Making Your Classroom a More Positive Place

In episode 13 of The 5-Minute MishMash, I share 5 tips to bring some more positivity into your classroom. You can listen to the show here…

And read the transcript here…

  • Trick number 1: Be a Never-ending Tsunami of Positivity. Just start saying positive things as often as you can. Anything positive at all. I love being here. This is fun. What a great day. I love learning. What a cool bunch of kids. Epic. Awesome. Amazing. Do you ever have kids react in a way that shows a bad attitude? Like if you say, take out your math books, some kids might groan? The best way to combat these inappropriate reactions is for you to be a tsunami of positivity.
  • Trick number 2: Talk to Kids Privately about misbehavior. When students misbehave, don’t correct them publicly. Find an opportunity to bend down, look them in the eye, and very calmly correct them for their poor choice. Let the student know that you believe in them, that you know they just made a mistake, didn’t do it on purpose, and that you want the best for them. No lectures. No shaming. Just a little positive pep talk. If a child is making a bad choice that must be dealt with immediately and publicly, then simply ask the student to stop very quickly and move on. Then address their poor choice in a face to face later. This will keep the positive climate strong in your room. Don’t let the negative choices of your students suck the positivity out of you as the class leader.
  • Trick number 3: Write Kids Nice Notes. Take 2 minutes every day to write a simple little nice note to one or two students. Leave the note in a hiding place where the student will find it. Everyone loves getting mail. How can kids disrespect you or defy you if you’ve written them really nice notes?
  • Trick number 4: Be ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’. The Chicken Soup for the Soul series of books is well-known for stories of human triumph. Be a walking Chicken Soup book for your students. Tell stories of inspiration to your class as often as possible. If you don’t have your own stories to tell about students or friends, dig up a few from a Chicken Soup book or from the Internet. Everyone loves stories, and telling positive anecdotes about former students (or even current students) will inspire them to excel. Your kids will want to be the focus of your next positive story. By doing this you are valuing goodness and making it so loud that the negative gets drowned out.
  • Trick number 5: Let kids overhear you bragging about them. Your students will live up to whatever they think your opinion is of them. One of the most powerful ways to pump your kids up is to “accidentally” let your kids overhear you telling a colleague, the principal, some parents, or other students something incredible about them. When kids think it’s an accident, they’re more likely to believe it. They won’t want to disappoint you so they’ll really be motivated to be the best version of themselves possible.

And now for a little confession. This episode isn’t for you…it’s for me. I am not telling you what you should do. I’m reminding myself of what I need to do to turn around some negativity that I’ve allowed to creep into my classroom. Yes, these tricks are simple, but they’re also extremely difficult. I am far from perfect at implementing my own tricks and this episode is a reminder for me to get back to what works. Annnnd maybe they’ll help you as well.

I’d cherish your comments.

Published by

Tim Bedley

Tim Bedley has been teaching elementary school since 1988. He was recognized as the 2013 Riverside County Teacher of the year. Tim is also the founder of America's number one educational rock band, Rockin' the Standards. He also produces two podcast found on iTunes: The Bedley Bros. and The 5-Minute MishMash. Tim and his brother Scott are co-founders of Global School Play Day, a grassroots movement to promote unstructured play with today's youths.

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