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Creating Happy Classrooms

As teachers, we know walking into a classroom full of happy students makes our jobs so much easier. When the students are happy, they are more motivated learners and work more efficiently through their tasks. But what can we do to make our classrooms as happy as possible? We have five inspiring tips for creating happy classrooms at your school.

Learn about your students

The best way to have happy students walk in your classroom door is to show them you are invested in them as people. A great way to do this is to learn about them. You could do this by asking simple questions such as how their day was or what class they are heading off to next. When the kids know you are invested in them and their progression, they are more likely to be happy in your class, and consequently, they are likely to be more motivated learners as well.

Recognise your students’ good work

Students love it when you recognise their efforts, and it makes them happy and eager to continue working hard in your class. There are a couple of good ways to recognise the cherubs’ work. The first way to do this is with a prize box. Your students will love working towards prizes, especially if your prize box contains useful and exciting items such as stationery, stickers, fun little items you can pick up cheaply like keyrings and in subjects like Food Technology, you could give them cooking utensils. If you are worried about spending a fortune, consider having a class tally sheet or sticker chart so students need to work towards the prize over a number of weeks.

Another good recognition strategy is to hang examples of students’ good work on the wall of your classroom. This can be implemented in any classroom regardless of which subject you teach. If you are a teacher of a practical subject, take photos of your cherubs’ wonderful prac work and place them on the classroom wall. If your classes are more theory based, you can still showcase the students’ good work. You could have an achievement folder, which contains great assessment tasks, essays and exam results. These will act as motivators for students, who will aim to become part of the achievement wall or folder and, of course, they will feel a sense of satisfaction once they do so.

Make complimenting each other the norm

Complimenting other people is seemingly becoming less common, so why not make it the norm for students in your happy classroom? There are some simple ways to get the cherubs to say nice things to one another. You could introduce a compliment jar to your classroom. Ask the kids to write something kind about one of their classmates on a slip of paper then have them place the compliment in the jar. Every once in a while, choose a compliment to read out to the class. You can do this anonymously if you think it is more appropriate.

Another way to increase compliments in the classroom is to have students place a piece of paper on their backs. Get the students to write something nice on another student’s back. Once the cherubs read what their classmates have said about them, they will not only learn something about themselves, but they will also receive a dopamine boost.

Play music

The cherubs love listening to music, so why not use it to create a happy classroom? Choose appropriate times to play some music to your students such as when they are working independently. You could even personalise the music by creating individual playlists for your classes. You can simply ask your students what their favourite songs are and add them to a playlist on Spotify. You can play this playlist whenever appropriate. The focus and inspiration the music brings to the students can make them feel happier. A little hint though, check the songs for swearing or inappropriate content before playing them.

Change up the routine

Changing up the routine can also help to create happy classrooms. The cherubs often don’t like sitting at their desk every time they walk into the classroom, so changing that up every now and then does wonders for their positivity in class. Consider splitting them up for group work on occasion. Alternatively, you can offer them a choice in individual activities, this way they can tailor their learning to what they like, which will make them more motivated and happier to learn.

Also, kids love games, so why not use them to change up the routine? While we don’t want to be whipping out the scrabble and monopoly all the time, you could incorporate syllabus content into your games. If you’re not sure how to do this, you could check out the range of educational games Teacher Professional Development has on offer. Take a look at your subject category in High School Resources to see the available games.

Why not use these five tips to create happy classrooms at your school? A happy class means happy teachers, which is something we all deserve. ?

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