Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Little Things #EdChat

The school year is starting for some and just around the corner for others. As I get closer to having students in my classroom, I start to reflect on the different things I can do to make my class an environment that supports learning. These are some of the simple things I have done over the years that can make a difference in the classroom this year.

1. Greeting at the door - I used to use the passing time between classes as a catch up time at my desk. My head buried in papers as kids got themselves situated. I have found that greeting students at the door with a smile, wave, or a high five is a great way to start a class with positivity Another bonus of this was the students in the hallway that I did not teach that would stop in and say hello with their friends. They felt welcomed into my classroom even though I was not their teacher. That is really a true sign of creating a comfortable environment.

2. First 5 minutes - I like to spend the first 5 minutes talking to my class. This is not a set time limit, but it is around 5 minutes. I go from table to table and just talk to the kids about their day, sports, video games, or anything else that is not class related. I learn so much about them during this time. I get to engage with them in normal conversation and set a very relaxed tone. When student know that you care about them outside of the papers you need to grade, they are more at ease in the classroom and are far more likely to participate. Spending a few minutes at the start of class can buy the teacher a full year of student investment in the classroom.

3. Remind them - When I first heard of Remind, I was not interested. I really did not want to send my kids text messages. They should be able to remember things on their own. I decided to give it a try with one class and I haven't gone back. Just a text reminder here and there has really helped my students stay on task. Some of those students that do not have a great track record of doing their work or bringing in paperwork can not get a text message to remind them.

4. Take in a game or a show - Finding the time to attend student events is something that all teachers should try to do. There is always a great big smile waiting for the teacher who shows up at a student event. Kids like to know that teachers are invested in them. Parents also love to see teachers at these events as well. Freeing up a couple of hours once a month to see your students play a game or perform on stage can really make a difference for your students. If you have done this once, you know what I'm talking about.

I know these 4 things are not revolutionary ideas and many of you do some or all of these things, but I think it is good to remember these ideas and share them with others.

Please share your ideas in the comments section below.

Hugs and high fives,


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