Start Each Day With This Fun Classroom Strategy and Watch Your Students Thrive

Teacher Uses Inspiring Quotes to Start Each School Day & the Results Are Amazing

“Thank you for pushing me to where I needed to go”, written by an 11-year-old on the last day of virtual school this year. Wise words… but what exactly do they mean to you? How do you know where you need to go? How do you know when you get there? Conversations like these can spark powerful discussions with students, and go a long way towards creating a positive classroom culture

Poverty, parental stress, pressure to be perfect, plus a pandemic… our students come to class each day with a lot on their plates. As educators, it is no longer just our job to teach the three Rs; it is to inspire our students to be lifelong learners, to be good citizens, to provide opportunities and give kids the tools to take advantage of them.

One effective way to do this is to start each day, or one consistent day of the week, by having a class conversation about an inspiring quote. Running a virtual class? Post the quote and invite written discussion in a forum, or ask students to talk about it through a video sharing platform such as FlipGrid. Good quotes lead naturally into deep insight about character traits such as growth mindset, responsibility, kindness and courage. Group talk allows students to make connections, express their views, learn to acknowledge and respect others’ opinions, and feel that their truth is validated – all in a non-judgemental environment.

But where to get content is the question. It is easy to Google “inspiring quotes”, but to really allow rich, diverse, and inclusive conversations, you’ll want to seek the words of artists and leaders from a variety of backgrounds. Ask your older students to find quotes that speak to them and share these with the class. Connect with your students by mining inspiring phrases from current pop culture, hip hop, world leaders and historical figures. Make sure to read about the history of the quote and check the context in which it was said. Ensure that the person it is attributed to actually said it, too!

Here are a few to begin with:

For Younger Students:

“That might sound boring, but I think the boring stuff is the stuff I remember the most.” – Russell, from Disney’s Up

“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!” – Dory, from Disney Pixar’s Finding Nemo

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – Christopher Robin, from Winnie the Pooh by A.A.Milne

“Well maybe friend somebody / You give up last cookie for.” – Cookie Monster, in Sesame Street’s What is Friend? song 

For Middle Schoolers:

“Everybody makes a wrong turn once in a while.” – Ash Ketchum, Pokemon 

“Everybody stands, as she goes by. ‘Cause they can see the flame that’s in her eyes. Watch her when she’s lighting up the night.” – Girl on Fire, by Alicia Keys

“And I don’t really care if nobody else believes. ‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.” – Fight Song, by Rachel Platten

“Everybody’s creative. We create our songs and our paintings, our families and our children. Every one of us is on the cutting edge of the future.” Buffy Sainte-Marie, Canadian Indigenous artist, singer and songwriter

For High Schoolers:

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“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?” – The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

“Your voices matter, your dreams matter, your lives matter. Be the roses that grow in the concrete.” – The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

“We can’t change the world until we change ourselves.” – Biggie Smalls, AKA Notorious B.I.G.

“If you can’t do what you imagine, then what is imagination to you?” – Kid Cudi

“Sometimes you must hurt in order to know, fall in order to grow, lose in order to gain because life’s greatest lessons are learned through pain.” – Nagato from Naruto Shippuden

Finally, ask your students to write their own positive messages. Using our own students’ words to spark great discussions will ultimately be the most powerful inspiration of all. In the words of that wise middle-schooler, it will push them to where they need to go.

Also Check Out:

Start Each Day With This Fun Classroom Strategy and Watch Your Students Thrive

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Anne Lefebvre


I grew up in the city but now call small-town Ontario, Canada home, along with my husband and two teenage boys. I’m a passionate elementary school educator, but when I’m not at school you can find me playing a sport, reading, or drinking a cup of tea.

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