As a teacher, you have to love and appreciate all of the students who enter your classroom on the first day of school. There are always those kids who you want to bring home with you, those kids who make you smile, those kids who just need a hug and know they are loved, those kids who need to be challenged, those kids whose creativity inspires you, and those kids make your job tough, but you enjoy making a connection with them. Teaching is in our hearts. We strive to create caring classrooms where children are motivated, inspired, and challenged.
A few ways that I create a caring classroom are as follows:
ü The first day of school, my students create a classroom contract. We work together to create ways to make our classroom run smoother, and everyone signs and commits to helping their classmates be the best they can be. We are a team!
ü I have positive character trait banners up all around the top perimeter of my classroom. I tell my students that I am looking for them to possess these positive traits, and will be looking to recognize them for being amazing throughout the year. I encourage them to let their classmates know when they observe one of them showing respect, responsibility, ingenuity, kindness, sharing, self-control, etc. I have happy notes that I, an instructional assistant or a student can write to another student about how they showed a positive trait. There are 80 different traits around the room.
ü We talk about being a bucket filling school. There is a great book, “How Full is Your Bucket” by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer. I have students act out mini-skits about being bucket fillers. Throughout the school year, students who are being bucket fillers, can put their name in my “Good Job” jar. I pull names from time to time, and they get to shake the M & M man’s hand. A high five, for high five bucket filling!
ü I explain to the students that I expect them to be on their best behavior in the classroom, and outside of the classroom. I have a classroom management system in place where students go through the stop light system, where students move a magnet based on behavior. I put a sticker in the bottom of their agenda to notify parents of a child’s daily behavior. I tell them that we have expectations because I care about them, and we need to make sure we respect everyone’s learning process.
ü On the first day of school, we do some get to know you activities. We play “That’s Me!” where I ask questions, and if it applies to the student, they go into the center of the room, high five their classmates and say, “That’s Me!” I have my kids fill out a student questionnaire about their interests outside of school. It is important for me to make connections to them outside of the classroom. The students also create their clock buddy sheets, which we use throughout the school year for easy partner work. Try it out! You’ll love them.
Thank you to, Laura Candler, from Corkboard Connections Blog has inspired me to join her creating a caring classroom blog.