As I’ve mentioned before, fostering the development of a positive and supportive classroom community is a high priority for me. One of the ways I support this is through my classroom Shout-Out circles. At the onset, I teach students about the purpose of having a Shout-Out circle and expectations around what a Shout-Out should focus on.
At first students are not always quite sure what to make of it and initially the most outgoing students are usually the only ones to speak up. However, over time an organic shift occurs and what was initially an awkward exchange of compliments becomes a natural interaction where the students are almost talking over each other to ensure they share their Shout-Outs.
Gradually, this natural interaction extends beyond the designated circle and subtly becomes a regular occurrence in our classroom culture. This awareness, of the good others are doing, becomes a point of sincere focus. Students are giving each other Shout-Out’s not because they want one in return, but rather due to the intrinsic feeling gained from spreading kindness with no expectations.
I am consistently touched by what is shared in our Shout-Out circles and what I happen to just overhear as students are interacting with each other throughout the school day. The sincere, thoughtful, and insightful observations that the students begin to make about each other and any other individual that enters our classroom community never ceases to amaze me.