The way students enter our classrooms each day matters a lot.  Ever wake up feeling grumpy? tired? anxious?  Our morning emotional state can negatively impact the trajectory of our entire day.  So, to interrupt this pattern it’s important for teachers to have positive start-of-class rituals. 

Need a simple strategy yielding continuous benefits?  Assign the daily role of Class Greeter to your list of jobs.  Each morning the greeter stands at the door and welcomes all who enter by making eye contact and giving an appropriate greeting.  The responsibilities continue throughout the day.

If someone comes to the door, the greeter is the first face that person sees.  “Welcome to our class. Ms. Everett is teaching; would you like me to get her or is there something I can help you with?  You can sit here while waiting.  Would you like some water?”

Teach younger students the phrase “Welcome Wagon.” Cut out a picture of a wagon and rotate students’ pictures to the driver’s position when it is their day on the job. Older students can be the Class Secretary. The job remains the same – with perhaps the additional duty of attendance collecting.

The teach piece of this strategy is important.  Talk to your students about their emotional states, behaviors, and class climate.  Also help them understand the importance of having good social skills, positively interacting with all members of a group, not just our friends.  This topic makes for a great morning meeting / advisory period discussion.

And remember, as educators we have a chance to model this strategy every day through our own eye contact, word choices, and positive attitudes. Emotions feed emotions, so be intentional about creating the type of atmosphere in your classroom you would want to be a part of.

Have a great spring semester.