Once you have received letters from all the parents, take some time to read each letter and learn about the unique character, desires, needs and talents of each child. Reading these letters at least once, if not regularly, will help you see each child in a different light. Write an introduction letter. Get to know your students and let them get to know you through introduction letters. Write a letter telling your students about yourself, your likes, your hobbies, loves and aspirations. For their first assignment, have students write a letter about themselves for you.
Create an Internet Meme. Internet memes are a fun and effective way for communicating important expectations, rules and concepts with students without coming off mean or overbearing. They can include media, catch phrases, jokes and funny images. Lean on Your Colleagues. Being a good teacher and creating a positive learning environment takes a lot of work—so don't go at it alone. Reach out to other teachers, educators and people who will support you, build you up and who have been successful at creating positive learning environments. Plan for the Future, Live in the Moment.
As you work toward creating a positive learning environment for your students, stay focused on the present. Creating a positive working environment is a process, it won't happen over night. Don't get so caught up with the end goal that you are not able to savor the moment.
- Three Religious Rebels.
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- Nazi War Trials (Pocket Essential series).
Get Students Involved in the Process. Creating a positive learning environment should involve all your students. Have students help decide how to design the room , where pictures should go, what pictures should be used, etc. Allow them to take ownership of their learning environment. Create a Creative Bookmark.
Create a laminated bookmark with your contact information on it. This is a fun way to invite your students to stay in touch with you. Include your email address, school web page URL or any other info you want students to have at their finger tips. Create a Classrom Newsletter. Having your class develop a newsletter is a great way to keep students engaged, entertained and parents involved.
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But don't you do it! Have your students do it. Make your newsletter a student driven project and you'll engender a positive classroom learning environment. Connect Using Social Media. Social media can be a great way for teachers to connect with students—especially given the propensity that kids have these days to access social media. Take pictures of class projects, awards, activities and events and post them on instagram for kids and parents to enjoy. Or maybe you can set up a class twitter account to keep students and parents up to date on what's going on in the classroom throughout the year.
Create a Blog. Create and maintain a classroom blog.
This is another great way to keep students and teachers up to date and involved in what's going on in the classroom. It's also a great place to post upcoming projects, guidelines, study guides and resources for students and parents. Keep it Green. Use digital technology to decrease reliance on paper products and to facilitate online communication between teachers and students, and their parents.
Much of what was traditionally communicated using paper can now be communicated digitally online using Twitter, Facebook, or a class web page. Going digital saves time, is more effective than paper which can be lost , foster a positive learning environment, and protects our world's environment. Start with Relationships. As tempting as it is to get a headstart on academics, keep the focus of the first day of school on establishing relationships and building a sense of community within your classroom.
Let each student know that the most important part of their education is them.
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Do some team building activities. Show students that they are valued for their contribution. There will be plenty of time to focus on academics tomorrow. Be Enthusiastic. Be enthusiastic! Let your students know that you're excited to be there and that you're excited they're there. Everything you say or do the first week of school should communicate your enthusiasm for the new school year.
Give feedback to individuals when needed to address their own performance or learning. Individual feedback makes students feel valued and is motivating. Feedback to groups or the whole class is appropriate when most of the class is missing a concept or needs reinforcement. Content Feedback content may vary in focus, function, clarity, specificity, and tone. It is important that feedback is descriptive and specific enough to be valuable to the student and provide them direction. At the same time, feedback should not be "overly nitpicky" and correct every single error.
Feedback should always be delivered in a nonjudgmental and positive way. Instructors should choose words that convey support and respect. Feedback should be clear and instructors should verify that the student understands the feedback.
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Best feedback is criterion referenced - that is, it references a specific concept or skill and tells the student where they stand in relation to mastery of that concept or skill. It does compare them other students.
Rubrics are often an effective way to let students know where they stand in regards to mastery of content. Suggested Readings Black, P. Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Granada Learning. Brookhart, S. How to give effective feedback to your students. Cross, K. Feedback in the Classroom: Making Assessment Matter. Oliver, R.
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Age differences in negotiation and feedback in classroom and pairwork. Language Learning , 50 1 , Walvoord, B. Closing the feedback loop in classroom-based assessment. What's more, they are not a luxury or a frill: we ignore the power of emotions at our peril. When we dismiss the effects—both positive and negative—that emotions have on learning, we make our jobs much harder for ourselves.
A bounty of research outlines the impact emotions have on learning. Stress, for example, has a significant negative effect on cognitive functioning Medina, As a result, we need to prepare ourselves with an arsenal of strategies that inoculate our students against the power of negativity.
By providing enough positive experiences to counteract the negative, we can help students avoid getting stuck in a "negative spiral" Fredrickson, , which can be set off by something as seemingly innocuous as a critical comment from a peer or a stressful test moment. Being caught up in negative emotions in this way impairs learning by narrowing students' focus and inhibiting their ability to see multiple viewpoints and solve problems.
This publication is not a cheat sheet, a "happyology" manual, or a Band-Aid that will fix that distressed kid and send him to a magical haven of learning. Instead, it is a guide to simple routines, strategies, and structures that take little time to implement yet yield immeasurable results. Creating a positive environment produces a powerful ripple effect that continually enhances learning: when students can see the humor in their mistakes, celebrate their successes, and feel empowered as change agents, they will actively engage in learning and, consequently, learn more effectively.
Far from promising easy solutions and instant results, these strategies will increase students' capacity to tolerate the discomfort that comes with working hard and to accept that there are no easy answers—that only critical thinking and perseverance lead the way to mastery. The principles and strategies that follow will help you evaluate the challenges you face in the classroom and address them by infusing your practice with positive elements like humor, novelty, and fascination.
The first step is to examine the current state of your learning environment and assess how effective it is. Take a day or two to be an observer in your own classroom, or invite a colleague to partner with you in reciprocal classroom observation.
It is helpful to conduct at least two observations: one on a day when you perceive things to be going smoothly and another during a high-stress period when you feel particularly overwhelmed—for example, around testing or report card time. Obviously, if you're working alone, you can't just stop teaching to observe your class, but take a step back whenever possible and record what you see for a technology-assisted boost, film the class period. Then answer the following questions:.