A friend recently asked me if I had any ideas on how to encourage a positive attitude in students. Her class has a few kids with negative attitudes, and she wants to turn it around before the negativity spreads. To help her out, I polled the veteran teachers in my circles.
Build a Family Atmosphere
“One thing that has worked for me is to hold class meetings several times a week where we talk about different topics: selfishness, kindness, teamwork, optimism, how to deal with stress/anxiety, friendships, etc. One of those could be positivity or negativity. I make it authentic and don’t ever tell them that they are being that way and that’s why we are talking about it. It’s just what we do to learn how to have good character and self-reflect how our behavior choices affect our relationships with other people.”
Incorporate Social Emotional Learning
“We first define the term by talking about what it looks like, sounds like, and feels like. Then, we personalize it by talking about how it affects us or others in our life. Then, I pose a challenge for them to think about or do. Sometimes we role play situations too. They show us the wrong way and then the right way.”
Never Underestimate the Power of Visual Progress
“You can try keeping track of positive comments on the board as points. The next day if they beat that number they get a prize (just a jolly rancher or something). Once they get the hang of it you can start erasing points for negative comments. You can even do morning vs. afternoons if you feel like they get more negative throughout the day and the reward can be that they get to watch a short cartoon at the end of the day. You’ll be surprised how quickly students will point out random positive points. If that get old see how many times they can use the positive word of the day, or give them double points if another teacher catches them being positive. There’s a lot you can do to keep challenging them!”
Mix it Up!
“Here’s a quick idea that has helped me. I did a baby photo guess who game whilst playing music, and it brought lots of smiles and silliness in my class.”
Keep in mind that it might just be the time of the year. It’s not that they’re being negative, but I think they might be starting to feel that they are becoming too cool for school. The strategies above should help redirect some of those feelings, encourage a positive attitude in students, and set them on the path closing out the year on a good note.
Want more? Click here to read “5 Ways to Teach a Growth Mindset” & “Sanity Saving Classroom Management Strategies”
Do you have some great ideas to add? Leave them in the comments below…