Think about a typical day and all the intricacies that need to fall into place for it to earn the mark of a good day. There’s that first sip of coffee, an open parking spot, working Wi-Fi, time to eat lunch, etc. The list can truly be endless. It’s not to say that every good day will have the exact same formula of activities and interactions, but there are a lot of standards that will likely come to mind.
Students are no different. There are a lot of elements that will determine whether or not their time spent at school results in a good day. While teachers and support staff can’t control every component, they can certainly do their best to ensure that some crucial ones are experienced on a daily basis by every student. With some mindful efforts and planning, every student can head out the doors each day feeling special and valued. These 10 practices can make that happen.
- Consistency– When consistency exists in expectations and routines, students experience a level of comfort that allows them to embrace learning more openly. Many students don’t experience any consistency outside of the school day, so its presence during the day makes their learning community a safe and comfortable place to be.
- Direct Address– Simple, but so very vital. Looking into students’ eyes and calling them by name is a way to show them that they are seen and valued. Using a student’s name to get their attention for discipline purposes would not suffice here. Positively addressing students can be achieved as they enter class, pass in the hallway, ask a question, etc.
- Physical Activity– While a physical education course or recess would be an ideal way to achieve this, activity and movement can occur anytime and anywhere within the building. Brain breaks that offer some stretches, flexible seating that allows for getting out the wiggles, rotating stations/activity centers, etc. would all be great ways to include movement.
- Challenges– Students need to encounter challenges and know they can positively emerge on the other side of them. Not every challenge may end in success, but that shouldn’t be the norm. Teachers needs to work with students to create attainable goals that allow for engagement with the curriculum and a building of vital problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.
- Time for Reflection– When time is in short demand, reflection is often the element that hits the chopping block. This should be one of the last practices to make the cut. Students need time to process, both the good and the bad. Time to reflect offers time to learn from mistakes, make needed adjustments, and plan for success.
- Support– Every student should have a go-to person. Someone they can count on for support, guidance, and understanding. Oftentimes, there isn’t a person who fits this bill outside of the school day. Building and nurturing relationships is crucial.
- Creative Expression– An opportunity for creative expression should makes its way into each and every school day. Whether it’s an art class, STEAM activity, personal writing/expression/creation of a concept, every student needs a chance to creatively express themselves across the curriculum.
- Laughter– There is a time and a place for seriousness and deep thought, but that shouldn’t be the case for every time and every place a student encounters at school. Kids need to enjoy themselves and have a chance to revel in the learning and social interactions that make up their days.
- Collaboration– All students should feel they are a part of the learning community. This camaraderie can be born from the interactions and collaborations they experience both personally and academically. It’s through these collaborations that students begin to feel a part of something bigger than themselves.
- Nourishment– It’s a fact that kids need proper nutrition to get all their cognitive cylinders firing properly. Students shouldn’t miss out on fueling their bodies because of lack of funding or a rushed lunch period. Every child needs both time to eat and the ability to obtain a healthy meal.
Every child has a right to feel valued and accepted every single day. Their educational journeys play an integral role in helping students determine their self-worth and capabilities. By making a mindful effort to positively impact the journey of every student, every day can be a good day.