Classroom celebrations

Being able to maintain appropriate behaviour during classroom celebrations allows for positive interactions with others.

Choose the statement below that best describes how this student participates in classroom celebrations.
This will help you identify a starting point for selecting strategies (e.g., 1=specialized, 2=targeted, 3=universal).

  • 1. Requires individual support to facilitate interactions with peers and/or support appropriate behaviour and/or ensure student safety during this type of social event
  • 2. Requires frequent (e.g., more than three times per event) adult supervision to maintain appropriate behaviour during this type of social event
  • 3. May require occasional (e.g., less than two times per event) reminders but generally demonstrates appropriate behaviour for this type of social event

Universal Supports benefit all students

  • Ensure that all planned classroom celebrations are organized to maximize student engagement and have:
    • clear goals and purposes
    • structures and activities that are engaging and meaningful to students
    • reasonable timelines (e.g., start and finish on time, all activities can be completed with timelines, minimal downtime between activities).
  • Choose activities thoughtfully to ensure all activities are inclusive and all students can participate and be successful. Consider how competitive activities might affect behaviour and/or tone of celebration.
  • Communicate clear expectations about behaviour and participation during class celebrations prior to the actual event.
  • Develop effective routines that support positive behaviour and participation during classroom celebrations, such as:
    • previewing goals and program schedule with students prior to celebration
    • planning for active supervision.
  • Teach, practise and review routines that are unique to the celebration one to three times before the event.
  • Plan for extra supervision needed, such as parent or community volunteers or buddies from another grade. Assign clear roles and responsibilities to volunteers and provide them with activity schedules, behaviour expectations and tips for supporting individual students.
  • Preview the purpose and program for each upcoming celebration so students have a general idea of what to expect.
  • Post visual reminders for behaviour expectations in the learning space where the celebration will take place and review reminders before the event. When appropriate, collaborate with students to develop the behaviour expectations.
  • Use descriptive feedback to acknowledge positive behaviour demonstrated by individuals, groups of students and/or the class as a whole.

Targeted Supports benefit students with more specific needs

  • Pair individual students with positive peers who can serve as role models and provide support during classroom celebrations.
  • Provide proximity by positioning yourself (or a volunteer supervisor) nearby individual students who may require support during the celebration.
  • For students who require more structure and reassurance, develop and review social stories about what will happen during the celebration.
  • Provide calming activities (e.g., puzzles, blockplay) as alternate or free-choice activities for students who are easily overstimulated.
  • For individual students who have had difficulties at previous class celebrations, develop self-monitoring strategies students can use to reflect on and keep track of their own behaviour during celebrations.

Specialized Supports benefit the small number of students with sensory, physical, cognitive or behavioural needs that require intensive, individualized interventions

  • For students with intense sensitivities to sound, explore the use of ear plugs to minimize sounds during activities with loud sound, such as band performances or cheering.
  • Consider limited-time participation for students who experience intense agitation or anxiety during special events. They may benefit from participating in the event for a short time (e.g., five minutes) and then gradually increasing the time at each event throughout the school year.
  • If needed, provide coaching for peers on specific strategies for engaging students who require more support (e.g., how to encourage eye contact, importance of one-step directions, using concrete language, using high-fives and handshakes to acknowledge and encourage effort).
  • In exceptional situations, an individual student may need 1:1 adult support to facilitate participation and social interaction with peers. This support should be provided as unobtrusively as possible and should include developing strategies for developing skills for independence.