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Eyes and a Handshake

Okay, so maybe it’s a fist pump, an elbow bump, a nod of the head- but teach people how to greet people.

This is certainly closely related to my last post about noticing people. This is a great step towards learning about your students, and teaching them to learn about each other.

I would line my kids up outside the door, as they entered from anything- before class, after recess, anything.

As each student walked in the door, I would shake their hands, look them in the eye and make a personal statement or comment.

  • How was your soccer game this weekend?
  • What did you not enjoy from your lunch?
  • What makes that hat special to you?
  • Thank you for arriving with a positive attitude. It really makes my day.
  • Is there something you’d like to do in math today?
  • Do you have a good joke? I think everyone would love to start the day with a joke.
  • It sounds like our break might have been tough for you. Come talk with me when everyone starts reading. I want to hear your thoughts.
  • Did someone impress you or surprise you today?
  • Oh my- did you get your ears pierced?
  • Thank you for showing up today- I look forward to hearing what you think about geography today.
  • If you need a minute, take one. Just sit down and breathe for a minute. When you’re ready, join the activities of the class.
  • What do you plan to do for someone else today?
  • That yellow is an awesome representation of your energy.
  • Would you like to do group work or solo work in our next lesson?

It takes a while- 10 minutes or so. The kids get to breathe both before and after they talk with you. They love to listen in on the questions. Sometimes I challenge them to greet someone they see (another adult or student that enters the room- or send them on a covert mission to greet someone and report back).

It sounds so silly- but goodness, what skills! The beauty of learning to greet someone and mean it.

It’s a start to noticing our students- a start to helping them believe we really do mean it’s a better place for their presence.

Pertinent Research:

Edutopia article on Welcoming Students with a Smile

K-12 Dive- Research on Positive Effects of a Greeting

Numbers to Back It Up: It’s Worth the Time!

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One Comment

  1. Good point. It’s a social skill and basic courtesy in our western culture to greet people. I love that you incorporate it into a daily exchange. Many people, kids and adults, do not practice this basic point of etiquette and geniality, of greeting someone. Thanks for a fresh perspective

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