Tuesday, September 20, 2016

5 Quick & Easy Ways To Make Your Classroom Joyful

5 Quick & Easy Ways To Make Your Classroom Joyful by A Word On Third


As you get to know your class this year, I want to remind you how important it is to remember to stop and smell the roses. Positively reinforce all of the good things happening in your room! I just spent 10 minutes sending out some positive emails to families, and I am glad that I did. It's important to me to build relationships with students and their families. That is the glue that will hold us together this year, so it's an easy investment to make. In the spirit of joyful classrooms, here are a few quick things you can do to keep things cheerful and positive in your classroom.


1. Remember your students' contributions to discussions.
Did a student make a thoughtful contribution to a class discussion? Bring it up with the class later if it's relevant if you can. For example, during
tomorrow's writing lesson, I might say, "Yesterday, Maureen shared that she tries to start off her pieces with a thoughtful lead. She shared that she does that by starting with dialogue. Today I'm going to teach you how to use dialogue in creative ways in your writing!" When someone says something cool, share it... especially if it connects to the next day's work. Even if it's just reminding the kids of the previous day's work before launching into a new lesson, you will see some proud students if you try to do this!


2. Send home positive emails.
I've shared about this countless times in the past, and it's because I REALLY believe in this. Send home a few positive emails each day. In a week or two, you've reached everyone in the class. It's important that your first contact home is a positive one. This is one of many ways to show families and students that you are on their team. You don't have time to be sending home short novels to families, so keep the emails short and sweet (and honest!). Four or five sentences is more than enough. The last sentence is always something like, "Feel free to share this email with (child's name)." Now the child will be excited about the recognition too! Read more about ways to build relationships with families here.



3. Get your kids moving.
I love GoNoodle, which I shared about in this post. More movement breaks = more fun and ultimately, more engagement during lessons. Sometimes it's a good moment for you to stop and regroup. I like having 60 seconds to change chart paper for a lesson, but I also actually really enjoy moving with my kids during brain breaks.



4. Give kids tangible ways to celebrate good work.
Write little notes to the kids that give them a shout out for awesome choices. I have a freebie for this in my store, so click the picture above to download it! There's colored and black-and-white versions with 4 happy notes per page. On the provided space, write exactly what kids did well. Be specific. Remember to praise the process just as much as the product. "You worked hard to write long and strong during writing today," is just as meaningful as, "You finished a story in writing today!" I think it's important to praise academic and social/emotional choices and successes.


5. Make time for Morning Meeting every day.
This is how I start my day, and it just injects more joy into the day than I can possibly explain. It's my favorite part of the day. I have tons of posts on Morning Meeting, all of which you can read by clicking here. Remember, Morning Meeting can be done in 15 minutes. If you make time for it, it's worth it. Maybe to fit this in, you might take part of your kids' morning work out (editing a daily language sheet) and focus on that skill during the morning message component of meeting. Whatever you do, it's worth it. There are ways to make Morning Meeting even shorter than 15 minutes if need be. I prefer dedicating a solid 15 to 20 minutes to it, but a short meeting is way better than no meeting. This is a quick, easy part of your day which makes an impact on your whole night. Click that link I provided above and you will have everything you need to start implementing meetings in your classroom.


That's all for tonight. Now it's time to get back to preparing for Back To School Night. I'm using a presentation which I've made available in my store. I've got very little to set up since it's pretty much all done.  If you still need a plan for Back To School Night, read more about it by clicking here or clicking the picture below.



I'm finally feeling like I'm getting into the swing of things this year. Are you? This weekend I'm spending some time away from classroom work. I'm taking Mr. Word On Third on a surprise date this weekend, and I'm recording a video of me teaching for my POP Pilates evaluation. If all goes well, I will be a certified POP Pilates instructor really soon! What are you up to this weekend? Are you in the zone yet? Comment below!

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