
Jon Gordon, positive thinking specialist, author, and consultant, offers teachers and mentors a formula that can help develop positive thinking kids. The formula, E+P=O, helps kids realize that “Events” in their lives can be hard to control, but they can control their (P) positive responses and the (O) outcomes of the situation. Have students find a few recent examples where they maintained a positive attitude that helped make the outcome better than if they didn’t. This will help them be more aware of their actions, and to be positive when things go wrong.
- New study from Stanford University finds that positivity makes kids more successful. Scientists have discovered the brain pathway that directly links a positive attitude with achievement. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/05/stanford-university-study-positivity-makes-kids-smarter.html
- Cameron was born with a disability but never let this difficulty dictate his destiny. On the contrary, he finds his strength in adversity and his mother’s love. Thanks to his positive thinking, he can overcome challenges and he can affirm proudly that “the only disability is a bad attitude”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgks9TKVUnc
- A Positive Mindset – promote a growth mindset and a healthy, positive self-image. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfsInc3VfeE
- Positive Mindset – A positive mindset is what will get you through the hard times. Look to the role models in your life and also strive to be an uplifter to yourself and others. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unqOI_SlE-Q
- Positive Attitude for Elementary Students – An animated video that visually portrays the importance of a positive mindset. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmLIJAc5kyg
- The Greatest – The Greatest is all about perspective. Just when you think you are failing when things seem to be going wrong, a change of perspective shines a bright light of the realization that you just might be succeeding in other ways. https://www.passiton.com/inspirational-stories-tv-spots/99-the-greatest