Teachers clap about students

Meaningful rituals for school, class and teaching

Rituals determine most of the daily interaction in school. They can be built into different teaching phases and designed differently, but they always have the same effect on children, as well as parents and teachers: rituals provide security!

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Provide clear structures

Why do teachers even work with rituals? After all, both the introduction and the consistent implementation of recurring patterns cost a lot of time on the one hand and energy on the other.

The reasons for that are complex. Rituals structure the chronological sequence and the spatial events inside and outside the classroom. From an organizational point of view, they bring great relief in everyday life, e.g. by optimizing the change in social forms and thus saving valuable teaching time or creating peace. Another reason to work with rituals is in the social field. Rituals give the students support in their daily interactionand reduce fears. Children in particular, who have difficulty getting involved in new situations, can rely on the rites for something that recurs. They are familiar with the rituals after a very short time and structure the morning of the class in a familiar way. This makes it easier for them to get involved with all the other, new content.

Create meaningful rituals tailored to your class

There are various rituals in everyday teaching. You will find some of them in more detail below.

Which rituals are suitable for your class always depends on your students (age, behavior, class composition), but also on your “status”. For a class leader with many hours per week in the class, it is often easier to introduce and consolidate rituals than for a subject teacher with a few hours. In addition, the respective subject plays an important role.

Not every ritual really always makes sense. So weigh up for yourself which of the rites listed below are practicable and useful in your lessons.

Rituals for the beginning and the end of the school day:

  • Welcome rituals:
    - Standing circle
    - song
    - prayer
    - Greetings in other languages
    - Weather report in other languages
  • Weekly schedule (in the time before the start of the class):
    - Compulsory and additional tasks for the fast
    - Scope and topics depending on the grade
    - Self-control or correction by the teacher
  • Farewell rituals:
    Standing circle
    - song
    - Adoption in other languages
    - Reflection on the past day: This can e.g. B. can be done by assigning different symbols on a class weather board (thunderstorm, cloudy, sunny).
    - Thumb plucking: the students close their eyes and become calm. Anyone who has been plucked is allowed to leave the classroom.
  • At the beginning of the week:
    - Define class-internal weekly resolutions: At the end of the week, these should be reflected on.
    - Talking about the weekend or the holidays: The class meets in a sitting circle and children tell e.g. B. with a narrative stone about their experiences. The number of narrators should be agreed in advance.
    - Write weekend or holiday stories and then read them out

Rituals for a quiet learning environment:

  • Silence sign:
    - Bell or singing bowl: When the sign sounds, the students calm down, cross their arms and look at the teacher.
    - Hand movement: the teacher demonstrates the corresponding movement, the students imitate it and stop conversations.
    - Clapping: the teacher claps any rhythm, the students join in and become silent.
  • Clean up music:
    - With a certain song the students begin to tidy up and then sit quietly in their place.
  • Fantasy journey / meditation
  • Read out a selected class register
  • Minute of silence:
    - Students sit absolutely still and motionless for one minute. If someone speaks or moves, the minute starts again.

Rituals for structured work:

  • Change to different social forms:
    The pupils know their exact seat during group work, in a sitting circle or in a semicircle in front of the blackboard. In addition, they know in which way and in which way they have to come together in the corresponding social form. The change takes place on a certain signal.
  • Differentiation material:
    The various work assignments are located in a specific location and can be freely selected depending on the capabilities. The different levels of difficulty are always marked in the same way by corresponding colors or symbols.
  • Assistance or research assignments:
    These are always in the same place (e.g. on the back of the board) and are freely accessible to everyone.
  • Time guard:
    A student receives an egg timer and sets the specified processing time. Then he also pays attention to the observance of the time and draws the attention of students and teachers to this.

Rituals for a good togetherness:

  • Discussion and class rules:
    The jointly created rules should be posted in the classroom and visible to everyone. In this way, the teacher can react immediately to disregard and point out the corresponding agreement.
  • Class services:
    The compiled services are displayed in the classroom for everyone to see. They change in a fixed time rhythm and according to a certain order. The quality of the implementation and the cooperation between the partners should be reflected upon at the end of the service period.
  • Suggestion box:
    Students can write down their frustration and then put the letters in the box. The problems are discussed and clarified regularly in plenary sessions (preferably in a fixed hour at the end of the school week).
  • Class Council:
    Pupils enter disputes (session content) on a form and these are regularly discussed and clarified under the direction of the class representative.

Rituals for special days:

  • Birthday party:
    - song
    - Birthday mail: classmates write cards to the birthday child, which are then read out in the seat circle.
    - Lucky stone: A stone chosen by the birthday child is passed around in a circle and the classmates express good wishes into it. The stone serves as a good luck charm for the coming year.
    - Birthday candle: This is lit at the beginning of the celebration and blown out at the end with a secret wish.
    - Game: The birthday child can choose a game, e.g. B. for physical education.
  • Advent celebration:
    - Jewelry: It doesn't have to be a Christmas decoration in the classroom, but it is always popular with younger students.
    - Wichteln: Each student brings a packaged, gender-neutral gift (max. 2 euros). Now a different child can choose a present every day.
    - Reading advent calendar: It is also possible to get a story advent calendar for the class. This consists of a continuous Christmas story that is "broken down" into 24 individual parts. Each day a part is read out either by the teacher or by a student.

Rituals for the whole school:

  • Class Representative Conferences:
    A teacher is in charge. The meetings take place at regular intervals and are compulsory for all class representatives. During the sessions, those present discuss various current issues and look for suitable solutions.
  • Suggestion box:
    The suggestion box can be used by both students and parents.
  • Sponsors for the newbies:
    The school newcomers get older pupils as helpers who accompany them at the beginning and support them during the acclimatization period.
  • Wellbeing motto:
    Behind this term is a monthly changing social motto that is displayed in the school building and applies to everyone. At the end of the month, the classes reflect on whether and how well attention has been paid to adhering to the motto.

The author Julia Schlimok is a teacher at the primary school in Mertingen and has been looking after prospective teachers in their first year of training for several years.

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