I know what you're thinking...Love Language? I like my students, but isn't love pushing it a little?
Although this survey is based on the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, it is actually a version for students that assesses the way they like to be praised or affirmed. (Here is the teenage version that might work for some classrooms too).
This beginning of the year procedure was first introduced to me by a student teacher several years ago, and I have used it ever since. It has truly changed the way I respond to and praise my students. It has also helped me develop better relationships with them and helped them understand their friends and classmates.
Here is the gist:
People like to be validated in different ways. If we as teachers don't know the right way to connect to our students, they may not feel we are praising them. We might think we are doing a great job, but if we are communicating in the wrong love language, the student isn't necessarily receiving our message. The 5 basic love languages are:
1. Physical Touch- These kids are huggers, high fivers, and respond to that pat on the back (literally)
2. Acts of Service- Kids that appreciate and need you to help them with tasks. They also enjoying working along side of you with a task.
3. Quality Time- These kiddos need to have quality interactions with you where they are the center of attention. No distractions.
4. Words of Affirmation- Kids that need that verbal or written validation and praise.
5. Receiving Gifts-These children love to get stickers, candy, or other small tokens of appreciation from their teachers. I'm sure they'd love to receive bigger gifts or money as well, but that's taking it a little far! ; )
When I give the survey, and the students see that it says Love Languages, they get all weird and giggly on me. I have to go through the same explanation that I just gave you about people needing praise in different ways. We talk about how knowing their friends and family members' love languages can help with their relationships too.
The survey consists of a series of choices. Students circle the choice of that is more like them. If neither are like them or both are like them, they must choose one!!
I like it when my teacher writes positive comments on my papers.
I enjoy having conversations with my teacher.
Once they are finished, they can tally up the results and discover their love language. My students LOVE to tell everyone who will listen what their love language is, so I always announce each language to the class and have the kids who have that language stand up. Then I talk about that language and how you can praise them as a friend.
I keep a spreadsheet of love languages, just like I would any other assessment, and refer to it as needed throughout the year. We always laugh at how many boys made fun of the Physical Touch love language and end up being that love language themselves. I am quite honest with my students and explain that I am extremely high on words of affirmation, but scored a big fat zero on physical touch! We have decided that being a mom of two small children who constantly touch me has fulfilled this need. My students constantly joke around by saying, "Stop, don't touch her!"
Besides being a tool to get to know the way to offer praise to your students, this survey is also a great way to build community in your classroom at the beginning of the year.