teacher giving a student a high five

Sitting still, listening and paying attention, making good choices... School can be fun, but remembering to follow through on all these expectations – all day, every day – can be challenging for students, no matter the age. It can be challenging for teachers too, since having actively engaged, well-behaved students makes a big difference in everyone’s day.

So how can teachers guide their students to make positive behavior choices on their own? 

Creative Ways to Encourage Positive Behavior in the Classroom

Knowing they have something to earn can be an excellent motivator for positive behavior. This approach helps reinforce positivity overall, as well, since it places the emphasis on what students can achieve versus what can be taken away. Here are a few creative ideas to try, with whatever twists you know would work best for your class and your students:

  1. Incorporate movement in your lessons
    This can be a fun approach that keeps students not only focused, but also can be a healthy opportunity to expend excess energy. Incorporating movement in the class lesson plan can be as simple as having students stand to respond to questions, act out what they’re reading, hop or squat the correct number of times for a math problem, or make your social-media-style song and dance to correspond to your lesson. Students will be energized by the variety and positive behavior will stay on track.

  2. Take it outside
    It can be tough for students to remain inside the classroom all day, so when they show their positive behavior choices, why not take the lessons outside? Sometimes learning can be even more effective when you simply change up your environment, and a dose of sunshine and fresh air can work wonders too.

  3. Build in movement breaks
    Let students know that after the chapter, lesson or activity you’re working on is finished, as long as they made positive behavior choices, the class will be rewarded with a movement break. This can include 60-second challenges like seeing who can jog in place at their desks for that long, how many jumping jacks they can do before time’s up or how many times they can touch the sky then their toes in that time. When kids know they’ll have a chance to get up and “get the wiggles out,” it can help them stay engaged, make positive behavior choices and clear the fog for the next lesson.

  4. Free recess
    Each day, or at the beginning of the week, depending on your class schedule and demands, write the words, “Free Recess” on the board. Throughout the day, or as the week progresses, place a sign decorated for each letter on top of the corresponding letter to indicate that the class has earned a step closer to receiving the free recess. Once all letters have been highlighted with their matching signs, reward the class for their positive behavior by granting them an extra recess, either in the classroom, the gym or outside, if possible.

  5. Give them a say
    Have a class discussion about the type of environment the students want to experience and let them contribute toward the guidelines to achieve this. For example, they can create class rules, kindness promises and even class jobs. Once they are invested in what they’re working toward, students will want to show their positive behavior choices and encourage others to do so too.

  6. Points parties
    Students can earn points for a party of their choice featuring a movie, favorite games, popsicles, doughnuts, pizza or other special treats. Once enough points have been awarded for positive behaviors, the entire class can enjoy the fruits of their labor. Parties can be held weekly, monthly, once a quarter or even just once at the end of the year, depending on how elaborate the reward or how challenging it is to earn points.

  7. Class awards
    Designate a “class pal” such as a stuffed animal, bobblehead or figurine, and recognize one student each day with the class award granting them the honor of having the “class pal” at their desk or by their side for the entire next day. Create a fun award certificate to go with the recognition that students will be proud to take home to family, and they’ll be eager to earn this class award as the special student with their positive behavior.

Find Inspiration, Supplies and More

Keeping your students engaged and invested will go a long way toward encouraging positive behavior in the classroom. Turn to GEDDES, a trusted leader in school supplies and resources for over 90 years, for ideas and inspiration to help achieve your classroom goals. Contact us today or request a school supply catalog and learn more about all the supplies and resources from Raymond Geddes.