Another school year is about to begin. All those bright, smiley faces will soon be focused on you and you want to make sure the year starts positive and stays positive. Hopefully, you'll be blessed with a class where staying positive is easy. But chances are, there will be some days when it will be a challenge to keep that positive attitude. That's why you need a tool box of ideas.
Here are a few suggestions for when you're having a difficult time tapping into that positive attitude.
1. Positive language is important. When you feel those negative words bubbling to the surface, take a deep breath and then close your mouth! It's okay to tell the student, "We'll continue this discussion later." It's better to take a few minutes to regain your positivity than to let hurtful words find their way into the conversation.
2. Avoid negative places. Negativity is contagious. How many times have you heard others griping and complaining and before you know it you've joined right in. If you're having a challenging day you need to choose a positive place for your break. That might not be the teacher's lounge. Instead why not invite a few other teachers to join you in your classroom for a more relaxing lunch. Talk about your weekend plans, your latest shopping excursion or the latest movie you've seen. Try to get your mind away from the challenges you know will be returning to your classroom after lunch.
3. Be flexible and be fun! If you're having one of those days where nothing is going the way you planned, throw those plans out the window! Be flexible enough to switch gears when the students are restless and can't stay focused. Have a few go-to games or activities you can play with the whole class to give them (and you) a break. One of my favorites is taking the class outside to read. It's quick, easy and kids can always benefit from more reading time.
4. Give students choices. When a student is not making wise choices on their own you should give them two choices. Make sure they are choices that are incompatible with inappropriate behavior. For example, when a student is bothering others in her group give her two choices: You can work at this empty desk or at the library table. Don't make the choices punitive, like take your work to the office to finish. Also, make sure the choices are ones you can live with for the rest of the day.
5. Let your students tell you how they're feeling. Many times kids are having a bad day because of things outside of school and many times outside of their control. What they need is someone who will listen. If you can't listen at that moment let them know you want to hear what they have to say, and ask if they'd like to schedule some private time with you. Most will love the idea of being able to spend some special private time with you. For older students I might ask if they'd like some time to write me a letter. This lets me return to my teaching and they get some quiet time away from the lesson to express their feelings on paper. When the letter is finished I'll read it and spend time with the student.
5. Our class is the best because . . . Sometimes we just need to be reminded of all the good things. Take a break and ask your students to write down what they love the most about the class. Then gather in a circle and share their responses. That little positive circle can do wonders at turning around a trying day.
My last piece of advice is to add a
little SPARKLE to your classroom.
This tool box is full of positive incentive ideas to help you maintain a positive and productive classroom.
SPARKLE stands for . . .
Highlights of what you'll find in the SPARKLE Tool box:
Students choose a reward and then earn punches on their card for positive behaviors.
The Gnome Patrol is on the look out for desks that are neat and organized. Students can be nominated for recognition when other students see them SPARKLE-ing.
Students will love getting individual recognition for their positive behaviors as they collect brag tags. 32 different tags are included which cover character traits, academic achievements and positive behaviors. There are also 8 blank tags so you can customize your bragging! The tags are ink friendly, cute and motivating without using so much color ink.
The Tool box also has an editable class reward page. You can choose a reward your class would like, type it in, print it and let the kids start earning the sparkle stars for the reward.
For those of you who like the behavior clip charts the Tool box has a design your own chart. You can choose the frame, add the phrase you want to create your own clip chart.
To get a better idea of the SPARKLE Tool Box, you can download this free sample.
|Click on image to download the free sample.|
I wish you all a year full of SPARKLE!