#1: Celebrating birthdays
I am terrible about celebrating birthdays. This goes for my personal life (sorry, friends) and even more so in my professional life.
Last year, Laurie Clarcq did a presentation in Comprehensible Online about classroom culture and it was so chock full of ideas that I was instantly inspired and overwhelmed. I decided to pick one thing that I felt that I could manage, and made a plan to do it. That one thing was celebrating birthdays in class. Laurie modeled how she has kids give each other compliments when it is their birthday.
While idly browsing someone else's blog (and I have no idea to whom it belonged, sorry!) I found this AMAZING free resource on TeachersPayTeachers, which is basically a starter for birthday compliments. It is SO good that I did not edit it at all. I just printed it up (half size, to better fit in interactive-ish notebooks) and passed it out to the kids.
That was the easy part.
|Write the birthdays down in a book.|
|Dollar store score!|
When it is a student birthday, I ask the kid whether they would like us to write or speak our compliments. Either way, the whole class gets out their compliment starters (that are in the back of their notebooks) and a whiteboard. They have a few minutes to think and write.
If we are speaking, I just take my phone and film each kid as they read what they wrote. If we are writing, the kids line up the whiteboards and I film myself reading them.
I wish I could measure the impact this has had on my classroom this year, but it is impossible to separate it from everything else. Suffice it to say that I feel like this is the best year ever as far as classroom culture and classroom management. This has got to be a big part of it, and the joy in the room is palpable.
I love my job!