Hal tells students that negative words can be as powerful as spraying poison in a classroom, so he uses an aerosol spray can as a visual reminder to all to keep their words from being poisonous. I made one for my desk. Here's a photo.
I pick up the can whenever I hear any name-calling, whining, complaining or any other type of negative talk and remind everyone not to "spray poison". This really works. I knew that for sure the day I walked by another classroom and heard one of my French students instructing their classmates to stop spraying poison. It's a simple way to raise everyone's awareness of what's coming out of their mouths.
After several strategic discussions about manners and the power of words, I ask students to write the rules of our classroom. Here's a photo of my students pledging to themselves and to me that they would do their best to follow the rules they've written this year.
These are just a few of the things I learned from Hal. Taking the time to implement these ideas has resulted in a truly positive classroom environment where mutual respect is the norm. I highly recommend it.
BE the change you want to see in the world. It can start with YOU in your classroom!