Spatial Requirements: Regular classroom setup; little or no space required
Activity Type: Group
Grades: 5-12
Group Size: 5 or more
Time: 20 minutes

Introduction: Coming out of Rock Bottom moments can be easier when we are able to recognize our positive qualities. This activity allows students to think of the positive qualities in others as well as themselves. Note: Only implement this activity if your group has maturity and cohesion. Otherwise, you run the risk of students writing unkind things about the other students on the slips of paper. 


  • 1 empty toilet paper roll per student
  • Scotch tape
  • ½ piece of printer paper per student
  • 1 sheet of tissue paper per student
  • 2 pieces of gift tag ribbon per student
  • Slips of paper – as many as are in your class for each student
  • Writing utensil for each student
  • Scissors (optional)


Explain to students that sometimes when we are at a low point in life, it’s easier to be resilient when we can recognize our good qualities and the things that others appreciate about us.

Give each student a toilet paper roll, tape, ½ piece of printer paper, and the small slips of paper. Have students seal off one end of their toilet paper roll by taping the printer paper to it, creating a cylinder container. Each student should write their name in big, legible letters on the toilet paper roll.

The toilet paper rolls will now be passed around the room to each student in the class or group. When a student gets another student’s roll, they should write a positive trait or something they appreciate about that person on a slip of paper, then fold it up and put it in the roll before passing it on to the next student.

Make sure to emphasize the qualifier: Comments MUST be positive. Nothing goofy or hurtful should be written about any student. You may want to wander the room as students complete this portion of the activity to make sure students are only writing positive messages.

When the rolls have gone around the room, each student should have a toilet paper roll full of encouraging messages from each of his/her classmates. Encourage them to use any extra slips of paper to write down what they perceive to be their own positive traits and add these to the roll. They will now create their party cracker.

Distribute the tissue paper and gift tag ribbon. Have students roll their toilet paper roll in the tissue paper so there is an opening on each side. Students will then tie off both openings with the gift tag ribbon. You may also allow them to use scissors to curl the ribbon so it looks more “festive.”

Tell students that the next time they are having a bad day or a “Rock Bottom” moment, they can get a boost by opening up their party cracker and being reminded about their positive traits.

Processing the Experience:

  • How does it feel to have so many positive traits written about you by your classmates?
  • How did it feel to think about the positive qualities of your classmates?
  • When you can help another person see their positive qualities, can this help that person through a rock bottom moment? Why or why not?
  • During our own rock bottom moments, are we more likely to focus on the positive or negative? Why?
  • How can focusing on our strengths help us during rock bottom moments?
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