5 Activities to Create a Positive Classroom Culture

5 Activities to Create a Positive Classroom Culture

By The Daring English Teacher 

With school now back in session, it is the perfect time to focus on creating and fostering a positive, healthy classroom culture. These past two school years were so challenging, and with school in session again, there seems to be a better, more positive and exciting vibe on school campuses nationwide. This is the year that we’ve been waiting for.

To help capitalize on these exciting back-to-school vibes, here are 5 things you can do to help create and maintain a healthy, positive classroom culture.

Tell Me Something Good Monday

When you start the week by celebrating students’ successes, victories, and accomplishments, the entire classroom vibe starts on a positive note. One habit I started several years ago was starting each class period on Monday with a small celebration. Essentially, I asked students to share their good news on their bell ringer sheet. The news could be any kind of good news -no matter how big or small. Students could share successes on a recent math quiz, something they did over the weekend that made them happy, and anything in between. With high schoolers, you also get a mix of really big good news announcements like passing the permit test or driver’s test, being accepted into college, or getting a job.

After students take a quick moment to record their good news, I call on volunteers to share their good news aloud with the class. After they share, I ask them some questions about the good news, and then the entire class celebrates with the student who shared. I chose to have students celebrate with congratulatory statements and applause. Usually, I would ask about three or four students to share their news aloud each Monday, and I would try to ensure that everyone shared at least once. Starting the week by celebrating each other's good news, successes, and victories, creates a welcoming and positive classroom culture.

Community Bell Ringers

Another way to help foster a positive and inclusive classroom community is to include these classroom community bell ringers in my curriculum. With 40 days of bell ringers includes, these community bell ringers are great to get your students thinking with open minds and open hearts. Each bell ringer includes a quote about love, acceptance, tolerance, or diversity and a brief writing prompt. In the classroom, I like to give my students the first five minutes of class to read and respond to the prompt. Then, I’ll call on volunteers to share their responses.

You can try a sample of these bell ringers. This Classroom Community Bell Ringers Sampler includes five community bell ringers that you can use in your classroom this week!

Classroom Community and Culture Bell Ringers
Classroom Community and Culture Bell Ringers

Growth Mindset Escape Room

Students love working together to solve puzzles and tasks. The collaboration builds strong connections and creates a healthy classroom community. That is why this Growth Mindset Escape Room is such a hit in my classroom. With this escape room, students work together to solve a series of tasks all while they learn about growth mindset.

This Growth Mindset Escape Room includes four tasks for students to work on and solve together, and it also has activities to use in your classroom before and after the escape room as well! Whenever it is escape room day in my classroom, I always have complete and total engagement from my students. There is excitement in the air, and the activity is a welcomed break from the usual curriculum.

Growth Mindset Escape Room
Growth Mindset Escape Room

Stacking Cup Challenge

Another great collaborative activity to have your students complete in your classroom is the stacking cup challenge. This challenge really shows students just how important communication and collaboration are. I always have my students complete the stacking cup challenge toward the beginning of the school year and also when we move seats to allow students to get to know and work with their new table mates.

To facilitate the stacking cup challenge in your classroom, you will need plastic cups (the red plastic ones work really well), rubber bands, and string. Each team will receive six cups, a rubber band, and however many pieces of string you’ll need so that each student grabs onto one piece of string. I like doing the challenge in groups of four. However, grouping students in groups of six provides an extra challenge. Tie each piece of string to the rubber band, and then have students work toward stacking the cups in a pyramid using only the strings.

5 Activities to Create a Positive Classroom Culture

Daily Attendance Questions

Finally, another way to help facilitate classroom community (while also getting to know your students and their interests) is to have a daily attendance question. I use my daily attendance question as a way to take attendance. At the start of my class, I will announce to my students what the question is. I will also ensure that I check in with the first person on my roster to ensure they are ready before beginning. Once I make it all the way through the roster, I then answer the question myself. An added bonus to this classroom community strategy is that you’ll never forget to submit your attendance again!

Here is a brief list of some of my favorite attendance questions:
  • What is your favorite candy or sweet treat?
  • Who is your favorite superhero?
  • Who is your favorite villain?
  • What was your favorite childhood cartoon?
  • What is your favorite fast food restaurant?
  • If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
  • Where would you go if you could travel to any place in the world?
  • What is your favorite season?
  • Would you rather visit mars or the moon?
  • What is your favorite animal?

For even more classroom culture ideas, check out our previous post by Presto Plans about Five Ways to Build a Positive Classroom Community.

5 Activities to Create a Positive Classroom Culture

Additional resources for building classroom culture: