- Celebrating is like a skill that gets easier with practice.
- Start by teaching students why and how we celebrate as a class by keeping a list of celebrations to share publicly each day or privately through a weekly personal journal.
- Celebrate students by sharing messages via email, communication apps like SeeSaw, Post-it notes, or on desks with dry-erase markers.
- Create a staff celebration board for in-person or virtual environments, provide opportunities to celebrate during faculty meetings, and celebrate progress on goals.
Inside and outside of the classroom, I live by the motto, “when we celebrate, we find more things to celebrate.”
I trust in the understanding that what I look for in my environment is what I will see. When I learned to fill my days with gratitude and celebrations, instead of someday and wishes, I was able to reignite my passion and purpose for what I do each and every day as an educator.
Essentially, when I started celebrating things in my life, even the little things became fun and exciting! When we celebrate, it’s an outward expression of what we have done, where our time was spent, and all we have accomplished. Celebrations can help us remember what we did so we can use the momentum to launch us forward into each new day!
As educators, we get the opportunity to help students learn the value of celebrations too, even at a young age. Students as young as kindergarten can celebrate! And for older students, this skill is essential at teaching self-awareness, self-confidence, and self-worth!
As adults, we can remind students of their successes each day through celebrations. One important thing to remember when it comes to celebrations is to recognize that not all students are ready for public celebrations yet. You can ask your students through a simple survey or conversation how it is they would like to be celebrated.
Whole Class Celebrations
For whole class celebrations, here are my top five recommendations.
- Teach celebrations! It’s important, as with any skill, that we teach the purpose and the why behind celebrating! Share the purpose first, and then share how we can celebrate and what it can look like.
- Use a special auditory or visual cue to indicate celebrations during the day.
- Finish each day recording a list of celebrations from the whole class or create an on-going list throughout the day and review before they leave.
- Have students create their own celebration journal and provide time each week to write personal celebrations.
- Celebrate efforts over the end product. No need to wait for celebrations! We can teach students how to break larger projects or goals into small, simple, and strategic steps. Then teach them how to celebrate each and every step they take along the way!
Individual Student Celebrations
- Send celebration emails to student accounts.
- Send messages to students on apps such as SeeSaw.
- Put Post-it notes in student cubbies or desks highlighting a successful moment.
- Write on students’ desks with a dry-erase marker to share a highlight of the day.
- Use a Google Form checkout at the end of the day for students to share a celebration privately.
In addition to teachers celebrating students, encourage students to celebrate each other! Students can end each day by sharing peer celebrations. By leaving a Post-it on their desk or sharing a message with a teacher on Google Meet or Zoom, you can be aware of what successful moments your students are celebrating![scroll down to keep reading]
Looking to boost morale among staff this year too? Here are three quick ways to increase celebrations!
- Create a celebration board for staff to share each day! If you are 100% remote, you can create a shared document as a virtual celebration board.
- Incorporate celebrations into faculty meetings! To increase participation, use the same question in each meeting. For example, “As a community, what are five wins from the week?” If the same question is asked every week, staff will start to come to the meeting with wins on their mind rather than staying quiet during the celebration moments!
- Ask staff what their personal goals are and celebrate progress throughout the school year.
Celebrations, like so many things, become easier with practice. Celebrating helps to keep us focused on the present moment and the forward momentum we have built by accomplishing the steps we’ve already taken. If you are new to celebrating, keep it small, simple, and strategic. Always remember to have fun!
About Lindsay Titus
Lindsay Titus is a K-12 Behavior Specialist with a license in behavior analyst. As a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Lindsay coaches and trains educators on the study of behavior and how to implement evidence based behavior principles in simple and easy ways! With experience as a classroom special education teacher, and behavior specialist in public schools, residential placement, and private settings, Lindsay enjoys working with all educators looking to reignite their passion for education, connect with all students, and conquer challenging behavior in any classroom setting.