I decided to link up with Head Over Heels for Teaching Spark Student Motivation Saturdays to share how Class Meeting helps to motivate good behavior, kindness, and community within my classroom.
From the beginning of the year, we have weekly class meetings each Friday. We always follow the same format to keep things running smoothly- encouraging words, class concerns, and goal setting. I start each meeting with encouraging words for the class that I have. Sometimes they are directed at the whole class, and sometimes they are directed toward individual students. I try and use this as an opportunity to highlight the good behaviors and choices that students are making in hopes of encouraging more of that from the entire class. You'd be amazed to see how reminding a student about a positive choice or action that occurred earlier in the week can fill them with pride and confidence.
Next, students have a chance to give encouraging words to one another. We have set guidelines that these encouraging words must be specific (as opposed to "thanks for being nice to me") and should be something above and beyond what is normally expected of all kids. I have been repeatedly blown away by the thoughtful, heartfelt words that students share with one another. I've had students talk about another child's academic progress, times where students have gone out of their way to include someone in a game at recess, or even a little bit of extra help offered during a challenging lesson. They are always so sweet, and students seem to love getting and giving these encouraging words.
After that, we spend some time problem solving. Students are given voice and can express concerns, and then other students offer problem-solving solutions. Many times, the solutions offered by the other students are enough to resolve the issues posed, and they feel empowered to know that they when they have concerns, we can work together to seek a resolution.
Finally, we set a goal for the upcoming week. Every now and then, I will suggest a goal based on something that comes from a class concern, but more often than not, the students will suggest a goal that is way better than anything I would have come up with! We work on the goal the entire next week, and revisit it and our following class meeting.
Class meeting has become a vital part of my classroom community. Students look forward to having that time to showcase the positive actions of others, problem solve, and work together to accomplish goals.
What are some things you do to 'spark' motivation in students? I'd love to hear all about it!