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Showing posts with label modeling expected behaviors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label modeling expected behaviors. Show all posts

What's Your High and Low?


I have a little tradition in my classroom that I've been doing for years at the end of the day. It's called "High/ Low". (In some circles, it can be called "Rose and Thorn.") It's when we reflect on our day and decide what was the best part of the day and what was the most challenging part of our day. 

What's Your High and Low? This blog post is about a little tradition I've been doing at the end of the day in my classroom and it's always a big hit. It helps me learn about my students and build relationships with them.

I got the idea from an old romantic comedy starring Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer called The Story of Us.




 It was a cute movie about a married couple with two children who were struggling with their marriage. Every evening at dinner the family would share their high of the day and their low of the day. That got me thinking about ending the day in the classroom the same way. I tried it, and it worked out better than expected!

Sometimes people ask me why I let the kids focus on their low of the day... don't I want them to be positive? Well, yes, of course I want them to be positive, but sometimes they have something that is bugging them, and it makes them feel better to get it out. (Just like the rest of us!) Besides, it helps me know what's going on in the classroom. (And even though they don't mention names, I usually know exactly who they're talking about, and can address it privately later!)

In the beginning, there's usually plenty of modeling on my part. My high might be about a success the class had that day, "I was proud when the class got a good report from the art teacher," or "Everyone caught on to adding hundreds today!"  Sometimes, it's an individual success, "John turned 8 years old today," or "Mary has a brand new baby brother."

I'm particularly careful to model what a low would sound like, since I don't want this to be the focus, and I want them to know I care about them. It might sound something like this, "Fred was out sick today," or "Fran got hurt on the playground today," or maybe "Someone hurt George's feelings." More than anything, it's important to model positive feelings. This is when you learn about your students and build those important relationships.

High/ Low of the Day usually works best at the end of the day. However, it can be used in the morning for special events, such as High/ Low of the month, High/ Low of vacation, High/ Low of a holiday, High/ Low of a test, and so on!

Here's another blog post about how I do High/ Low by having the children hold a Beanie Baby when it's their turn, then tossing the Beanie to the next person: How to Have Them Happy When They Walk Out of the Classroom.

What's Your High and Low? This blog post is about a little tradition I've been doing at the end of the day in my classroom and it's always a big hit. It helps me learn about my students and build relationships with them.



Giving Feedback

I find it is important to give honest feedback to children.  
I won't tell a child he's doing a good job, unless I honestly feel it is a good job.  
I tell the truth.

How do you give feedback? This post explains the importance of giving honest feedback, and how it can be done quickly and easily.

I choose to be honest with children.They know how they're doing. If they're not putting in much effort, and you tell them they're doing a good job, isn't that giving them the wrong message? Isn't that telling them they don't need to try?



I've often found the best way to build self esteem is to give opportunities for the child to work. I'm sure most people, after completing a very difficult project, are beaming with pride. I remember caressing the cover of certain reports in college, simply because it was the result of a whole lot of hard work, and I felt proud that it was completed.



In every day work, I use a simple system. Since I work with young ones, they need feedback within a day if possible.  Since many are non readers or beginning readers, I need to make it simple to understand. I use highlighters and a traffic light system.


How do you give feedback? This post explains the importance of giving honest feedback, and how it can be done quickly and easily.
I'll highlight the child's name in one of these colors:



Green: Go! You're doing just what's expected of a second grader.



Yellow: Caution: There are some things you need to be careful about



Red: Stop! There's a problem here.



There is one more color I use: purple. Purple means "above and beyond the expectations of a second grader." Purple means they are royalty.



I'm very stingy with purple. They really have to go "above and beyond" to get it. And they should be extremely proud when they earn it.



These are the papers I usually show off to the whole class.  Not only do they get the feedback they need, they are now role models for the others. (Of course, it doesn't hurt that I bow to them, and refer to them as "kings and queens".)



And what about the kids who gets yellow or red?  Does this destroy their self esteem? Of course not! They know that if they didn't put in any effort, they won't get much in return.  They also know if they don't like what they got, they have the power to change that. I often remind them:  when the going gets tough, the tough get going!


Once in a while, I have to give myself a "red." 

If a good portion of the class aren't giving me what I want, that's a teacher problem! I tell them honestly that I goofed, apologize for not getting the ideas to them properly, and I promise to do better. (Being a role model matters!) 

I have another post about giving feedback here:


Quick, Easy, Honest Feedback: Here's an idea that will make your life easier, and give the kiddos the information they need to grow!

How do you give feedback?

How do you give feedback? This post explains the importance of giving honest feedback, and how it can be done quickly and easily.

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