Observe your students as they enter the room before settling on a greeting.
Are they bouncing and skipping through the room, wrestling and using loud voices? If so, perhaps a calm greeting (like a straightforward “hello” passed around the circle) is best. Are students entering in a bad mood, snipping and sniping at each other? If so, consider a quick greeting that might lighten the mood and won’t put anyone “on the spot,” like a one-minute greeting, perhaps in a different language.
Remember the goals of belonging and significance.
When in doubt, make your greetings less about having fun and more about having everyone greeted in a friendly and respectful way. A goofy greeting that gets the class wound-up might be hard to recover from. Instead of trying to make the greeting fun, make sure it’s sincere!
On the other hand, perhaps your class could use some levity to help lighten a mood or get some extra energy flowing when everyone is tired. In this case, consider greeting each other with “Happy Holidays!” or “Good health and good cheer!” Consider the backgrounds of your students as you plan greetings to make sure everyone feels included in any holiday-themed greetings you choose.
Mike Anderson is an education consultant, award-winning teacher, and author of many books including The Well-Balanced Teacher, The First Six Weeks of School, The Research-Ready Classroom, and Learning to Choose, Choosing to Learn. Learn more about Mike and his work or invite him to work with your school or district through his website: www.leadinggreatlearning.com. Connect with Mike on Twitter: @balancedteacher.