I would like to simply share a brief story that has caused me a lot of reflection lately. My son is in kindergarten. In gym class, his gym teacher told him he was a champ, or called him champ recently.
He has literally talked for weeks about how his gym teacher thinks he's a champ. He has taken this to mean that he is great at gym, and he thinks he has to work extra hard to not let the gym teacher down, since the gym teacher thinks he's a champ!
As a teacher we often are reminded about the power of our words, and the fact that we are working with impressionable young kids. I think it is easy to lose track of this fact, in the day to day shuffle. This has been a big reminder to me of the power of our words.
Remind your students that they are champs! Don't be afraid to compliment them! And be thoughtful about what you say, because you don't know the impression it will leave.