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Teaching Strategies to Create Happy Students

Janelle Cox

The quality of school is sometimes measured by how happy the students are. If you are new to a school, or just a visitor and you notice a school full of unhappy students, what would you think?

With all of the emphasis on schoolwork and standardized tests, it’s easy to forget to make your students happy. There’s something really special when you walk into a classroom and see a sea full of smiling happy faces.

Here are 10 teaching strategies to make your students smile.

1. Teaching strategies: Welcome them with open arms

Before the school year even begins, you can greet your students with a welcome letter. This will help you build a caring classroom community before students even walk into the door. Students will not only feel welcome, but they will feel appreciated as well. Remember, a caring classroom is a happy classroom.

2. Teaching strategies: Give them something to look forward to

Think about the last time that you planned a vacation. How did you feel on the days leading up to it? Or, when was the last time you couldn’t wait until the weekend because you were excited for the plans you made? Giving students something to look forward to will make them happy. It can be something as little as no homework for the weekend, to a classroom party filled with games and treats!

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3. Invest some time to get to know them

It’s always nice to take the time to really get to know each and every one of your students. This will not only help them feel more comfortable in class and help you build a caring classroom community, but it will help you understand them better.

4. Let them eat lunch with you

If you really want to make your students happy, once a month invite a few students to come and each lunch with you. Children tend to open up a little more when they are in an environment where they feel relaxed and comfortable.  Each month, hold a lottery (to make sure everyone gets a turn) and randomly pick about five students to come eat lunch with you. The benefit it that you will see your students in a different light, along with a huge smile!

5. Use humor

Who doesn’t like to laugh? Use any opportunity you have to use humor in the classroom. Tell a joke, a funny story, or come into school with a silly hat or mask on. You can even designate every Friday as silly hat day and come to school each week with something different on your head. The kids will forward to what you will wear next as well as beam with excitement and laughter.

6. Incorporate music

Research has shown that music affects our feelings and energy levels. It’s also a powerful tool to make us happy. Whenever you get the opportunity to incorporate music into your classroom, do so, your students will thank you for it.

7. Give them choices

Students are always being told what to do and rarely get the chance to make a choice for themselves. Giving students a choice in what or how they will learn is a great way to make them happy. It also shows them that you trust them, as well as gives them some independence.

8. Let them play

According to research, play is important in a child’s development. It helps them grow physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally. It keeps them healthy, burns off energy, gives them exposure to learn through others, and try different things. It’s a great creative outlet, and it teaches children how to interact with others. So next time you want to cancel recess, think again.

9. Give their brain a break

Brain breaks are essential for students. Research has proven that students learn best when they are given the opportunity to rest their brain throughout the school day. The purpose of a brain break is to refocus students to they will learn better, but it also makes their brain happy. After each lesson, take the time to give students a quick brain break: All it takes is five minutes, and you will definitely see a happy classroom.

10. Allow them to get social

Most children love to talk and usually have a lot to say. Provide opportunities for students to get social with their peers. You will see students will establish relationships that promote a positive classroom environment. Getting social and talking about things other than schoolwork will make students happy. Try giving students ten minutes at the end of the day to just talk with their classmates. You can even invite the classroom next door to join in every Friday.

How do you make students happy in your classroom? Do you have any tips or ideas that work well for you? Please share with us in the comment section below. We would love to hear your ideas.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a master's of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the elementary education expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or visit her website at Empoweringk6educators