Self-Esteem Activities for Middle School Students

Instructor: Josh Corbat

Josh has taught Earth Science and Physical Science at the High School level and holds a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Want to help your students develop self-esteem? These activity ideas will go a long way in helping students think better of themselves. All of the activities can be modified to suit your students.

Take-Home Survey

Who is better at helping a child feel good about themselves than those at home? Create a short survey to send home with students. A parent, guardian, sibling, or any other non-peer can fill out the survey with positive things about the student. A few suggestions for questions to include in the survey are:

  • What is the best thing about your student?
  • What is your student good at? What skills do they have?
  • What is one great, unique thing about your student?
  • How does your student make you feel?

Send the survey home with an unsealed envelope. When the survey is completed, ask the taker to seal the survey in the envelope. Then, on the day the surveys are due, open them one at a time and read the responses without naming the student. Let students guess which student it is. Each student will have a moment in which they feel special, and they will have several reminders of what makes them great. NOTE: Be extra sensitive about students' home lives for this activity. If you are concerned that a student might not have someone to give the survey to, take appropriate action. You can fill out the survey, give it to a teacher they've had in the past, or even make a few phone calls to ensure the survey will be completed. For any surveys that are not turned in on the day they are due, make sure you fill in a survey for those students (which can be done on-the-fly as you read the others).

'What Makes Us Great' Bingo

Have students fill out a survey similar to the one in the activity above. You may actually want to do this at the beginning of the school year to help you get to know your students better. The survey will provide you with plenty of things that make each student special. Take these qualities and create a bingo board with each of them. Students can then walk around the room and find out which student is described by each quality. The first student to fill in their whole board wins a prize! This is both a great way to help students feel better about themselves and help students get to know each other better.

Guided Meditation

Although this one might sound a bit strange, it can actually help immensely when it comes to self-esteem. Put on some soft music, dim the lights if possible (don't turn them complete off for safety reasons), and in a soft voice, guide students through the process of relaxing and thinking positively about themselves. Ask them to softly repeat phrases like:

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