Sunday, July 24, 2016

Creating "Classroom/Student" Morale

I read a blog post recently by Elissa over at misscalcul8 on creating an environment and activities in your school that help increase teacher morale and I want to do the same thing but for my classroom and students.

So what is my plan...

Step 1 - Make a bridge between home life and school life
Call home to speak with parents about upcoming year and request two things: a family photo to remind students of their support system and a letter of encouragement to the child to be presented in the first week of school.


Step 2 - Take a class photo
The first week of school I want to take a photo of each class to post in our room. I'm thinking maybe on the first day have them make posters with encouraging messages and then we can hold them up in our photo. My idea is maybe have the journalism teacher take the photo of each class out on the football field.

Step 3 - Create a class twitter page (If approved by our county -- prayers please)
I want to have a place where our students can share math beyond just the four walls of my classroom. I want them to create a professional learning network like the #MTBoS is for us.

My thoughts are that instead of homework I'll give out one problem per night maybe in class or over twitter and students that want to join in can and post their problems to our class account. The next day I want to use those problems to choose "my favorite no" problem to reinforce error analysis. I'm hoping that students will see this as it's ok to make mistakes and the point is I want them to try. I might use the slogan "no one ever learned to ride a bike without falling off" in my class this year. I want them to get away from the fear of answering wrong and working closer to being confident in the attempts.

Step 4 - Choosing at least one good thing and calling home about it weekly (maybe 3 students - start small and work my way up over time)
It is so important to call parents to tell them that their child did something good but often times we get overloaded and only call when a student has done something wrong. I want to change this now instead of later. Make time Christie!!!

Step 5 - Make scheduled tutoring a priority
One semester I called home every few weeks to ask parents if their child could stay after school for tutoring and I want to do this again. Our school now has title one funding and we are using a portion to fund after school tutoring for EOC and ACT prep. If possible I want to see if I can bring in more students from my other classes to get help.

The biggest thing is just being their for my students. They need to know someone is in their corner and not going to give up on them.


  1. I'm wanting to send out good news postcards out this year! I've thought about it for a couple years, maybe I will actually do it.

    I have an instagram account for all students and I post pictures of classroom activities, group photos, photos from dance and spirit week and prom, announcements, etc.

    My favorite thing to do is buy students their favorite candy for their birthday. I have 85 students but it works out to only be a couple dollars a week or so. I've also used a "Happy Birthday" chair cover from Dollar Tree and written a dry erase birthday message on their desk. I'm going to try to remember to do all three this year.

    I also have a 'two nice things' rule. Anytime a students says something rude/mean about someone, they have to immediately say two nice things. This applies anytime I hear the rudeness (hallway, ball game, class) and regardless of who the person is or if they are in the room.

    I think you just inspired me to write my own post!

    1. I love your ideas! I'm wondering if the instagram account could be used via ClassDojo instead though. It's a behavior management tool, but now offers something called "class stories" where I believe you can do the same things you mentioned, but it won't be so open to the public. You can also quickly contact parents via messaging once they accept your account invitation. And, the "two nice things" rule is awesome! I'm gonna use that. :)

  2. Lots of great ideas! I'd encourage you, though, to choose just one of them to implement this year. When you're reading blogs and seeing all the amazing things others are doing, it can feel like you're not doing nearly enough and need to do a lot more right away. But teaching is like running a marathon, and you need to pace yourself and care for yourself to sustain your energy. Which idea do you think will impact student learning the most? How about the tutoring? One on one interactions can really help students experience success and build your relationship with them at the same time. Win-win.

  3. Thanks ladies!!

    Elissa I love the postcard idea you should definitely do that. I read your blog follow up it was great so great to see that we are all inspiring each other to push ourselves and to keep blogging. I really hope I keep up with blogging and tweeting this year. I have become such a better more reflective teacher since I joined the #MTBOS.

    Nancy, you are so right! I get so overwhelmed by all the blogs that I read because there are so many amazing ideas out there that I want to do them all and now. I have to keep in mind that if I overwork myself I will burn out and I do not want that to happen. So I already confirmed with my central office that we are allowed to have classroom twitter accoounts this year and I'm super excited to start that so we can share ideas and praise each other not just during class time. I also think you were right about the tutoring, the one on one time will really help build those relationships and motivate students to try harder so that's my next plan for this coming year.

  4. Great stuff, Christie! I'll be following. I love #1 and #2. I'm already doing #5 (tutoring). And, as I mentioned above, I think #3 & #4 can be combined using ClassDojo or ClassCraft. That way it accomplished the same purposes but stays "in the family." Students can also monitor their progress by downloading the app, and communication with parents (individually or broadcasted msgs) is quick and effortless. But, all this is great stuff, and you're right - we have to pace ourselves so that we don't overwhelm ourselves. Thanks!