Creating a positive classroom culture is very important to me. I believe students learn best in a safe, and welcoming environment. To help foster a positive classroom culture, I hit the ground running at the beginning of the year. I put myself out there and share pieces of my life, relationships, interests and experiences with the students. I also share how I like to treat people, how I like to be treated, what makes me happy, mad, etc. I usually do this in some form of media, Powerpoint, video, etc. I then get the students to do the same. Afterwards, they can choose to share with the class, a small group or a partner. This activity helps students understand why and how their teacher and peers may react in a situation.
I also do Daily Attendance Questions, created by students. Each student receives cue cards and they write a question of wonder to be asked during the year, “what is your favourite colour?” “do you like brownies or cake?” “How many siblings do you have?” And every morning, I ask an Attendance Question to take attendance. This allows the students to share, and find commonalities among themselves.
Another way I build a positive class environment is through circles. We participate in sharing circles, knowledge-building circles and prayer circles. In my experience, circles allow students to learn about each other, and also provides an opportunity to be vulnerable and trusting of their peers.