It is every parent or carer's dream that their child will be excited to go to school every day - so what can a teacher do to make this happen? Aside from brilliant teaching (which we are sure all of our Letterland teachers provide), a vital component of a child's school experience is to have a positive, kind and welcoming classroom environment.
We've got a couple ideas on how you can create a positive environment (for both virtual and face-to-face classrooms) - read on to find out more!
Compliment circles are a great way to allow your students to compliment each other in an inclusive way. Before beginning this activity, make it clear what counts as a 'compliment' and give a couple of examples.
Ask all of the students to sit in a circle with their legs stretched out, facing inwards. To keep inline with social distancing guidance, you may find that this is a good activity to take outside so your students can really spread out!
Ask one of your students to choose another student (encourage them not to just choose their best friends) and give them a compliment.
Once a student has been complimented, they should cross their legs, then pay a compliment to another student. Continue this until all the students have received a compliment and crossed their legs!
Whilst teaching your students via video call, use the same principles of the compliment circles but using another visual indicator as to who has been complimented and who has not been. You may want all of your students to hold something up to the camera (e.g. raise their hand, hold up a piece of paper or card), then lower it once they've been complimented. You may even want to use the virtual 'raised hand' feature on platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
Once you've finished the compliment circle, ask your students how the activity made them feel. When they give positive responses, encourage them to continue complimenting their fellow students, friends and family members!
This activity is similar to the compliment circles but allows students to compliment lots of the other students in their class! Again, make it very clear what counts as a 'compliment' and set out some rules for the activity. Doing this in a face-to-face classroom environment can also be a great handwriting practice activity.
COVID-19 warning: The nature of this activity may mean it is not appropriate for face-to-face teaching during your current academic year as it involves passing pieces of paper from student to student.
Download our 'Do Something Nice' pdfs and print out enough compliment sheets to give one to each student. Asking each student to write their name beneath 'Say something nice about...' then get the students to pass their sheets around their classroom/group. Each student should write a compliment on the sheet they receive, meaning all your students end up with a sheet full of compliments about them!
During class or as 'homework' ask your students to privately send you a compliment for each member of their class (you may want to provide them with a list, so they don't forget anyone). Once you have received the compliments from everyone, you can collate the compliments for each student, and provide each one with a list of nice things that their fellow students have said about them!
You may want to send these to parents to read to their children, or read out the compliments during a virtual class.
Do Something Nice Stars
Either print out, or send your students, the 'Do Something Nice Star' from this free download. In each point of the star, ask your students to write something nice that they can do for someone else. Ask them to try and do one of the 'nice things' each week.
Every week, have a discussion with your class about what they did and how it made them feel to do something to help or make other people feel good. Be sure to praise them and tell them how proud you are!