3 Tips for a Positive Classroom Culture 


Are you hoping to establish a positive culture in your classroom?

Would you like all students to feel like they belong in your classroom? Would you like to establish a learning community based on trust and inclusiveness? You can build a positive classroom culture and community with these fun and simple strategies!

The first days are critical when establishing a positive classroom culture with yourself as an effective teacher. Research shows that the first THREE weeks set the tone for the rest of the year. You must establish the purpose of your classroom. In addition to teaching content, we are role models, and we are teaching them how to be effective students now and in the future!

1. Make Names a Big Deal…because they are!

We all remember that teacher who never really learned our name. It hurt. The first and most important part of building a classroom community is to begin by learning names. It is a simple and valuable first step. Our free The Story of Your Name worksheet allows students to share their history and story with you. It is imperative that students be allowed to share as much or as little as they like. Because of complex family history, students need to have the option to fill this out. Most students will eagerly share, but it is important to respect student privacy. You may either use our worksheet or design your own activity by asking these questions:

  • Does your name have a special meaning?
  • What does your name mean?
  • Who chose your name? How was it chosen?
  • What is your name’s history? 
  • Do you have any nicknames? Why were they given?
  • What would you like to be called?
  • Finally, please teach me how to pronounce your name!

2. Establish your classroom Purpose and Procedures

You have a vision of the positive classroom culture that you would like to create, and you know your procedures, but do you know your students? If you haven’t explicitly taught them, do not expect them to know your classroom procedures. I relied on Harry Wong’s book The First Days of School as a first grade teacher and I still go back to it at the beginning of every school year. In The First Days of School, Harry Wong, talks about having a procedure for everything and taking the time to teach each and every procedure. Later, you’ll be glad that you put the time in when your class is running smoothly.

“You can accomplish anything with students if you set high expectations for behavior and performance by which you yourself abide.”  – Harry K. Wong, The First Days of School

Top Tips from The First Days of School:

– Make a script for yourself.

The organization and routines of the first days of school are crucial. Setting up the first days is vital. Design your first days with purpose. Create a script for yourself. I especially like this example is from First Day in Mr. George’s Class

Review procedures every day.

Establish consistency; our primary concern is ensuring that learning happens. Know what you are doing and know your procedures. Review procedures and rules daily. Following a routine to be most effective.

Teach students how to start their day and do it every day.

We are teaching students how to be successful, learning as a behavioral trait: Be, Do, and Act.

3. Foster a Growth Mindset

Students listen to you probably more than you realize. They even love to listen to how you give feedback to other students. The words you use matter. The praise you use matters. Right from the start, speak to your students using a growth mindset vernacular. When they hear you saying, “You haven’t got it right, YET,” they will know that you believe growth is possible!

Our Growth versus Fixed Mindset lesson has everything you need to introduce a growth mindset to your students.

With three tips, you will soon have the creative, fun, and cohesive classroom you and your students deserve. The time you put into learning names, teaching routines and procedures, and establishing a growth mindset culture will pay off during the rest of the school year!

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