Visual Validation Notes

  • Situation

    There’s a student in my class who has difficulty whenever I have to deny or postpone one of his requests – like waiting to use the computer, or wanting to read the newest book in our classroom library. How can I help him understand that he’ll get the chance to do what he wants, but that he’ll need to wait awhile before he gets his wish?

  • Summary

    Visual Validation Notes provide affirmation of the student’s wishes when verbal discussion isn’t effective at helping him move past his request. The teacher jots down the student’s desire on a sticky note or index card then asks the student if he wants to hang onto it, or if he wants the teacher to put it on her bulletin board or desk to serve as a reminder for both of them. (i.e. “Max wants to use the computer after lunch today.”) Sometimes just seeing his wishes in writing helps the student understand that his request has been “heard”.

  • Definition

    Visual Validation Notes are a quick way to acknowledge the student’s desires by putting his request in writing, while also designating a time that his request will be honored.

  • Quick Facts

    • Child's Age: 6-10, 11-13, 14-17
    • Planning Effort: Low
    • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Pre-requisites

    post it notes, paper, index card

  • Process

    1. When the student makes a request that can’t be honored at that particular time, explain why he’ll need to wait while writing down his wish on a sticky note or index card.
    2. Add the time when his request will be honored on the note.
    3. Give the student the choice of keeping the note himself, or letting you post it somewhere to serve as a reminder to both of you
    4. Make sure to follow through with his request at the designated time to demonstrate your “credibility”, thereby increasing the power of this strategy for future use.


    Consultant/Author: Abby Martello, M.Ed.

  • Documents and Related Resources


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