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Classroom Management Hack: You Are My Sunshine

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Show Notes:

When it comes to classroom management, we often hear strategies to manage challenging student behavior. But what about those students who do something kind for others without being asked? This week’s classroom management hack is going to help you show those students you appreciate them!

This hack is called You Are My Sunshine, and it's such a fun and easy way to build positivity into your classroom. 

Whenever you see a student do a random act of kindness, or just something helpful that they weren't expected or asked to do, you just say the student's name followed by "you are my sunshine".

For example, you might say "Avery, you are my sunshine!".

Then they get to put a popsicle stick in a little library pocket with their name on it. 

You’ll put out a class display of a library pocket for each child. You can put it in your reading corner, or wherever your class gathers in a space together. 

When your students get five sunshines, they get an exclusive lunch with you! I’m telling you, they absolutely love it. 

When I say an exclusive lunch with you, that could mean that you have the student bring their own lunch and they get that exclusive time with you. Don't feel like you need to provide lunch for the student, but you could do something like bring a cupcake for dessert so that they feel extra special.

This positive reinforcement really builds a wonderful class environment because kids are always trying to find ways to earn a sunshine. You’re going to find that consequences are needed less and less when your students are constantly working towards getting that positive reinforcement,  rather than you constantly telling them what they shouldn't be doing. 

If you love this idea, and you want to use it inside your classroom, I have some free simple sunshine templates that you can grab and use in your classroom. Simply print, laminate, cut out, and paste them to the tops of popsicle sticks. Hot glue will get the job done quickly! Head to my post about this hack on Instagram @beginningteachertalk to grab those templates.

It really is such a fun way to remind us to be watching for all of the things our students are doing right in our classrooms and to stay focused on the positive so we can build kids up. These relationships with our students are going to make all the difference in terms of creating a positive classroom environment throughout the year.

Don't forget to take my 4-question quiz to get your curated Beginning Teacher Talk playlist:

For those of you who are still on the job search and you haven't landed your teaching position yet, I have something for you! You can download my free interview guide where I walk you through how you can prepare for your interview, how you can create a teaching portfolio, the kinds of interview questions that they typically ask, and how you can answer them. This guide will also show what you can do after the interview to really make yourself stand out and land that job. You can download the guide here.

I've realized, as I've started recording these hacks for you each week, that I can make it even easier for you to implement many of these ideas if you have access to simple, downloadable templates for many of the hacks. 

So when you check out my Dr. Lori's Dollar Store, you're going to see that I'm creating very simple templates for you to grab and go with for only a dollar each. Then you can implement these hacks quickly and easily inside your classroom (as soon as tomorrow!). 

I would love to know what you think about these classroom management hack mini episodes. It would mean so much to me if you would take a screenshot of this episode and tag me on Instagram @beginningteachertalk because I’d love to know – have you tried this hack in your classroom? How did it work for you?

Finally, if you need help with streamlining your classroom management right away, you also might want to check out my Chaos to Confidence Classroom Management System because classroom management isn’t just about tips and tricks or the latest trend. Instead, it’s about learning from someone who’s been where you are and figured it out. 

I tested all my methods on MYSELF in my own classroom first over 10 years – because I’m not about to recommend ANYTHING that I haven’t personally seen work with kids firsthand.

It's never too late to make the changes you need to in order to get your classroom running the way that you want it to, and I'll show you how inside Chaos to Confidence and give you the resources you’ll need to make it happen. 

Related Links & Resources:

I hope this information is helpful as you prepare for your first, second, or third year of teaching. Until next time, remember, just because you're a beginning elementary teacher, there's no need for you to struggle like one.

πŸ’› Lori

Dr. Lori Friesen | Beginning Teacher Mentor

Creator of the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy, Dr. Lori Friesen has mentored thousands of beginning teachers across the country through her workshops and courses. Host of the popular podcast, Beginning Teacher Talk, and creator of the innovative literacy program for 1st and 2nd grade, Dogs Help Kids Read and Succeed, Dr. Lori is dedicated to serving educators and inspiring learners. Learn more at and at

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