Self-esteem building straddles the border between the classroom and the counsellor's office, but with the adaptation of the zero tolerance for bullies policies across the U.S., self-esteem asserts its need to edge further to the side of classroom inclusion. Games that build self-esteem often lend themselves to building a healthy "team" atmosphere between students. This atmosphere is conducive to greater self-confidence, and sometimes, greater motivation to do well in school.
Heads Up Seven Up Variation
In this game, five students are selected to stand at the front of the classroom, while the remaining students put their heads on their desks, covering their eyes and holding their thumbs up in the air. The teacher then reads off an instruction, for example, "Go to a student who is kind to others," or "Go to a student who is a good listener." The five standing students should each gently push down the thumb of a student who they think demonstrates these admirable qualities. Once five students have been selected, they must stand up and guess who chose them. If they guess correctly, they get to trade places with the standing student.
In this activity, give every student five strips of coloured paper, and tell them to write a quality about themselves that they admire on every strip. Qualities could include that they are friendly, that they are good at baseball, or that they are organised. Demonstrate to students how to make a paper chain using their strips, and have them make a chain using their five strips. Next, have students work together to join their chains, and ask them what it symbolises when all of their talents written down combine to make a very long chain.
In this game, a teacher must write different negative attitudes onto pieces of paper and drop them into a hat. Examples of negative attitudes may include "jealousy" or "frustration." Two students go each turn. One student pulls a paper out and acts out a scenario displaying the attitude written. The second student must guess what is being acted and then offer a suggestion to help change the negative attitude to a positive one.
In this game, the teacher designates one side of the room as "strongly agree," and the other as "strongly disagree." The students begin by standing in the middle of the room. The teacher will read out statements, such as "Sometimes I worry about being liked." The goal is to have students see that they are not alone in the things they believe, fear, or worry about, and that they all need to work together to support each other.