Celebrate Your Students With Cheers! September 17 2010

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One of my favorite teachers would reward us with "Brownie Points" on an imaginary chalkboard when we did something well, answered a question correctly or made good choices.

I have never forgotten it, mostly because although there were no actual "Brownie Points," they still made me feel good when I got one! And while it wasn't officially a cheer, I have  employed similar strategies in my own classroom, pretending to be a cheerleader with imaginary pom poms as one example.

No matter how many times I cheered for and with my students, they were always entertained. Those few stolen moments of silliness will make a HUGE difference when building good rapport with your kids.

Use a variety of cheers to celebrate your students' learning steps, concept mastery, student presentations, participation during class discussions or answer attempts - anything! Teach these cheers during the beginning of the year to use all year long.

Quiet Cheers

Cheering doesn't have to be loud and obnoxious to be fun. Use the following cheers to quietly encourage your students and teach them to appreciate each other.

Sign Language Applause - spread hands wide, raise them in the air and rotate them quickly back and  forth

Poetry Applause - snap index fingers and thumbs of both hands quickly

The Golf Clap - Lightly tap fingers of one hand onto the palm of the other, and make the face of a very "proper" person

Silent Cheer - Allow your kids to jump around and wave their hands in the air, as long as they are COMPLETELY SILENT

Text Cheer - Follow the texting generation and "text" W-O-W to you classroom, using your index, middle and ring fingers for the W, and thumb and index finger for the O.

"Great" Cheese Cheer - Hold up one arm and call that the Grater. Hold up your other fist and call that the Cheese. Rub your fist on your arm while declaring "Great, great, great job!"

Musical Cheers

One good element of these particular cheers is that whether or not you like singing, you don't have to do it well to make these fun.

Good Job Song - Remember the "Good Bye" song from high school football games? "Na na na na! Na na na na! Hey, hey, hey! Good Job!"

That's the Way - Disco never dies with this cheer. When your kids are doing particularly well, break into song with "That's the way - uh huh, uh huh - I like it - uh huh, uh huh." They will NEVER forget it!

Disco Cheer - Remember John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever? Stick out your left hip, and hold your right arm in the air. Point your right index finger and move your arm diagonally up and down while singing "Ah, ah ah ah awesome job, awesome job" to the tune of Stayin' Alive.

Movement Cheers

These cheers involve some form of movement and can be quieter or louder depending on your preference.

The Rollercoaster - Lean back, pretending you're on a roller coaster, saying chk-chk-chk-chk-chk until you reach the top of the hill, then say wooooooo! woooooo! on the way down!

The Choo Choo Train - When you want to appreciate someone, everyone chime in with a "chuga-chuga-chuga-chuga- woo! hoo!"

Fireworks - Put your palms together in front of you. Make a sizzling sound (ssss) and wiggle your palms as if they are a firecracker going off. Clap your hands above your head and wiggle your fingers down like the sparkles from a firework. Say "aaaahhhhh," like a crowd watching.

Round of Applause - Simply clap your hands while moving your arms in a circular motion.

Cowboy Cheer - one finger in the air and circle it around like a lasso while saying "Yeee Haw!"

These cheers provide connections with your students while teaching them how to appreciate themselves and each other.