The Best Tips to Cultivate a Culture of Success in Your Classroom

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Cultivating a culture of success does come with time and experience, but if you need some quick tips on how to start cultivating this culture, you have come to the right place. Cultivating a culture of success in your classroom can be tricky. Here you will find the best tips to help your students feel safe and successful in your classroom!

Establish Culture of Success

💙 “We are safe. We are kind. We are loved.”–stolen from Dr. Becky Bailey and Conscious Discipline. Isn’t this ideal for all of us? Shouldn’t this be the goal in our classroom? Absolutely. I say this mantra with my students daily! I also use these in question forms for my students! Was that kind? Do you think Javiar felt safe? LOVE it!

💙 Provide structure. When you know what you want the kids to do, they will understand and be more sure of themselves, adding a level of security and safety. Always be prepared for that transition and think ahead, so the kids know what materials they will need.

💙 Routine, routine, routine. Students thrive on having a routine and knowing what to expect. It builds a sense of security for them. Ensuring that your class meeting is every week at a scheduled time and not random begins to establish that routine. Class meetings are so important because they give students a chance to have their voices heard. Use the class meeting time to share upcoming events, changes in routines, and so on with your students. Class meetings can also be a scheduled opportunity for students to share concerns, questions, or ideas for the classroom. 

Model a Culture of Success

💙 Listen to what a child has to say when they come up to you or ask you a question. I found myself saying, “Okay, go sit down, please.” after they finish telling me what they want to say to me. To me, asking a student to sit down feels dismissive. So now, I take a split second and ask a question or add to what they are telling me; it speaks volumes! It lets them know that I care and want to learn more about them.

💙 When I hear something negative or said in a snarky way, I will give the students a better way to say what they need to phrase. I will tell them precisely what I want them to say and how I want them to say it. We all have our moments, and for my kids, these moments are perfect for learning how to use kindness in their communications.

Celebrate Success

💙 Find something specific you like about what they did. Celebrate it and take a couple of extra seconds to communicate that to them. It all goes back to having genuine conversations with your kids.

💙 Let all your students celebrate each other’s success–this really grows that culture of success in the classroom! I always have a few kids that struggle. They are the ones that need those celebrations the most. Kids are resilient, and they can understand that different people have different needs. They know when to celebrate the success of another student. For example, if a student is having a hard time answering a question, my kids will encourage them, give them helpful hints, and when their peers answer correctly, they tell them how great they are or how proud they are. If you set the tone in the beginning, your students will be able to do this without prompting.

💙 We all love good news, right? Students (and parents) also do. It makes students feel good to know they are doing a good job! Sometimes, it seems hard to find the time to give these shout-outs or compliments consistently. A helpful tip is to create a schedule or a time to become routine. Do two per day if you want students to receive them more frequently. Be sure that you plan and create a way that ensures all students have an opportunity to receive compliments and shout-outs.

Some Specifics

💙 Give brain breaks, and give them often. Sometimes, I feel I need this regrouping more than my students. A chance to move or chill or take some breaths frequently throughout the day is AMAZING!

I love using my CORE Binders for my students–I especially love all of the extras the CORE Binder includes such as:

  • Brain Wake Ups: Daily Affirmations, Yoga Sequences
  • These colorful pages will keep your kids working independently DAILY.And here’s the cool part… this binder is designed for your kids to get both their bodies AND minds working.

💙 Never let kids talk about groups or levels being high or low. I tell my kids that I design my groups for various skills. Everybody has different skills they need to work on during the day. Each group has a purpose in my classroom, and none of them are higher or lower than the other.

💙 Make learning “cool.” If your kids can see your enthusiasm towards knowledge, they will think learning is fantastic too! You have a powerful influence on them, so use it to your advantage!

STEM is the coolest in my room right now, you should see the paper airplanes flying (in a good way). We have increased STEM activities to twice a week. My go-to resource: STEM Challenge Stories!

💙 Accept your kids for who they are.   Each child is unique in your classroom, and you need to let them know that you care about them no matter what. I always try to find something they are great at and then talk about it. For example, Baez is an artist. Or Jane, who is a caring friend no matter what. Or Takita, who can name every Pokemon character. Draw on their strengths, and they value them.

Positive Affirmations and Mindset

💙 Have you ever found yourself repeating a positive statement enough that you finally believe it? For example, “I can do this! I will get that data taken!” Do you say these positive affirmations to erase those negative thoughts in your head? You know the ones: “I can’t. It is too much. Why can’t I do this data?”

💙 Our students repeatedly have those negative thoughts; that negative mindset. We, as teachers, never wish for any of our students to suffer from those negative mantras repeating in their heads, but what can we do? Studies have found that using positive affirmations daily in the classroom can help students succeed by changing their mindset, therefore developing skills needed for everyone to be part of the culture of success. 

💙 Often, our students dwell on the competition: for instance, thinking others are smarter, faster, prettier, etc. We need to help them realize that they are enough by being just who they are and competing only with themselves. They are truly capable of learning. Above all, repeating mantras daily that they are enough can help change a mindset of trying to best others into trying to best ourselves.

💙 Recent studies have shown that students who state daily mantras that are readers improve more annually than their peers! It amazes me how what seems like a simple statement is an affirmation that changes progress. Consequently, students begin to believe that they can do better and state that, then,  they do better! Incredible! I am starting these affirmations today! 

💙 Positive affirmations are a simple but powerful way of changing the negative thoughts of our students and leading them onto a path for perseverance, self-love, and community kindness. Replacing a negative mindset with positivity can diminish anxiety and frustration in our students and help them find success in their work and themselves. Using positive affirmations daily in the classroom until it becomes a habit for the kids helps them ingrain these new thoughts and make them permanent. 

Everyone Matters in a Culture of Success

💙 Creating a learning community where students feel a sense of belonging and connection is essential to maximize the learning within your classroom. Your classroom becomes like a family for you and your students. The importance of establishing a community among learners is at the top of the list for teachers! Why is that? Because students will learn more in an environment where they feel loved and cared about by other people. This concept is so important for your class culture of success!

💙 When students feel that their ideas and opinions matter, they will be more likely to share them, which results in more learning!

In the end, it is all about making students feel safe, unique, and important. Cultivating a culture of success is dependent on the actions and decisions you make each day. Understanding that having a great culture takes time and experience, you can take actionable steps to improve your students’ feelings in the classroom.

WRITTEN BY – SUZANNE KELLEY

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Welcome! I’m Emily, Founder of Education to the Core. We are all about helping K-2 teachers by providing unlimited access to affordable printables for every subject area.