Post Promise: Classroom cheers aren’t only fun, they are an effective tool for teachers. Today, I will share with you the key benefits of using Cheer Cards in your Primary Classroom, whether you are teaching in-person or virtually. Stick to the end to find your free set of cheer cards (in English and Spanish) created with the QUEEN of classroom cheers, Dr. Jean Feldman.
Hello, Teacher Friend! I am so glad you have landed here on this information-packed (and very GIVING) post about how to use classroom cheers to activate your students’ brains and motivate them during learning. I want you to think of Classroom Cheers not only as a cute thing that students love, but as a powerful tool to help achieve learning success. First, let’s get clear about what classroom cheers are and then we’ll
What are Classroom Cheers?
A classroom cheer is a quick, fun and effective moment of praise provided to students during their learning to motivate, energize and engage. Although a regular on-looker may perceive this as just plain fun, classroom cheers are very beneficial to students (and their Teacher) on many levels.
Cheers (sometimes called chants, claps, etc.) are very enjoyable for students because they are silly, repetitive and provide a sense of connection. Teachers enjoy this technique as well because of the perks it provides their classroom community, management and student focus.
What are the Benefits of using Classroom Cheers?
As mentioned, classroom cheers are beneficial for both the Students and their Teacher. Let’s take a closer look how at the ways this simple classroom routine can reap rewards in your classroom. Please note that these are only a few of the vast number of benefits you can expect to see after incorporating classroom cheers on a consistent basis.
🧠 Cognitive: Movement, chanting and singing are all ways to activate multiple areas (and hemispheres) of the brain. Due to the highly-involved nature of classroom cheers, students are reaping the benefits of increased brain function.
Executive Function & Self-Regulation: The Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University published an online guide that describes Executive Function & Self Regulation as “the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully.” When you think about the complexity of the senses that cheers require and their quick start & stop structure, it is safe to assume that classroom cheers are an effective way to encourage growht in this area. That same article goes on to explain that when children are provided opportunity to develop this function, “individuals and society experience lifelong benefits.”
🏃♀️ Physical: Practicing and executing classroom cheers can help your students become more coordinated and motivated to move. In a World where technology-screens require minimal physical activity, this quick and simple burst of movement-paired vocals is a refreshing moment for our little ones.
🤝Inclusion: When a classroom of learners join together to produce a silly, loud and encouraging cheer- everyone feels a strong sense of togetherness and inclusion. Just as a crowd joins together to celebrate a sports team, your students are joining together to support themselves and each other. That is a deeply powerful use of your time, Teacher.
👍 Classroom Management: Utilizing classroom cheers effectively, can help you reach your management goals. Not only can cheers quieten a loud group of students, but they can also be used to transition between tasks or to simply re-focus in the middle of long, sometimes tedious lessons. Many teachers (myself included) also use cheers as a non-tangible classroom reward. During one of our LIVE webinar sessions (The Human Side of the Virtual Classroom), one teacher informed us that she used a cheer between each of her lessons as a motivational tool for student engagement.
🤼 Community Building: If you’ve ever been on a competitive team (or been a supporter of one), you know the power of cheerful words of encouragement. Classroom cheers can have this same, powerful effect on your learners. When used properly, cheers can add to the atmosphere in your classroom and encourage that irreplaceable sense of community we all strive to create. When you get that right, all other aspects of your job become easier.
❤Teacher-Student Connection: When you initiate and participate in classroom cheers, this strengthens your students perception of you (their Teacher) as someone they know, like and trust. When we have established this with our students, we can truly teach them at an optimal level.
How to Use Classroom Cheers
Now that you know why you should use Classroom cheers, let’s decide that we want to use them at the MOST EFFECTIVE level in our classrooms. Here are some tips in achieving the optimal level of success with classroom cheers.
Step 1: Mindset Shift
Begin by convincing yourself that this tool is powerful enough to include in your daily routine. Review the benefits mentioned above and remind yourself of them often, especially in times when classroom cheers may seem like too much hassle.
Step 2: Preparation
Before getting too carried away, let’s get our ducks in a row. To prepare for the implementation of classroom cheers, you need to have a plan and you need to learn them yourself. This list of suggestions can help you:
✔ Choose Visuals (Cheer cards, posters, cheer sticks, etc.): Dr. Jean and I have prepared a free set of 54 cheer cards (included below) to help!
✔ Prepare/Store Visuals: Print, laminate and organize your visuals and store them in an easy-to-access spot. We placed our cards on a ring, but Dr. Jean also suggests placing them in a “CHEERios” box so students can draw one out and proclaim, “we have a whole box of cheers!”
✔ Practice the cheers yourself so you feel competent and capable when introducing them to students. Thankfully, Dr. Jean has created video demonstrations of most of her cheers. Check out the one included here, but If you need help with any more- find them here on her YouTube channel.
Step 3: Demonstrate & Practice
Now, it is time to share this special gift with your students! Yay! We suggest starting with one or two and practicing those with consistency until students have mastered them. This adds to their comfort level and therefore, their participation in your cheers. When those are mastered, add more when you see students are ready and revisit prior cheers often enough for students to remember them all.
Download your FREE Cheer Cards HERE
I hope you’re as convinced as I am that CHEERS are POWERFUL tools to help activate and motivate your students. Thanks to the help of my dear friend, Jean Feldman- I’m able to provide this FREE set of Classroom Cheer Cards for you to snatch. We both would like to thank the AMAZING Carla Ureno for kindly volunteering her time to translate these into Spanish to help our ELL students! (I’m giving you a virtual fire-cracker cheer right now, Carla!)
To receive your free download, complete this form and I’ll shoot it straight over to your inbox! Note: Please use your personal email address as many school servers hide my goodies in the JUNK. (Shame on them! 🤪)
Our hope is that with this information and tool on your side, you can bring hundreds (maybe thousands) of moments of joy an fun to your little ones.
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Until we meet again, go make a difference Teacher friend!