“Feel Good Friday” (FGF) is a classroom community building activity I learned about in grade 11 from my fantastic psychology teacher, the one and only Cathy Faust (now a dear friend and mentor). The intention of FGF is to make people around you feel GOOD (hence the name, “Feel GOOD Friday”). FGF obviously takes place on Fridays and can be a full day affair if one so chooses. I initiated FGF in the classrooms I taught in during my practicum experiences; all the students I worked with loved the opportunity to spread some anonymous kindness in their respective classrooms.
This is how FGF works (in my experience, anyhow): During advisory block in the morning I hand out slips of blank paper to all students. My students write their name on the slip of paper and return back to me; I then redistribute the slips of paper, ensuring each student receives a person (kind of like “Secret Santa”, if you will). The FGF notes are to be written to the person students are “assigned”, but left anonymous. Once all notes are written, I collect them and keep them at my desk until the end of the day. During my lunch break I read through the FGF notes and rewrite any that are not the kindest of messages. At the end of the school day, right before the bell, I make a big deal about handing out the FGF messages. It’s the best part of the day (for me and the students!) because I get to send them off on their weekends with smiling faces and they get to kick start their weekends knowing they did a kindness to someone in their immediate community (plus, they get to read nice things people have to say about them). Win-win.
Unfortunately, I have had to rewrite FGF notes a few times, but my note rewriting has ended up being a learning experience for my students in the form of a class conversation about what makes a true FGF message. For example, we talk about the seriousness of this activity and the amazing impact a thoughtful, meaningful message can have on a person. I have mentioned to students in the past that we might not be the best of friends with everyone in our class, and that is okay, but we CAN be friendLY to one another; therefore, I should not hear any groaning when students are assigned someone who is not their friend. In the past we have also talked about what a deep, meaningful message is. For example, “You have cool shoes” is not deep and meaningful, but “I think your shoes are cool and I think your personal style is unique; you are a true individual!” is slightly more meaningful. I know it might take some students a while to get to the point where they can eloquently articulate their kind comments…but trust me, TRUST THEM and GUIDE THEM with quality examples and they will get there!!
My beloved mentor and former teacher, Cathy Faust, (mentioned at the beginning of this post) initiated FGF in our Friday classes for the entire semester when I was in grade 11. I remember thinking I wanted to be a teacher just like her when I grew up. I wanted to love and inspire my students and guide them with positive opportunities to make meaningful change in the world around them. Cathy left FGF as her legacy and I feel it is my responsibility to carry on her legacy in my own teaching practice, so that’s precisely what I do. I love it!