Improve life outcomes

Jumpstart: Giving A Compliment - Universal


CASEL Competency Focus: Social Awareness
Time: 20-30 minutes
Materials: None

1. Identify a positive quality or attribute in a peer or adult.
2. Express your thoughts using rehearsed phrases (such as "I like your;” "That was a really good job on;” "You did really well in..." etc.).
3. Identify characteristics that are appropriate and polite to compliment (such as someone's effort or skill, style, action, etc.).

Definitions of Key Terms:

  • Compliment: Kind words of praise
  • Admiration: Impressed with a person or action; looking up to; worth respecting

Lesson Procedures

Introduction: Giving out compliments is not just a kind thing to do, it also helps us recognize and appreciate the people and things in our lives. Begin by discussing the key terms above. Ask students the last compliment they gave; received. What was said? How did giving a compliment feel? How did it feel to receive a compliment? Discuss with the group that it is sometimes difficult to accept a compliment, but it is still important to acknowledge the compliment and thank the person giving the compliment. Although not everyone has to be our friend, every person has positive attributes and characteristics we can compliment. Compliments must be sincere and true. It is important to recognize others who may not be in our social circle. With the students, give examples of compliments. Discuss what types of compliments can be given. Examples of compliments include a perons’ personality characteristics, appearance, behaviors, etc. Below are ideas and activities to integrate this skill into daily practice.

Game Time: Compliment Hot Potato

After discussing the concept, have students stand in a circle. Ask who has played hot potato. Have a student explain the game. Then share that with Compliment Hot Potato! Is just a bit different. The person passing the potato (a ball, foam die or even a balled up piece of paper) must give a compliment to the person receiving the potato. The person who was given the compliment must thank the complimenter and then choose who they will compliment. Either set a timer or play until each person has given and received a compliment. Giving compliments can also become part of morning meetings.


This activity will help students to find the positive in others. It also provides students with the opportunity to accept compliments. Give each student a piece of paper (construction, copy, lined, etc.). Have students draw a quick self-portrait. Next, instruct students to leave the self-portrait on their desk/in their space. Students will now tour the art work writing a compliment on everyone’s portrait. You may choose to use sticky notes for student compliments. Once the compliments have been given, students return to their seats and read all the positive notes!

Try it out!

Encourage students to choose someone outside of school to compliment. Have students report back how they personally felt giving the compliment and how the person reacted to the compliment.