Compliments Lesson Plan

As part of our 2nd grade social skills/friendship theme, we did a lesson on giving quality compliments. Without a stellar mentor text, we turned to Sesame Street. While the “short” version of this video focuses only on complimenting physical appearance, my co-counselor found this “extended” version that covers a broader variety of traits. We start the lesson by watching it:

And stop at a few points to ask:

  • What is a compliment?
  • What were some examples of compliments? Ask after each example – what KIND of compliment was this (outside vs. inside, physical vs. what’s in your heart… any wording you want)?
  • How did the compliments make Ernie feel?
  • Why did Bert say “well, they are all true!” before he walked away?

Then we move to the rug and make a bubble map of the different types of things we can compliment people on. This took a bit of prompting but most classes were able to give ideas in the areas of: appearance (pretty, clothes, shoes, etc), personality (nice, helpful, smart, funny), and skills/talents (sports, math, reading, video games).

Then we headed back to desks and projected some sentence stems and read them together.

Compliments lesson plan sentence stems

We tried two different things for our application activity:

Option A: Compliment Circle




  • Turn to person sitting next you, knee to knee, eye-to-eye.
  • Give that student a compliment.
  • Student responds by saying thank you, turns knee to knee to next person, repeats with the next person
  • Ask student what they noticed you doing, what they noticed their peer doing (saying thank you, listening, etc.),
    and what the rest of them were doing while you were giving a compliment


  • Go around the circle giving each student an opportunity to give and receive a compliment (using the sentence stems)


  • How did it feel to receive a compliment?
  • How did it feel to give a compliment

Option B: Compliment Chain

2nd grades Compliment Chain completed during our Compliments Lesson Plan

I’ll start of by saying this worked way better with my 3rd graders last year than with my 2nd graders this year. The essential idea was to give each student a strip of colored paper, have them write a quality compliment on it (using the sentence stems), and then make a paper chain with them. There’s a couple ways you can have the teacher “use” the chain later:

  • Students write hypothetical compliments (not to any specific student, but compliments that would be appropriate for a 2nd grade classmate). The teacher has students remove a link when a) they’re having a bad day and/or b) students can earn the opportunity to remove a link…and then they read the compliment and give it to someone who it fits! OR
  • Students are each given the name (secretly) of a classmate to write a quality compliment too on their strip for the chain. Teachers can have tons of options of how/when to decide to have these delivered.

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Hello, I’m Sara!

With 10 years of experience in
elementary school counseling,
I get to serve in a different way now
– by helping fellow counselors and

I value quality over quantity,
effective practices and resources,
and meeting the unique needs of all
our diverse learners.


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