In my book The Good News Chair: A Simple Tool for Shaping a Child’s Positive Behavior and Self-Image you will read about the special Chair that sat in my office when I was an elementary school principal. Good News Chairs have now sat not only in my office but also in many classrooms and in the homes of parents and grandparents. Mine was painted to call attention to itself. Yours might be as simple as a pillow, a stool, the teacher’s chair, or a special spot on the floor or carpet.
As a teacher you will see how a Good News Chair can support a classroom and/or school management plan, alter the classroom culture, or be tied to the academic program. The Good News Chair can be a place to share:
- helping a classmate?
- following a classroom rule?
- completing an assignment in a timely manner?
- moving to a new reading level?
- getting to school on time?
All the teachers I’ve spoken with about using the Good News Chair agree that the teacher needs to introduce the Chair with a little “Ta da!” and then talk to the children about how and when the Chair will be used. Here are some tips from the teachers:
- Let the children share whatever they feel is good news. News can range from sharing about a camping trip, to getting a new pet, to a geocaching adventure, to anything else… the child decides what is “good.”
- The Chair can be used to recognize achievement of a particular classroom goal. Learning a set of number facts or a perfect spelling test might warrant a trip to the Chair. Likewise, a child who shows respect or kindness can take a turn in the Chair.
- Require students to sign up for a turn in the Chair. Set aside a specific time each day for using the Chair.
- Think of sharing as a way to give students an opportunity to speak in front of the class, listen to a classmate, and ask questions of one another, skills that need to be taught and practiced anyway.
- Capture the good news and send it home in the class newsletter as another way of sharing with parents what is going on at school. Dr. Haim Ginot, a recognized authority on child development, wrote, “If you want your children to improve, let them overhear the nice things you say about them to others.”
Teachers, do you have a unique and effective way to recognize and celebrate your students’ achievements? Please share.
My best to you and your students,