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Four Activities for Positive Thinking Day

Ever hear of Positive Thinking Day? On September 13, everyone around the country is encouraged to take a minute from their day and think about all of the positive things in their lives. 

For students, school and their daily lives can be stressful, so it can be hard to be positive. It is a teacher's job, however, to encourage their students to conduct positive thinking throughout the day. This Positive Thinking Day, use these four activities to promote and help students develop strong positive thinking skills. 

  1. 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." Afterwards, have students get into groups and share their acrostics with their classmates. 
  2. 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 in 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. 

  1. 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 in how to solve it. 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. 

  1. Positive Shark Formula: 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.