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Meet Sra. Wienhold

Positive Validations

Positive Validations are a fun and engaging way to praise a group or individual using phrases and gestures. I have used them with any age, from babies to college students. Instead of just saying "good job" or clapping after a student courageously speaks in another language in front of the class, use one of these creative sayings instead. 

What are Positive Validations?
I learned about Positive Validations from my amazing former Camp Adventure supervisor, Jazele Zabala. She had the most fun staff meetings (with college students) peppering in "3 divas snaps" (uh uh uh you go girl!) for a job well done or "2 snaps & a power woosh" for someone who went above and beyond. That summer of camp I integrated these validations with the school age children I was working with and they LOVED them. There is a tremendous power in having a whole group of your peers give you the the "rock star" (dunanana rock on dude!) or "skydiver" (aahhhhh that was so cool!) They were such a hit that Jazele did her Master's research project at UNI on Positive Validations and created a cardfile of 100 of them for the Camp Adventure program. I have then taken these original ones (in English) and created new ones in Spanish to use in my classroom. 

Why should I use Positive Validations in my classroom?
For most kids, speaking in front of the class is the task they hate most, and this goes triple for foreign language. I teach high schoolers who are constantly concerned about what their peers think of them, and never want to look dumb or embarrass themselves in front of others. Knowing this I try and get my students in front of the class early and often to lessen this fear and make it ok to make mistakes while speaking this new language. I want them to know that every time they get up in front of their peers and speak Spanish they will be given positive feedback and know they are appreciated, so they are positively validated in a fun way. 

How can I Implement them in my classroom?
Every day in my class starts with the Bienvenida (another great idea taken from the Creative Language Class), where a different student welcomes the class and asks basic questions to get the class started. After this student speaks as a class we give them a Positive Validation, such as a "fabuloso" (say with big jazz hands in front of face) or "aplauso de los royales" (polite royal clap saying hum, hum, hum, pip, pip, pip). My students all have their favorites and even create their own new ways to praise their peers. 

Also, any time we do presentational speaking assessment in front of the class, each individual or group receives a Positive Validation after speaking. Sometimes I will just give a student or the whole class a "fantastico" (with arms shooting out overhead) or a "3 latidos" (3 heartbeats, each time tapping chest twice." I know they sound cheesy and corny, but that is because they are, but they work! Sometime you have to do little goofy things (see baile viernes) to build that sense of community within your class and make it ok to make mistakes and grow from them. Everyone loves getting compliments and even an adult can not help but smile when they are given "the firework" and told youuuuuu rock, rock, rock!

Let me know if you try them!

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