A positive environment in the classroom leads to endless results in all other areas. Positivity sets a tone of caring, good character, and mutual respect in the classroom. Here is one way that I strive to keep the positive meter overflowing in my classroom:
Students love to feel important. With thirty-four students in my classroom, it is often hard to compliment or say something kind to every student every day. To ensure all students are getting a little something every now and then, I write post-it notes to my students. I try to find a thematic pack (apples for beginning of the year, hearts in February, etc.) and then make sure to address students by their name of choice (some of my kids like to use nicknames in the classroom, which makes the note even more meaningful). On the post-it I try to write something nice about them. It could be about something I noticed from the day before, “I love how hard you tried on that math problem yesterday. Keep up the excellent work!”, or it could be just a kind word, “Your smile brightens up my day. Thank you for sharing it with us today!” What I love most is seeing the expression on their face when they read it. Students feel so special. I’ve even had kids tape their notes to the inside of their binders. It’s a sweet, quick, and easy way to let your students know that they matter.
How do I keep track of who has received a post-it note and who hasn’t? In the past, I have used a class list and would give a student a check once they received a post-it. Now I keep track by using ClassDojo. I have a custom behavior that I click every time I give a student a post-it note, giving me immediate information on who still needs a note!
Invitation to students
Another addition I added over the years was the idea that students could write kind notes to each other. This was even more meaningful because students took the lead in empowering each other. How awesome to come into a classroom where kids were complimenting their peers, in writing! It was such an inspiring and heartfelt moment as a teacher.
The power of kindness conquers all in the classroom. Children learn from each other and care greatly about recognition. If you’re thinking of incorporating some new ideas into your classroom next year, consider this to be one of them!