2. Practice gratitude daily - There are many ways you can bring gratitude to your classroom. (Check out The Up Jar for one awesome way.) Make gratitude a daily practice. Give students an opportunity to thank each other for their contributions in the lesson and make sure you thank them too. Reflect on your lesson by making a gratitude list (either in your chronicle or just in your head). Eg. Today I was grateful that John asked Alice to work with him. Today I was grateful that the technology worked! Today I was grateful the Katrina actually made it to class for the first time this week. Today I was grateful for the effort Lauren applied when completing her written work. You will start seeing your students in a new light.
3. Use music as a way to set the tone of your classroom - If you walk past my classroom you will often hear music seeping through the door. If I want my students to be energetic and full of life for the lesson I will play upbeat music as they enter the classroom. If I want my students to be calm and focussed, the music they hear as they enter let’s them know this. Classical music signals that they need to write quietly, mellow music is used to accompany serious group discussion. I have music for all moods, all occasions and all classes on my computer waiting to be played whenever I need it. I also get students to make music suggestions (things they like or listen to), which forces me to expand my library and gives me another way to connect with them. Of course there is time for silence and listening too. My all time favourite thing to do though is have a dance break. Yes, a dance break. When my students have been working really hard, have hit a creative wall or need to a moment to reconnect with each other we dance…. dance = joy.
4. Create a space that brings out their happy - Make the environment a space they like coming to and don’t want to leave. Decorate with bright colours, inspiration and your students work, A space that brings out happiness, celebrates creativity and oozes life will help your students feel happy, be creative and ready themselves for learning. Where would you rather be - a brown brick classroom with desks in rows and a whiteboard up the front or a colourful, collaborative space that celebrates learning and creativity? Primary teachers are great at this, but secondary teachers generally need to step it up!
5. Build in student choice - When students have a choice about how they learn, what they learn about and who they learn it with, then I find they a much happier. Yes we are governed by curriculum, but there are ways to creatively differentiate tasks and build in student choice. Check out the Learning Matrix for some starting ideas. It also forces students to take responsibility for their own learning and establish self-directed practices that will assist them long-term.
If you would like to contribute 5 ways that you bring joy into your classroom I would love to hear from you. Please email me or comment below.