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Socio-Emotional Learning, 10 Tips to Make Your Classroom a Happy Place!

Teaching Happiness?

There is enough research that suggests that happier children perform better both academically and socially, get ill less, have a better perception of life and are generally more successful. Therefore, it is imperative that we as educators start Teaching Happiness!

Here are some tips and activities that can be adopted to make the classroom a happy place full of happy, healthy and caring students!

Tips for a Happy Classroom

Sense of Belonging

Teaching happiness starts with healthy relationships and connections, so try and follow these steps to make them feel safe, secure and connected.

    • Always welcome your students with a smile
    • Invest time in knowing them. Have a general talk with them on a regular basis
    • Have a weekly open house discussion wherein the students can voice their opinion on anything

Brain Breaks

Slowing down and having moments of stillness in the class increases positive emotions and attention leading to a happy classroom.

    • Have about half an hour of stillness in your class every day wherein students do mindful activities
    • Meditation: Let the students do meditation, preferably with a soothing sound track

Gratitude

Practicing gratitude helps students appreciate close relationships and feel better at school and about life. This in turn helps the students achieve higher levels of optimism and life satisfaction.

    • Maintain a gratitude wall in a corner of your class/space. It could be a small whiteboard or even the inner side of the classroom door with colorful sticky notes

At the end of each day, let your students write three good things that happened to them during the day using a sticky note.

Practice Kindness

Practicing kindness helps students become compassionate and empathetic towards others. It goes a long way to have happy and fulfilling lives.

  • The Write Around: In this writing activity give each student a handout that has several sentence starters on it like:
    • One idea I’ve gotten from you is . . .
    • I really like you because . . .
    • I know I can count on you….

  • Appreciation Box – For shy students, you can use a cardboard box and place it in the back of the room with sticky notes. The teacher and the students can write appreciations for classmates and stick them to the box. After a fixed interval of time, say a fortnight, take out the appreciation notes and read them aloud.

Let them realize their STRENGTHS

When students realize their full potential and use their strength in novel ways, they are much happier.

    • At the beginning of the year, organize a talent show within the class where students can showcase their abilities. It can be as simple as writing a beautiful note to enacting a famous personality.
    • Based on the outcomes, create a job chart for your class. Examples:
      • Literary head
      • Recycling Chief
      • Librarian
      • Lights and doors
      • Class spokesperson

Classroom with a CAUSE

When we have a purpose in life, we feel engaged and satisfied. Give your students a purpose which will make them feel good about themselves.

Brainstorm your students about the problems being faced by the local community or maybe a neighborhood shelter. Ask them to choose one activity they would like to help with. For example, sponsoring the books of some underprivileged children or even a social get together for them.

Exercise

It is a known fact that exercise boosts our physical and mental health. This in turn leads to a happy mind and a healthy body. This will Help your students to be happy, healthy and wise.

    • Each day, set aside some time, say 20 minutes for your students to do physical activity.
    • Encourage your students to do exercise in the form of Yoga, aerobics or even a simple stretching exercise. Also try and organize marathons or athletics meet on a regular basis

Incorporate Art

There is growing evidence that incorporating arts in the daily curriculum students develop skills like resilience which helps foster positivity.

Help your students develop resilience and grit to tackle all situations.

  • Sketch it: Ask your students to take a plain drawing paper and let them draw whatever they like.
  • Organize an Open Art Day in your school where teachers and students can paint whatever they like. Let it be open ended and non competitive.

 

Add Music

“Music is food for the soul”, a very true statement.

Listening to music not only makes us happy but is a health booster, so incorporate music in your classroom.

    • Welcome note: Put on a lively music track every morning, as students enter the class. It can be in your native language.It can be done for the entire school on the common address system.
    • Also you can play light background music when students do some mindful activities, this enhances concentration
    • Another very interesting activity could be organizing an open music fest day at school for all classes. Let it be an interest based event wherein whoever wants can sing, dance or play an instrument. A great choice would be to hold it on children’s day each year.

Be Happy Yourself!

The most important element of a happy classroom is a happy Teacher!!

Help your students open up to you more often by smiling and keeping happy.

    • Create a balance between work and leisure
    • Join some activity which you enjoy, it could be a sport, a hobby class anything
    • Make it a point to smile a lot, especially in front of your students, it is contagious
    • Go for walk whenever you can even better with a companion

Creating happier classrooms will go a long way to make the world a happier, peaceful and sustainable place to live in.

 

The Equation for Sustainable Future


Try out these wonderful tips in your classroom and share your students reaction with us and Neeru Mittal in comments. How do you bring happiness in your classroom? Write to us at connected@cambridge.org or share there.

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Written by Neeru Mittal

Neeru Mittal is a computer science educator, teaching 11th and 12th graders for the past 22 years. Since the beginning, she has been a strong advocate of saving the environment. She incorporates the use of technology in her classroom; this not only enhances the teaching-learning process but also helps her create a paperless classroom. Ms. Mittal has been selected as the Global SDG ambassador from India. She is also a Global Minecraft educator and a Skype Master Teacher.

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