By Michael McCarthy
Can anything go right? Engine light has just come on in the car, you deleted that important assignment for work, and to top it off you just realized you can’t afford that pair of ultra sleek running shoes that you’ve been longing after for months!
A terrible day by anyone’s standards—or is it? Quite frankly there are numerous positives lying within the seemingly terrible circumstances.
Engine light came on in your car, well at least you have a car—take a little look at the bus stop next time!
Assignment lost for work? Well at least you have a job, although maybe not for long!
Can’t afford those fancy runners? Millions of people go without—you’ll be okay with the less-fancy pair.
It’s quite obvious that I have chosen to take a positive outlook. This positive outlook is important for everyone and is a hugely important trait of any successful person, including our students.
We all want our pupils to succeed and become valuable members of society, so the question is: How do we encourage this positive outlook?
Here are six apps you can use today that will foster this positive outlook among students in your classroom.
1. Become Pragmatic
App: Positive Penguins
Positive people don’t just sit around and dwell on the negative events, they snap out of it and take action. So if your students come with their tales of woe and how this or that didn’t work out for them, take a proactive approach and ask what we can do to make the situation better! Remind students to focus on solutions to problems rather than the negativity the problem may create.
Applying such techniques to solving problems will help your pupils in the future as they realize that, with a proactive approach to solving problems, they can be overcome.
Bring in the tech: An excellent way for developing this problem-solving approach is a great app called Positive Penguins. “Positive Penguins is an award winning, top ranked, fun educational app developed for children to help them understand why they feel the way they do and help them challenge their negative thinking,” according to their website. “The app aims to help children understand their feelings come from their own thoughts not the situations.”
It’s available from the Google Play store and the Apple store.
2. Be Thankful
App: Mojo or Gratitude Journal
People that are positive are grateful. Students from an early age should practice a similar approach. “I’m Thankful for my Mom” or “I’m thankful for movie night on a Friday!” or “ I’m thankful for the gift of sight.” The things that they are thankful for can be mundane ordinary, but expressing their gratitude for these little things will help develop this positive outlook.
Bring in the tech: Keeping a gratitude journal is the first step to practicing gratitude. There are quite a few you can choose from, like Mojo or Gratitude Journal—Your Positive (the second one not available in the U.S.). Using the app will encourage children to think of the things they’re grateful for on a regular basis.
3. Show Examples of Positivity From Real Life
App: Famous People SMART Biography
We learn best from examples. Keep an eye out for people who have a positive approach to life or have a positive story to tell. You can find such people anywhere in the media, sports field or local community—the possibilities are really endless. The key: tell your students about these people as often as possible.
Your pupils are like sponges, fill them up with stories of positive people like Douglas Bader and you’ll find your child will begin to share some of these people’s qualities too.
Bring in the tech: I recently told the children in my class about the story of a man named Douglas Bader, a hero from World War II. I found him using this app, Famous People SMART Biography. The app catalogs world famous personalities, who have made a difference to the world by their work, along with their biographies.
4. Smile and Laugh
App: Jokes for Kids
It’s proven that when you smile you feel better. You can literally trick your body into feeling happy just by smiling. But, if you and your students don’t want to simply pretend to be happy and smile, why not find a reason?
Bring in the tech: In my class each Tuesday we do something called Joke Tuesday and I regularly use the app Jokes For Kids. It’s available from The Google Play store but there are plenty of other options available if you don’t like this one.
5. Daily Motivation
App: Quote of the Day
Keeping with the idea of you become what you surround yourself with, a positive classroom makes positive children. I regularly employ the use of motivational quotes and I will often show the children a good quote on the whiteboard as we transition between lessons. We have had great class discussions or moments of reflection because of this .
Bring in the tech: I really recommend the app called from Spark People called Quote of the Day. It’s available from the Google Play store and the Apple store.
6. Catch Your Students Being Good
App: Class Dojo
Praise your children constantly for the good things they do and try to find these things even on the worst days! There’s no need to make things up—always be genuine with praise—but remember to be generous, using positive language to describe your students. For example, “Another great school day for you Billy, you’re so clever!” or “ Are you cleaning up your desk John? You’re so responsible!”
Layer upon layer these complements and moments of praise build up and accumulate like strokes from a painters brush. In the end it will leave a masterpiece.
Bring in the tech: A great app for catching children to be on their best behavior is Class Dojo and you can give students’ avatars a point for each time it is successfully used. While class dojo is nothing new, if used correctly it can really bring positivity into the classroom. Remember, catch them being good—and never take a point away—to create a positive classroom environment.
Teaching a child in today’s world is a challenge, teaching a child with a positive outlook is an even greater one. However in doing so you are providing them with one of the truly essential keys to unlocking a happy, successful and noteworthy life. So give some of these tips a go and begin to make positivity an important part of your classroom life.