Coming back from winter break can be tough on both students and staff, it feels a bit like hitting the reset button on procedures and behavior. But, that first week back to school can also offer a fresh, positive start!
Start the new semester off right by offering behavioral support to your staff. We’ve created a Classroom Culture Checklist for you. It’s a quick walk-through that checks classroom expectations; behaviors and relationships; and praise and consequences – the building blocks of a positive classroom culture.
Three tips to help start the new year off right:
1. Ensure that teachers have their classroom expectations/rules posted where all students can see them. It’s important to make sure as students head back in to the classroom that teachers take time to re-teach their expectations/rules and procedures. It is easier to reteach/review than it is to correct and it is inevitable that students will need a refresher after all the hustle and bustle and time away.
Posting expectations/rules, procedures, and skills where students can see them throughout the classroom serves as a simple reminder for students throughout the day.
We also recommend having your students help write a class motto and other procedures! Involving the students helps to improve buy-in!
2. Encourage teachers to greet students as they enter the classroom. We’ve all seen those great videos online of a teacher or a student greeting each child as they enter the classroom, either with a “Hello! How are you doing this morning?” or a fist bump.
The first week back to school after winter break is a great time to implement this strategy. You never know how each student spent their break, coming back to class may be the best thing that could have happened to them. Greeting each student as they enter the class for the day will remind them that they are seen, they are welcome, and they were missed.
For a building wide approach, have your kindness club greet students as they enter the building in the morning before classes begin.
3. Encourage intentional or skill-focused praise. It’s so easy to say “Greg, you did a great job today,” or “Cindy, I appreciate you.” But, to reinforce positive behaviors, it’s important to offer intentional and specific praise. For example, “Rebecca, thank you for showing respect to our visiting guest,” or “Steven, I noticed that you followed instructions and put your pencils in your desk before heading out to recess. Great job!”
For more ideas on intentional and effective praise, check out this staff meeting kit.
Creating a plan to promote a positive culture throughout your school will take time. With the right steps in place, both your staff and students will be happier – and ready to tackle the new semester in no time.