Today I was a part of Capturing Kids Hearts by the Flippen Group. I learned so much today that will hopefully make it into some post later on. For this post I want to start and hope to maintain a running series or different things I do to develop my classroom culture. One of the points that really hit my in our session today was affirming students. How do I affirm my students? How often do I affirm my students? Can I teach my students to affirm each other? One of my personal goals for this coming school year will be to give more affirmation to my students.
In past years I have written sticky notes to students at random times with words of affirmation. I start each school year by responding to my student inventory sheets by writing each students a sticky note in response to their sheet. I do this for multiple reasons: to show my students that I care about them, that I read what they collect, and that their interest matter to me. I want my students to know that they are loved and cared for in my classroom. I’ve had many failed attempts with contacting parents to “brag” on students.
Action Plan for this Year
One of the most insightful things I learned today was if I were to call home to “brag” on a student do I know who I should call? With this in mind I want to make sure that I ask students to give me people in their life that they would like me to call/e-mail when they are doing well. I know myself well enough to know that I will need to be somewhat systematic in calling parents this semester. My plan is to create a Trello board to organize my students with contact information and to use the commenting feature to create a running log/journal for each student. I do not plan to comment for each student daily, but to write notes as I observe things each day. At the moment this will be a reflective practice that I spend a few minutes doing at the end of each class or each day. I also plan to keep track of parent communication using Trello as well to make sure that each students has at least one if not more than one #GoodCallsHome.
I also want to make a strong effort to write notes to my students. Again, even if I need to be systematic to get this process started that is what I will do. I know that I will need to schedule time during my day to write notes even if I just write a few notes each time I pass back an assignment. I hope to continue to blog about this and how it is working in my classroom.