I give/receive about 77 high fives a day in the 4 hours I teach in the holiday tutoring we’ve been doing every morning. The high five has become a sacred ritual in my classrooms, given for correct answers, at the end of each class period as a goodbye, and at the end of the school day as another goodbye. Other rituals have developed as well (the 2nd graders always hide before I enter the classroom. I then proceed to act really baffled as to where they have all gone, before they pop out from behind their desks to surprise me. I have to say, this is adorable. But I think the 1st graders win on adorable rituals. When they see I’m coming, they all put their heads down on their desks and pretend to be sleeping. It’s adorable, and it’s the quietest they’ll be all day. I then proceed to declare I simply MUST wake them up for class, through a means of tickling them and shouting, WAKE UP WAKE UP! These take about 3 minutes of class time, but put the students in a happy mood so it’s worth it). But the most used and cherished rituals is of course, the high five.
Yesterday I finally counted because I was curious just how many times I engage in what to me is a really amazing gesture for the following reasons.
High fives are fun. This makes them an ideal positive reinforcement tool for young children, and great way to motivate them for a lesson. Can you add and write the answer? Boring. Can you add and write the answer to receive a high five? WHY, YES I CAN TEACHER!
High fives are friendly. They allow someone to come into your personal space for a brief moment of intimacy that says, “yes, let’s be friends.”
High fives are appropriate. Boy? Girl? Old? Young? No problem. Everyone can get a high five without feeling uncomfortable.
High fives are versatile. The 1st grade students have now become fans of the psych out first high five, in which they purposefully miss the first time because it makes everyone laugh, and then they come back for another. After this became old, one little boy named Akim snuck over to an empty seat on the other side of the room which I hadn’t reached yet in my high five tour so that he could get a second one, much like the never ending line of goodbye kisses Snow White gives the seven dwarves. I giggled endlessly. The 2nd graders have become a fan of the high five while jumping, which requires both parties to jump, and I don’t mind this at all. The 3rd graders have introduced the double high five, using both hands. And the 5th graders have introduced the “pound it” knuckle punch after the high five. This is a sacred ritual, I’m telling you guys!
There are two downsides. 1) My hand is the color of a tomato at the end of the day (but it’s well worth it) and 2) it’s amazing how many germs must be spreading. But I think we’re spreading even more love.