With my third graders, it seems that when you get one hug, you then get a line of hugs. It's the power of positivity and happiness! You see, in the mornings (or when we line up after class) there is almost always one student who will saunter over to me and sneak a hug. Well, they're not really sneaking because the rest of the class always sees and that's what prompts at least three or four more students to come over for a hug.
For example, today when we were walking into the auditorium for dismissal, one student came up to me for a hug and before I knew it, I was hugging the four kids left in my line who hadn't entered yet, one by one.
It seems this goes against my earlier teaching goal of "rule the classroom through fear" and instead I'm "ruling through hugs." And it seems to be working! No matter how bored a kid may look in class, or how big a pain they may be in class, they will always appreciate some form of positive acknowledgement outside the classroom.