Skip to main content

Giving Positive Reinforcement to Inspire Your Students

By Eric Welker, Master Teacher and Activity Developer, RAFT

Positive reinforcement is simple and necessary in all classrooms - but can be forgotten while class rigor becomes more demanding. Here are some easy tips to remind ourselves to praise our students daily.

1. Have a small whiteboard outside the classroom and write a positive message on it to remind students that you are glad to see them. Messages such as: "We’re lucky you came today, it's going to be an amazing day!", or "I will give you my 100% today." This type of positivity will have students coming to class with smiles on their faces and sets the tone for a fantastic day.

2. Incorporate stickers into your daily routine. As children, we all loved receiving stickers, but even young adults enjoy small rewards such as stickers for participation. Small stickers may be placed on the front of folders or binders for students asking wonderful questions or participating.  An easy way is to have a clipboard with all the students names and tally how many stickers they have earned and pass them out at the end of class. Of course, the teacher should give praise right away, but the students can wait for the physical reward until the end of class. 

3. Focus praise on the student, not just how you feel about their accomplishment. I consciously try to say “You did ….” which focuses the praise on the student. Teachers can also post positive sentence frames throughout the classroom to remind themselves of positive phrases.


I have seen teachers in upper elementary grades use the Santa Clara County Office of Education Norms of Effective Collaboration table tents with the Seven P’s during group work . The Seven P’s are pausing, paraphrasing, putting ideas on the table, pulling them off, paying attention to self and others, presuming positive intentions, and pursuing a balance between advocacy and inquiry.

Group work can be very difficult for some individuals, and being able to communicate in an effective and approachable way is a valuable life skill. So please remember that teachers are not the only people in the classroom. Students need  teachers to positively praise them, and also need to have the tools to positively praise each other.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Are you ready for Pi?

Time to get ready fer Pi Day at RAFT me hearties!  Set yer compasses an’ sails fer FREE Pi Day activities on March 8thbetween 3:30 to 5:30 on th’ main poop deck (aye-aye in th’ “Kit Area”) at SJ RAFT!
RAFT’s very own notorious wench, Jeanne Lazzarini (RAFT Math Master Educator), prepared a boatload of Pi Day activities to share with yer classes fer Pi Day (celebrated on March 14th every year)! Pi, (also written as π; th’ ratio of th’ circumference of a circle to its diameter) be an irrational number that goes on forever without any repeating digits, starting with 3.14159… π is illustriously celebrated over land an’ high seas March 14th (get it? On 3.14…!).    Discover great “make-an’-take” Pi day activities that prepare ye fer real Pi day!  Here’s a RAFT idea sheet fer Pi Day you can use now: Pi Day Pin. Make sure X marks th’ spot on ye calendars this March 8th, or walk th’ plank me scallywags!   Shiver me timbers an’ yo-ho-ho!  ‘Tis a RAFTy life fer me, Bucko!!!  Arrrgggghhhhh!

CUSD Shares Possible STEAM Projects by Grade

Twelve STEAM Innovation Leaders from the Campbell Unified School District (CUSD) came to RAFT earlier this month to create new motivational activities for the start of the school year!  They met in grade-level teams with our RAFT Education staff to generate new ideas using RAFT materials that will motivate, challenge, and inspire their students. Each team was given a RAFT Makerspace-in-a-Box containing a wide variety of upcycled materials. They were asked to create a Design Challenge that directed students to solve the instructor’s challenge with the materials from the box. The Design Challenges addressed an engineering standard appropriate for each grade level and could include standards from other subjects. Here are some of their exciting back-to-school ideas:
************************************************************************************* Grades TK – 2 Engineering Standard: K-2-ETS1-1:  Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to chan…

Use the Winter Olympics to engage your students

The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics are right around the corner!
This worldwide event offers excellent opportunities to use the Olympics to inspire your students to learn about many mathematical concepts such as slope. How can the Olympics help students understand slope? Think of ski slopes! Ask students to watch the Olympics this year on TV and to look for sports that use steep paths (e.g., snowboarding, downhill skiing, alpine skiing, bobsleighing, etc.)! Back in class, have students recreate replica “ski slopes” using sections of white foam board. Place one end of a foam board against a wall with the opposite end touching the floor at an angle so that it forms the hypotenuse of a right triangle (the right angle is between the wall and the floor). Refer to the vertical distance (“rise”) from the floor to where the top edge of the board touches the wall as the y-intercept. Refer to the horizontal distance (“run”) starting at the wall and to the bottom of the board farthest away from t…