A New Teacher’s Ultimate Guide to Building Classroom Culture-Day 4
I wanted my hall decorations to show my students what my classroom culture was going to be like therefore, I put Quentin and Mandy outside my door with the caption “Welcome Quality First Graders!” That way, they saw the word quality right away and I referred to that when they came to circle time the first day. In fact, I asked them if anyone knew what “quality” meant and then I read Quentin’s First Day book. The students got so excited when they saw Quentin and Mandy in the book because they were displayed outside my door! If you don’t have our book, you can choose characters from another book about school behavior.
If you are just now joining us, catch up below:
Quality Student Crowns
My students absolutely loved making the quality student crowns from our Back to School Bundle. This is another great way to build or reinforce classroom culture. My students all wore a symbol of our classroom culture. Just like the “S” for Superman, my students sport a “Q” for quality.
Quality Student Progressive Book
I sent my students back to their desks to complete the Quality Student Progressive books. This is an excellent activity for building a classroom culture that shows quality behavior. It is a book about what each letter in Quality stands for. You can get this in our Back to School Unit . The unit has 100 pages of fun activities in it, including the Quality Student song and fun penguin puppets to go with “Quentin’s First Day.” My students loved making the puppets after I read the book. The students used the puppets to retell the story. It is a fun activity for that first day when you are wondering how you are going to fill your day with engaging activities.
Students walked into the classroom and saw Quality Quentin throughout the room. They pointed at all the places they saw him. You can do this with your class mascot. They love seeing it throughout the room. This was another way that exhibited classroom culture.
Building Classroom Culture
We started our morning singing and dancing to the Quality Student song. Then we sat in a circle with our Quality Quentin mascot and went around the circle introducing ourselves, welcoming the friend next to us, and said, “I am a quality student because I_____________________________.”
It was so exciting to see the differences in how my students responded in the circle! I heard comments like, “I am a quality student because I helped my friend” or “I am a quality student because I listened to the teacher.”
Motions to Quality Student Song
The students acted out what the characteristics for each letter in quality stand for. Remember you can get the song for free!
Q-Quiet when we need to be-We all put our fingers up like we are shooshing someone.
U-Understanding towards others-We will pat a friend on the back.
A-Awesome in every way- We hold up our thumbs or the kids will do another action that makes them awesome.
L-We love to learn! We will point to our brains or act like we are holding a book.
I-We are all important parts- We just look important as we hold our arms down in an I formation
T-Team working together-Hold up arms in a T and move them up and down like we are exercising
Y-It’s up to you-We point at each other.
My students gave great examples of how they showed each characteristic of quality.
If you don’t have our Back to School Pack, then you could create a comprehension sheet to go with a book you choose on behavior.
After the students sang the quality student song and finished our class meeting, then I introduced the Quality Quentin dollars. I explained to my students that they could earn these dollars for showing characteristics of a quality student. They also earned them for AR points, if your school does Accelerated Reading. They collected 10 dollars and then used them for the store or special privileges such as extra computer time. They collected 20 dollars to have a special lunch with me in the classroom. I was surprised at how many of my students loved doing that! This is a free download in our store.
I put things in my store for gifts as well. Some of the students wanted to buy things for their sibling’s birthday or they would get something for Mom or Dad. How great is this?! They are thinking of others. You can create your own money with a picture of your classroom mascot. The students just love seeing their mascot on the dollars and taking that mascot home for being a quality student as we discussed on Day 1.
I also put up this class incentive page from the Back to School Pack and added the cute little Quentin penguins to it when the students showed quality student behavior. They loved it when another adult commented on how well they were behaving! Then we came into class and added a penguin to our glacier. When we had 10, we celebrated with extra recess or computer time or lunch in the room. I let the students vote on what they wanted to do. This is a great example of a token reward system, which I highly recommend. Read more about token systems HERE.
We read our quality student poem, and the students illustrated it and added it to their poetry notebooks. You can grab it for free or snag it in the Back to School Pack. We also included the poem as a pocket chart poem, which is great for a literacy center.
My students loved wearing their quality student crowns!
Check out the 100 page pack or pin for later!
Classroom Culture Exhibited in Writing
My students actually started drawing and writing about Quality Quentin on their own. Here are a few samples:
This one was written by one of my ELL students who didn’t speak a lot of English.
I promise- just one more! Two of my students got together and wrote this story. It is about an ocean animal bullying other animals and how Quentin teaches him how to be a quality animal!
First Page of their Book
Wow! It was so amazing to me how these students applied the concept of “quality” that they learned.
I also heard examples of our classroom culture during the day. “Juan is being a quality student because he is sharing his legos” or “Tommy isn’t acting like a quality student because he hit me!” Some of my students came up to me with a lego construction and said, “Look, Mrs. Beckner! We are a T-team working together!” The “t” in quality stands for “team”. I absolutely loved that they remembered that from the quality student song!
So, I hope that this series has helped new teachers as well as other teachers looking to build a quality culture in your classrooms! We would love to hear ideas for how you build your classroom culture!
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Hope your year is terrific!