Instead of... "I've been watching you and noticed that you are a great tutor to your classmates.
Try... "I bet Sarah appreciates the help you gave her on her writing project. That's very generous of you.
Why: Focusing your praise on the good action, instead of on how you noticed it, ensures that children won't feel "spied upon."
Instead of... "Justin, you've made me really proud."
Try... "You deserve to feel proud of your achievement, Justin."
Why: "I'm so proud of you is a least favorite phrase with kids. Instead, encourage children to take pride in themselves.
Instead of... "Wow, Isabella, this poem is so beautiful!"
Try... "You've used so many sensory wintry details that your readers will need mittens."
Why: If you only say "great poem," your student won't ever know why it's good, and may even doubt you.
Instead of: "Eric, yours was the very best essay in class!"
Try... "Eric, I enjoyed reading your explanation of the Trojan War. You really pushed yourself."
Why: If it's not your goal to make students competitive with each other, don't couch praise in comparison.