10 Fun Ways to Reinforce Good Behaviors and Team Building during Classroom Counseling Lessons

This week I attended the AVID summer institute in San Antonio, TX and learned my roll as a school counselor for this college readiness program. Advancement Via Individual Determination, AVID for short, is a program that helps the "middle" students to learn life skills like organization, study skills, collaboration, note-taking, and more, that will help them be successful in their college or career.

In the midst of learning about all things AVID, I couldn't help but notice how effective and fun some classroom management strategies were. They kept all 50 of us on task, engaged, and enjoying ourselves.

1. Waterfall: When us adults were getting a little loud or unfocused, the instructors would say "waterfall." We would all stop what we were doing and wiggle our fingers while moving our hands down, and making a the noise of a waterfall. Once we did this a few times, we easily recognized this as a sign that we need to bring our attention back to the teachers. It was very effective!

2. Sparkler: When a student answers a question and it is the correct answer, you may reward them by having the entire class due the sparkler. This is when the students hold their pointer finger up and use their other hand to snap around the pointer finger, giving the effect that it is a sparkler. It sounds so silly, but we as adults loved it, so I know the students absolutely will. It will make the student that answered the question correctly feel confident about their answer and more likely to volunteer again.

3. Golf Clap: When a student deserves recognition for something good, you instruct the class to do a golf clap. The students pretend they are swinging a golf club, make a click noise like the ball made contact with the club, then they hold their hand up to their forehead like they are looking for the ball in the air, and clap quietly to show their approval.

4. Round of Applause: This one is super simple! You just have the students clap their hands in the shape of a circle. This is usually given when a student answers a question well or brings up a good point.

5. The Hamburger: When the class completes an activity well the hamburger is the perfect choice to celebrate. Tell the students that they deserve a hamburger. The students should put their hand out, shake it while making sizzling noises as if it is on a grill. The students then pull it back and say "not done" and go back to sizzling it on the grill. The students pull their hand back again and say "still not done," and go back to sizzling it on the girl. This time when the students pull their hands back they say "Well Done."

6. Silent Clap: Say you have a headache or you know a teacher has students taking a test next door and it needs to be quiet, you can have the students do a silent clap. Which is when the students stay seated but wave their hands wildly above their heads.

7. Grate the Cheese: When there is a a good answer or a successful activity. The students are to put one hand out and say "Here is the cheese.", after they hold their other hand out and say "Here is the grater," then they bring their hands together and make the motion as if they are grating cheese and say "grate, grate, grate, grate job!" How freaking cute is that!

8. Power Woosh: You can use this to regain attention from your students. You just say "power woosh" and they will do 2 claps on the table, followed by 2 claps of their hands, then make an ocean wave with their hands while saying "woosh." An ocean wave motions looks like holding both hands in front of you, diving them down and then back up, as if they are riding a wave.

9. Rubber Band: This one is very simple and be used to refocus your students or reward a good answer. When you say "rubber band" the students are to put their hands in front of them, stretch them out as if they are trying to stretch a rubber band that is wrapped around their hands. They repeat this gesture three times, each time they "stretch" this imaginary band, their hands move further apart. After the 3rd time, they act as if the rubber band snapped and they clap their hands quickly together.

10. Roller Coaster: When you give instructions and you feel like the class understand what you are saying, you can tell them to do a roller coaster. The students act like they are going up the hill of a roller coaster while making the clicking noises, right after have them lean left then right and say "Wee" when they shift. Then they act like they are going down the roller coaster hill and say "I am down with that."

These sound juvenile, but I can tell you from first hand experience they will work for all grade levels. I was in a room filled with 50 adults and we were all so excited when they would prompt us to do one of these. We did not complain, we enjoyed the movement and it kept us engaged for the three, 9 hour day of our AVID conference.