Positive Classroom Environment

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Positive Behavior in the Classroom

Over the course of first semester I had the chance to attend many ongoing conferences with Margie Shean. Margie brings 37 years of educational experience to her conferences. Margie specializes in positive behavior support and data teams.

Top 5 Tips for a More Positive Classroom

Margie Shean suggests these five tips for how to have a more positive classroom environment.

Tip #1-Develop Relationships

Relationships with students are the most important thing that teachers can develop with students. When students feel like their teachers' care about them they feel safe in their environment and know that making mistakes is okay. Develop relationships by doing simple things like attending sporting events (both inside and outside school), encouraging letters home, eating lunch together or talking outside in the bus lot.

Tip #2- Mind your P's

There are two important P's to remember: Predictable and Proactive.

Predictable-When you have a predictable classroom students know what to expect in your room. There are no surprises in the way that your class is run.

Proactive- Being proactive in the classroom means that you are one step ahead of the kids in the room. When you plan something, take a step back and think about what a student might do and how they might misbehave. Address those possible obstructions before they even start.

Tip # 3- Welcome Diversity

Every student that walks into your classroom has a story that is unique to them. Be a classroom that welcomes diversity and respects the individuality of all the students. Allow students to show their diversity in their work and in the ways they learn. Teaching students to be true to themselves is a life skill that all children need to have.

Tip #4- Positive Focus

As teachers we often focus our time on the negative that happens in our classroom. With all our attention focused on the students who are misbehaving we often forget about the students who are following (and sometimes exceeding) the expectations that have been set for the classroom. In order to increase the positivity in the classroom focus on those individuals and ignore the minor misbehaviors of others.

Tip #5- F.A.I.L.= First Attempt In Learning

Creating an environment in which failure is accepted as a positive aspect of learning and not as a negative is important for student success. When individuals can view their failures in a positive light it helps them grow; both academically and emotionally.

Next Steps:

As we wrap up 1st semester and move forward with the rest of the school year, there are three things that will help teachers start off January in a more positive environment.


  1. Reflect on First Semester - Make a list of everything that is working well in your classroom. After you have spent some time reflecting on the positive, list the things that you wish went better or the areas that you can strengthen. Starting with the positive helps you realize that not everything is going terribly.
  2. Build on Your Sucess- After you have made your list of positive things happening in your classroom, start building on those positive things. What makes one hour of the day "click" better than other? Can you find a way to weave those successes into other classes or hours?
  3. Don't be Afraid to Start Over- If something isn't working; don't keep it. When you come back in January start something new. Have a conversation with your students about how the classroom hasn't been working and now we are going to try something different. Make a positive classroom the one New Year resolution that you keep!