Successfully reported this slideshow.
Your SlideShare is downloading. ×

32 Strategies for Building a Positive Learning Environment

Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Ad
Loading in …3
×

Check these out next

1 of 36 Ad

32 Strategies for Building a Positive Learning Environment

Download to read offline

These tips were contributed by the educators and parents of Edutopia’s community in response to our Start the Year Strong Sweepstakes. There were many amazing entries, and it was a challenge narrowing them down to these 32.

These tips were contributed by the educators and parents of Edutopia’s community in response to our Start the Year Strong Sweepstakes. There were many amazing entries, and it was a challenge narrowing them down to these 32.

Advertisement
Advertisement

More Related Content

Slideshows for you (20)

Similar to 32 Strategies for Building a Positive Learning Environment (20)

Advertisement

Recently uploaded (20)

Advertisement

32 Strategies for Building a Positive Learning Environment

  1. 1. 32 Strategies for Building a Positive Learning Environment from the Edutopia Community
  2. 2. Introduction There are many ingredients that go into making a positive learning environment. Three key ones are good relationships, clear communication, and trust between all participants. In this presentation you’ll find 32 strategies for building these three attributes. They were contributed by the educators of Edutopia’s community as part of our Start the Year Strong Sweepstakes. You can join Edutopia’s community at edutopia.org/community.
  3. 3. Break the Ice Tip: Participate in the first-day icebreakers “I always do silly icebreakers and team builders with my students to get them out of their comfort zone from the beginning and help the classes really mesh together. I participate when I can, so I build their trust and they can see a bit of the human side to me. The students love to be able to laugh with (and sometimes at) you!” —TulaczCan
  4. 4. Summer Recap Tip: Share your summer stories and ask students to share theirs “Be ready to share your summer stories. Plan ahead and make a Prezi, Animoto or class wiki to display for the class. It's a great way to introduce yourself and to build a rapport with your new class. This also shows students a productive and appropriate use of technology.” —kcaramat
  5. 5. Bragging Rights Tip: Ask parents to write an introduction for their child “On the first day I ask parents to send me an email or letter that tells me "in a million words or less" about their child. I always write or call thanking them for taking the time to do this. Some letters make me cry, some make me laugh until my sides hurt, some say only three words. But I read these letters at least once a quarter (sometimes weekly)...It helps me to see them in a different light and reminds me why I love going to work each day.” —trishl972
  6. 6. Pen Pals Tip: Write an introduction letter and ask for one in return “For all of my 30+ years, I have written my students a letter telling them about me. I ask the students to write me back for their first assignment. I always try to talk to each of them about something I learned from reading their letter.” —Cheryl P
  7. 7. About Meme Tip: Use humor and internet memes to explain rules and expectations “Each year I do up a quick slideshow that includes some things about myself (like hobbies and interests) and I include memes from the internet that has class and school rules. They always love it, I use grumpy cat with the title ‘when you are speaking while I am speaking.’ The kids get a kick out of it and its a relatable way to share the rules and expectations for the year.” —Margaret Anne
  8. 8. Reach Out Tip: Seek support from colleagues and fellow educators “This job is WAY too hard to do alone…Stay in touch with those who support and build you up! If those people are on Twitter, on blogs, in your school or in the Edutopia community, don't fall off the radar! Reach out and be a part of a larger teaching community, whether you join the conversation or just listen, you will find people who are having the same struggles and successes as yourself and they will build you up!” —Justin Aoin, Math Teacher, Greensburg, PA
  9. 9. Be Present Tip: Savor the sweet, gratifying teaching moments “Be present and savor that inner thought that says, "Yep, this is exactly why I became a teacher!" Remembering those moments will get you through the tough ones.” —Sarah Glazier
  10. 10. Creative Space Tip: Allow the students to help decorate your classroom “Instead of students walking into a classroom already decorated, allow the students to decide where to hang posters, pictures, etc. Give them some ownership over what the room looks like, and you start the year off with instant investment.” —Daniel Hendrix (Dhend017)
  11. 11. Student-Driven Tip: Have your students brainstorm topic and project ideas “To lay the groundwork for student-led discovery and learning we start the year by asking students what they want to learn and do. We do a brainstorming activity to get their ideas for projects...My job is then to integrate those ideas and requests into the curriculum -- which in science is absolutely possible!” —Anuradha Gupta (Ms. Anu), Washington, DC
  12. 12. A Page-Turner Tip: Create a clever take-home with your contact info “On Back to School night when I meet all of the parents, I am going to have a laminated bookmark for each of them with my contact information. This way they can keep in touch easily!” —Amy Coan
  13. 13. Going Green Tip: Go paperless using digital forms (like Google) “I use a Google Forms to collect parent demographic info, student interests, medical issues, etc….I can access it from anywhere [and] call or email parents any time I want. It really made beginning of the year paperwork so much easier!” —Mrs. Gillam, Third Grade Teacher, HI “Have your parent contact sheet done digitally. That way it's always at your fingertips, saves paper (go green!) and makes you look really cool!” —saleiterman, 8th Grade Science Teacher, Little Rock, AR
  14. 14. Newsworthy Tip: Have your students create a monthly newsletter to take home “My students do a class newspaper each month to keep parents involved and let them know what we are learning etc. The students have a sense of community that inspires them to do their best. Our class paper is called Tiger Times because our school mascot is a tiger. The students love it.” —Angela Fowler
  15. 15. Social Buzz Tip: Utilize a social media channel to connect with students & parents “I'll be creating an Instagram account for my class. I'm always snapping pictures anyway, and this will be an effective way to share the photos with students while having them think about what they've done in and outside of class.” —Ahlam
  16. 16. Social Buzz 2 Tip: Utilize a social media channel to connect with students & parents “Create a class twitter account and post photographs and descriptions of activities you are doing in the classroom. Parents don't need a twitter account to get updates! They can get updates sent directly to their phones through text messages (by texting your twitter handle to 40404). Parents can get an inside look into your classroom all year!” —Donna DiFilippo, Secondary Mathematics Teacher
  17. 17. Oh My Blog Tip: Create a classroom blog full of class and outside resources “Keep a classroom blog. This works well...as you may post celebrations of classroom successes, digital project guidelines/rubrics (preventing the excuse that a student lost the hard copy and the project is due!), study guides, links to classroom LiveBinders, and enrichment activities parents can do with their children...Many blogs are free and parents and students enjoy finding something new that relates to what is going on in their classroom.” —L. Krenicki, Middle School History Teacher
  18. 18. Remind Tip: Use the free app Remind to stay in touch “Use the free app Remind to increase and improve communication with your students' parents! It is safe; phone numbers are kept private. Send text messages, photographs, documents, PDFs to keep them informed. Remind is available as Android and iOS apps.” —Katherine B.
  19. 19. Let’s Get Digital Tip: Create a digital space online for all class materials “I would suggest digitization of all class materials, even if your school or district doesn't host a class web page or otherwise provide support for online resources. For example, teachers could expand their online reach by creating social media pages (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.) on which they can publish test and tutoring reminders, issue last-minute scheduling changes for projects or reading assignments, and answer homework questions one time for the benefit of all.” —arogers91
  20. 20. Valued Individuals Tip: Help each student feel like a valued part of the group “As much as teachers want to dive into content on the first day, we should always begin by establishing relationships and building community. There's plenty of time for teaching the material. Take the time to make a great first impression. Let them know that you value each student for what he/she has to offer. Do a team-building activity that gives each person a chance to contribute to the group.” —Michael Farabaugh, Chemistry Teacher, Charlottesville, VA
  21. 21. Share the Excitement Tip: Show your excitement! It will rub off on your students “Start the year enthusiastically. Let it show in everything you say and do that first week to your child/students. Smile, let them see you're glad to be back at school and that you're glad they're there with you.” —Richard Walker, Fifth Grade Teacher, Millbrae, CA
  22. 22. A Positive Mindset Tip: Strive to maintain an optimistic mindset “You must be committed to have a positive attitude throughout the year! Whether it be from students, parents, or colleagues, we can easily get bogged down; but keeping a great attitude will help you stay strong and have a successful year.” —Froggybek
  23. 23. Through a Parent’s Eyes Tip: Treat your students the same way you’d want your own kids to be treated “Every August, I take time to pause and reflect on what it was like to be Mom when my sons went off to school. My youngest has autism and I remember worrying about how the day would go for him...When I meet my new students, I hold onto that memory and try my best to treat each child the way I would have wanted my own sons to be treated. This has worked very well and puts me in a frame of mind to look for the positives that each child brings.” —Grace Clune
  24. 24. Find the Good Tip: Search for the best qualities in every student “Decide you are going to find the good in each and every student you have this year, and then make it a goal, for each and every day, to make someone's day.” —Mary Williams (williamsmary138), High School Chemistry Teacher
  25. 25. Nothing is Perfect Tip: Be forgiving and enjoy the possibilities “Remember that you and your students are only human. You can plan, map, and research all summer, but once those kids get in the room anything can happen. You don't have to have everything together on day one. This is one of our (teachers at least) favorite times of the year--when everything and everyone is brimming with possibility--so ENJOY IT!” —Amy Hirzel (TheWordyTeacher), Secondary English Teacher, OH
  26. 26. First-Day Memoir Tip: Have your students write a short first-day memoir “On the first day of school, I place a sticky note on my students' desks and have them write a 6-word memoir about their first day of 8th grade. We read each one and post it up on a poster board in the room. It gets them working, thinking, and sharing; plus, it instantly personalizes your classroom walls for your kids.” —Jaimie Dubuque
  27. 27. Start from Scratch Tip: Take the time to teach/reteach how-to’s “I know it sounds weird but...assume the students know nothing...No matter how much grumbling I get, we are going through lessons on: how to ask for and give help, how to share knowledge, how to work, how to collaborate...This idea came from an article entitled ‘The First 20 Days’ and I have to tell you that-- even with block scheduling in High School--this is working wonders and building the classroom of accountability, respect and rigor that I have always strived for.” —Leah Luchsinger
  28. 28. Reconnect Tip: Have a BBQ, picnic, or social event before the new school year starts to reconnect and build camaraderie “Start the year with a school-wide picnic one week before the first day of class. Just an informal get together without set schedule so everyone can reconnect and come and go as their own needs and schedule dictates.” —Stan Gould, Cincinnati, OH
  29. 29. Parent Outreach Tip: Build positive parent relationships early “Make contact with the parents early, make sure it is positive. When you need to touch base with them for something troubling [later on] it always helps to have built a relationship early on.” —Champaign Teacher “I call every parent with a positive phone call right away. No parent ever expects it and it sets a good tone for the rest of the year...Changes the whole dynamic of the parent-teacher relationship.” —Recknagle
  30. 30. The Giving Tree Tip: Create a “giving tree” or wish list for classroom supplies “For Open House or parent night...What donations could your classroom really use? Make that information available to parents. Create a "giving tree" with tags parents can grab while they tour your room.” —Andrea Kuhlthau, 8th Grade Social Studies Teacher
  31. 31. All Friends Here Tip: Use inclusive language to emphasize friendship and community “Use the [word] ‘friends’ when talking about others instead of classmates or students. It sets a positive tone that these are their friends in the room.” —SaraU
  32. 32. Staff Rockstars Tip: Make friends with your school staff members “Treat your school secretary & classroom custodian like gold & your school year will be smooth sailing! After all...we know who runs the school. :-)” —Pat Melvin
  33. 33. Calm Mornings Tip: Take 5 minutes of “me” time to start off your morning “Teachers and parents, set your alarm so that you will have five minutes of "me" time in the morning. Use that five minutes to calm and center yourself using whatever works best for you: meditation, sipping coffee, reading, stretching, anything that works. By starting out with a few minutes of calm, you will be better prepared for the crazy day ahead.” —Mrs.Free
  34. 34. Recharge Tip: Take some time after the first few weeks to recharge “Sometime in the first couple of weekends after the beginning of school, arrange a retreat of some type for yourself...Go on a weekend retreat, a spa day, the beach, the mountains, the desert, wherever you can to ‘get away from it all’ before you become snowed under with work and to let out that huge sigh of relief after you get past the first couple of days. Unplug from the world.” —Duane Fitzhugh
  35. 35. Additional Resources More tips from Edutopia: ● Edutopia’s Home-to-School Connections Resource Roundup includes articles, videos, links, and other resources that offer strategies and advice for creating positive parent-teacher connections. ● Suzie Boss’ Creating a Welcoming and Intellectually Challenging Classroom ● Gwen Pescatore’s Parent Communication Toolbox ● Peruse the Back to School Board on Edutopia’s Pinterest page
  36. 36. Special thanks go to the educators who contributed to this guide. For more tips and tactics, visit edutopia.org.

×