Updated: Nov 2
In this big world of ours, we are all wanting to feel some form of connection. That being said, it is exactly the same for the students in our classes.
Working towards establishing a positive classroom community helps students feel connected and valued by their peers and teacher. When students feel part of an inclusive community, it can attribute to feelings of self-worth, willingness to be their authentic selves, taking risks, and further develop their social skills.
It takes time to build a positive classroom community, and you will find there are certain activities that work better for you than what works for another teacher. So, be open to try new things and discover what best suits you and the students in your care.
Remember, how you interact with your class, the routines you have in place and behaviour management strategies you use will all contribute to your class community.
Be conscious of the words you speak with your class. Can you take a negative situation and use it as an opportunity to work together, focus on the positives and learn from the situation?
Of course, there will be times where ‘Negative Nancy’ rears her head, but those tough-love conversations with students are also important and necessary, plus nobody is perfect.
Below we have put together a list of ideas to try to establish a positive classroom culture:
1. Creating a door display or wall display with all your students' names.
2. Greeting students individually each morning, e.g. high five, hug, elbow tap.
3. Consider how you arrange the desks. Small groups encourage discussion. A horseshoe encourages whole-class discussion. Mix it up and find what works for your cohort.
4. Establish positive classroom expectations.
5. Try meditation and mindfulness activities. Smiling Mind is a great free app to help you.
6. Encourage class journaling. If you need prompts our Rainbow Affirmation Display includes 30 journaling suggestions.
7. Create rituals, such as the quote of the week, joke of the day, affirmation of the day, morning fitness/yoga.
8. Have a star of the week, PA of the Day, VIP of the day.
9. Have a class mascot or a class song. The class mascot could go home with a different student each weekend or be known to cause havoc for a month when the kids go home in the afternoons, like Elf on the Shelf.
10. Create a class wall that students can add to with motivational posters, photographs, artwork, or shout-outs to peers.
Grab some free motivational posters here.
11. Host daily or weekly class meetings to encourage students to share and learn new things about each other, as well as a forum to discuss any class concerns and/or successes.
Read more about these positive pegs here.
12. Celebrate student wins no matter how big or small.
13. Celebrate special events organised at the school and consider creating your own, such as Fun Friday or Milo Monday during the winter months.