Providing fun, engaging activities and welcoming settings for instruction can boost happiness in classrooms — and learning. Written by Kara Arundel, K-12 Dive.
Showing students they can have ownership over their learning can help students stay on task and learn from their mistakes, said Brittany Patton, an interventionist at KIPP Sunshine Peak Elementary School in Denver, Colorado.
Patton uses a “conscious discipline” approach to help her model coping, social, and problem-solving skills for her students, which contributes to an optimal learning environment.
She also has various rituals to help students de-stress, find empathy for others, and move around before lessons.
For example, students wish someone well by holding their hand over their heart and then pushing those thoughts out by taking their hands off their hearts and pushing the air in front of them. Students also sing, zigzag around the classroom, tap their bodies, and take deep breaths in and breathe out like a lion, ghost or whatever noise they want to make.
Patton’s students also have “commitment trackers” and pick a commitment they will focus on for the lesson, such as keeping their body calm or listening to their teacher. They receive a stamp for meeting commitments and, if they don’t, they will discuss how they will aim to meet the commitment at the next lesson.
“I’m really proud of the way my students have grown in accepting their ‘oopses’ and using those moments to reflect and grow,” Patton said in an email.