The Importance of Celebration in the Classroom

During our Learning Walks a few weeks ago we focused on the idea of celebration and kept a specific eye out for all the amazing things happening in classrooms.  In quick visits to the classroom it’s not realistic for us to see all of the ways that people are celebrating their students and the learning that is happening.  However, we are able to see so many wonderful things happening that we decided we wanted to celebrate you and all of your hard work!  

The importance of celebration in the classroom is something that is often overlooked in the planning process.  With so many other pieces to coordinate and account for, there is a lot to do to get ready for a successful class.  However, celebration can not and should not be overlooked if you want to create a truly positive culture and community in your classroom.  Take the Marzano Teacher Toolkit as an example of the importance of celebration.  There is no doubt about the amount of research that Robert Marzano has put into his work and he includes the reflective question “What do I typically do to celebrate success?” as Element 3.  So, today I challenge you to ask that question of yourself…

As the first quarter has come to a close and reports have just gone home, we have a lot to celebrate (starting with a much deserved 4 day weekend!)  Our students have made it through the start of another school year and they’ve done it (for the most part) with grace.  Some of our students have learned the importance of grit and how to fail.  Others still need to perfect the art of failing and the resilience that goes along with it.  If you’re not one of the 7 million plus people who has watched Angela Duckworth’s Ted Talk about the importance of Grit I urge you to do so soon, it’s fantastic!  However, I digress…celebration is the agenda item today – Our students are worth a lot of celebrations and so are you!

In the High School meeting on Wednesday we started out with the “Shout-Outs” protocol and it went very well, so well that I’m worried there were still more celebrations to share…we’ll continue this practice next time we meet and MS teachers we’ll implement it soon 🙂  This is a powerful tool for celebrating in your classes as well, teach your students and get them celebrating each other (especially after group work or other situations where their classmates were involved in their learning.)  Another great tool is one that I came across while searching for student support resources but it totally applies to everyone, it’s called “The Fridge”.  A great way for students to be recognized and recognize their own hard work at the same time, the best part is that it’s voluntary!  

I love the idea of student self-reflection and even more so when it focuses on the positive.  Have a look at this video (it’s only 1 minute 20 seconds!) to see another great way of recognizing students’ “shining moments”.  How could you implement something like this in your classroom?  At the bottom of a rubric like this teacher?  As an exit ticket at the end of class?  As a blog post?  Maybe a comment on Edmodo.  Self-reflection is an incredibly powerful tool and a discussion for another time; today focus on how you can implement more celebration into your classroom.

Here’s to all of you and the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing 4 day weekend!!

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