As I mentioned in my previous blog, Dr. Bailey’s Conscious Discipline has principles that really resonate with me and how I like my classroom to function. She has some really fun ways to greet students in the morning and a cool way for students to get involved.
Remembering that children need to feel safe, I think how we greet each other every morning is an important key. While working on my M.Ed, one of my professors was very passionate about saying hello to every child, every morning. He said that it is the best way to build relationships and start the day on a positive note. It also gives you information on how children are feeling coming into school for the day. Since then I have always tried to start my day at the door to greet students as they enter the building or my room, depending on the facility I have been at. Showing children you are excited to see them and glad that they are at school says a lot to them, even if they are having a rough morning. Your excitement eventually gives them encouragement and excitement to be at school as well.
I also feel it is important for them to greet each other. This helps them to begin to understand that our classroom is built of a group of adults and students who care about each other. Dr. Bailey in her 'Conscious Discipline' demonstrates having a class greeter as one of our daily jobs for children. The class greeter in my classroom has a plate with four different types of greetings (that can change) on it and the class greeter goes around to each student and asks them how they would like to be greeted for the day. Each child then has a choice on how they want to be greeted, giving students that are shy a simple thumbs up, wave, or smile and students that need a little sensory a pinky hug, butterfly, or snake greeting. With covid we have been only using the non-touch greetings like wave, thumbs up, heart, blinks, or a smile, however, I feel there is real value in giving our sensory students the opportunity to receive that additional input.
Having children greet each other by name helps from the beginning of the school year to help students learn each other's names and to show respect for each other. I also teach them that if they do not remember a friend’s name it is all right to ask them what their name is. Again, giving children the tools they need to be kind and caring in their social interactions.
Here are some ideas for greetings:
- Wave - wave to your friend, say good morning, _____ (name), they wave back and say
- good morning, _____ (name).
- Thumbs Up - same as a wave only each student gives the thumbs up sign.
- Smile - students smile at each other as they say good morning.
- Heart - students make a heart with their hands and say good morning.
- Wink or Blinks - students give a wink or blink at each other as they say good morning.
- Handshake - students shake hands and say good morning.
- High Five - students give each other a high five and say good morning.
- Fist Pump - students make a fist and touch their knuckles to each others as they say good
- Hug - students give each other a hug.
- Pinky Hug - students lock pinky fingers and say good morning.
- Butterfly - students lock thumbs at their hips and pump their fingers as wings raising their
- hands to their shoulders “Butterfly says Hi.”
- Snake - students place a flat hand on the other students elbow, sliding their hands down the arm and across their friends hand into a snake head “Sssssssso glad to see you.”
~ Amy Stedman - PKC Teacher / Endless Mountain Learning Center, INC.