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Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Captain of Karate

Sitting down to craft an end-of-the-year compliment about every other student in the class is no easy task.  What if you can't think of anything specific?  What if there's some bad blood between you and one of your classmates?  What do you write when you get to your own name?  And perhaps most importantly, how can you heavily influence what others write about you

If you ever find yourself in a similar position or have to write a short note on a card for a co-worker you don't particularly like, take some tips from the third graders and their compliments this year.  You will surely leave the recipients feeling as warm and fuzzy as I did when Alonzo said this about me!

What if you can't think of anything specific?
   No problem.  "You're awesome" can work in any and all situations.  Kid you don't really work with too often?  "You're awesome!"  Want to get done quickly so you can play a math game?  Just "You're awesome!" your way down the page and you'll be done in no time.  Also consider applying "super duper" and multiple exclamation points to any adjective to fancy it up and make it seem more personalized.  "You're super duper smart!!!
  I did encourage everyone to try to think of something specific to really make a great compliment.  Some turned out to be extremely specific.  "You are good at drawing ducks."  Yes, well that pinpoints exactly where that person's talents lie, now doesn't it?

What if you have to write something nice about someone you don't like all that much?  
   It's OK to tell it like it is.  Pull out the one nicest think you can think of and then make use of those conjunctions.  "Maya plays with me but sometimes we fight." "Bryan is very nice but we argue a lot.  Like all the time."
  Another option in this situation is to affix, "in a good way" after whatever else you want to say.  "Sebastian is crazy in a good way" sounds completely positive.

What categories might help me generate compliments?
   Sure, the teacher might suggest school-related categories such as academic strengths, stand-out performance in drama class or in P.E., kindness, or classroom jobs.  Don't limit yourself to those.  Consider hair styles as well as height in your brainstorming.  "You have good hairdos."  "You are the tallest in the class."
Who's Awesome?  You're Awesome!
www.cheezburger.com
   Or think of those times when there's a loud clang and everyone turns to see that something with 400 pieces has just toppled over.  "Owen helps people when stuff falls down."  Done and done.

  What do you do when you get to your own name?
   Simple--you can write whatever you want and it will sound like everyone in the class thinks this about you.  "Jaden is very handsome and smart at division."  You know, I hear Jaden is quite smart at division.  "Makayla is me and sometimes I help people with their work."  "(I wrote it myself.)  You draw beautifully."

How do you ensure that everyone mentions how good you are at karate?
  Play it cool.  Wait until the teacher asks for strengths that classmates might have to help with the brainstorming process.  Keep waiting while other kids suggest thinking of who really stands out at art, vocabulary, sweeping the classroom, or math.  Casually mention some category you just happened to think of that is actually the thing you like most in the world: karate.  Third graders are extremely susceptible to suggestions. 
  Selected compliments from Jackson's list:

Jackson is good at karate.
You're a great friend and good at karate.
You are like a karate master.
Jackson is a good karate person.  He might be the captain of karate.
You're good at karate.
Jackson has the best karate skills.
Jackson knows a lot of karate.
Jackson is awesome at karate!
Jackson is very cool at karate.  He's like a ninja.

To read more compliments, both the genuine and the backhanded, check out the haul from previous years here.  Or here.  Or here.

4 comments:

Stacey Graham said...

Oh I am SO using Captain of Karate as my new Ermas siggie.

Nate said...

The captain of karate one is classic. I'm intrigued by the idea. How does one become the captain of karate? What responsibilities does it involve? (I wonder the same things about Captain America.)

Sarah Garb said...

Clearly one responsibility of the Cap'n is spreading the word about karate. That, and making sure that the class book that everyone's writing together features at least some martial arts. It's basically a PR gig.

Sarah said...

I think the "in a good way" line is pure GENIUS! :)