A positive classroom culture can be the difference between your students succeeding or falling behind.
Establishing this culture early on in the school year is incredibly important, but no matter when you make the changes, always strive to improve the learning environment in your room.
Here are three ways you can create a positive classroom culture.
So the first thing we need to consider is safety. A lot of teachers tell me that safety is easy for them to accomplish because they’re already placed in safe schools. Now that might be true, because I’m sure you don’t allow weapons, and I’m sure that you teach students how to act responsibly with each other and make sure that everyone’s comfortable.
However, safety also has to do with how you’re moving around your classroom. So something you need to consider, as the class begins, is how are your students able to move around the room without tripping over anything or breaking anything.
So really looking around and ensuring “hey, where’s the walk path, how would I like them to move” and then practicing that at the beginning of the year. This doesn’t mean you have to be the mean teacher that doesn’t smile until December. I smile all the time. But you also want to make sure that students know your expectations early on so that then they’re able to do really well when you’re focusing more on their learning experience and less on the day to day grind of moving around a room. That’s something they already can know how to do.
Promote Positive Learning
The next thing I want to focus on is how are you promoting positive learning? And really, how are you teaching students how to fail? Because students are going to try in your classroom and it needs to be okay for them to get it wrong, because that’s learning. If we got it right every time, then it would be too easy, and we’re not doing our job well.
Our students use clapping, all the time. If they hear something that a peer says, that they’re proud of, or thinks needs to be celebrated, we practice clapping. Now, this doesn’t mean that it gets out of hand and clapping takes over the whole world and we don’t have time to teach a lesson. But we clap for 3 seconds. And then we stop. And then we move forward.
Now, we also practice how to clap. It’s actually a joke in my room. So we have to roll our shoulders back, our hands have to be above our desk, and we have to make sure we give some sort of smile. We are allowed to hoot and holler, but I have a loud classroom. So, depending on what you like, you may not want to do that. But we really like to celebrate that learning. It takes three seconds out of my classroom teaching, and makes sure that my students feel celebrated. It’s really valuable. My kids really like it.
The other thing I like to do for a positive classroom environment is that you really want to make sure that you provide students with opportunities to celebrate, not only their learning, but opportunities to also take a break from learning. Like a brain break.
So sometimes teachers use videos. Sometimes teachers do yoga or stretching opportunities. Something super easy is when you’re trying to calm your students down, doing a call and repeat. For me that means I call out a word and then the students respond with some sort of phrase.
Now I’ve seen this done a lot and one of the main things I want to make sure you do is to make sure there is some sort of action that goes with that phrase. Make sure it’s not just you saying something and the students looking down at their desk and not even really needing to look up, and just saying a word. Focus on how they are moving their body to ensure that they’re not only giving you attention, but that they stop what they were doing so they can hear you. This is something that’s easy to utilize when you’re in your classroom.
Take it and Run!
I hope that you take one of these things and run with it in your classroom! I’m so excited for the school year to begin. And although summer’s over, I am excited to meet my new students. So I hope you have a great rest of your day and if you have any questions, let me know. Happy to connect!