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Showing posts with label praise. Show all posts
Showing posts with label praise. Show all posts

How am I Doing?

Every "report card" time, kids will undoubtedly ask, "how am I doing?"

Kids often ask, "How am I doing," especially around report card time. Here are some suggestions for making sure the children KNOW how they're doing!

Of course, it's great that they care about their achievement, but seriously, they're in school every day doing the work. They're in class, participating and engaging in work all the time. So, shouldn't they already know how they're doing?

Kids often ask, "How am I doing," especially around report card time. Here are some suggestions for making sure the children KNOW how they're doing!


What do you think? Yes, report cards are all about reporting to their parents. They have a right to know how their child is doing. They see the children through homework, encourage them to do well, and want to know about their child's successes! 

This post isn't about report cards and reporting to parents.

It's about giving feedback to the children every single day!

Brain research tells us that frequent feedback is essential to learning. 

A good place to start is making sure every child knows their strengths!

Kids often ask, "How am I doing," especially around report card time. Here are some suggestions for making sure the children KNOW how they're doing!
 
I believe in encouraging children every time you see them doing something right. It could be ANYTHING they do well. Here are some examples:
  • staying organized
  • smiling at classmates
  • participating in group discussions
  • greeting classmates when they arrive
  • positive attitude
  • listening
  • following directions
  • getting to work right away
  • following rules
  • working independently
  • staying focused
  • helping classmates
  • helping teacher 
  • putting forth effort
  • showing growth

Kids often ask, "How am I doing," especially around report card time. Here are some suggestions for making sure the children KNOW how they're doing!

In fact, this information should be made public. Everyone in the class should know who is good at knowing math facts, and who is good at following directions. All students should know who they can turn to for figuring out an unknown word, solving a math problem, where to find extra supplies, or sketching a cat for their journal. This is all part of the teamwork. And I'm sure you'll agree, all children have strengths!

Kids often ask, "How am I doing," especially around report card time. Here are some suggestions for making sure the children KNOW how they're doing!

All children also have areas that need improvement, don't they? The only way they will improve in these areas is if they are aware of their weaknesses and put in the effort to improve them. I prefer to think of these as "skills the child is working on," rather than weaknesses. It's just a bit kinder!

Kids often ask, "How am I doing," especially around report card time. Here are some suggestions for making sure the children KNOW how they're doing!

Although the whole world should know the strengths of your students, the opposite is most definitely NOT true!

Kids often ask, "How am I doing," especially around report card time. Here are some suggestions for making sure the children KNOW how they're doing!

 

I schedule meetings with individuals every so often. How do I find the time? I meet with individuals instead of reading groups for a couple of days. (See THIS POST to see how I organize this!) I spend a few minutes with each child, and honestly, those few minutes make a world of difference and are totally worth missing a reading group or two!

Kids often ask, "How am I doing," especially around report card time. Here are some suggestions for making sure the children KNOW how they're doing!

I use a 2-1-1 strategy! I start with 2 statements about what the child is doing well. These can be about ANYTHING the child is doing in school, as long as it's honest praise. (See THIS POST about giving honest feedback!) 

After the happy celebration, I mention (carefully) one thing the child needs to work on. They usually know, and agree they need to work on this. 

Wanting to leave the conversation with a positive note, I'll mention one more thing the child does well. This doesn't have to be academic, just a little something to keep the conversation upbeat. Quite often, it's something like, "I'm glad you're in my class!"

Kids often ask, "How am I doing," especially around report card time. Here are some suggestions for making sure the children KNOW how they're doing!

You've probably already spent a lot of time building relationships with your students, and these personal conversations should simply amplify these relationships. Of course, make sure it ends with a smile!

How do you keep the children informed about their progress?

Kids often ask, "How am I doing," especially around report card time. Here are some suggestions for making sure the children KNOW how they're doing!



Five Hints to Help Avoid False Praise and Give Valuable Feedback

How do you feel about false praise? 

You know, when someone tells you that you've done a great job, when in your heart, you know you haven't?

 

Beware of False Praise! It's important to give students  feedback, and they need to feel good about what they're doing, but false praise doesn't help!
One time, I was working hard with an exercise video when the instructor said, "Great job!"  I remember thinking... how does she know I'm doing a great job? I could be sitting here eating a bowl of potato chips, and that's not doing a good job!

I've also had people compliment me on things that I know weren't my best work. How do I feel about it?

Well, honestly, it makes me lose my trust in that person. And it frustrates me. I'm sure your students feel the same way. 

Students absolutely need feedback, and they need to develop self worth. But false praise is NOT the way to get there! 

Here are a few suggestions for avoiding praise and giving feedback that matters:

 
 1. Know your students! It's important that you know your students. Not only academically, but personally. Know what they feel good about and what they're sensitive about.

Beware of False Praise! It's important to give students  feedback, and they need to feel good about what they're doing, but false praise doesn't help!
 
 2. Follow the "2 to 1" rule! This means, two compliments and one "you need to work on" item. Of course you wouldn't just say, "great job" or "you're awesome." Make sure they are genuine compliments, which shouldn't be tough to find. As long as you see any effort at all, that can be one of your compliments. It's also important that you always give them something specific to work on.


 3. Make sure your students know you! Let them know about the things you struggle with as well as your successes. When you make mistakes, let them see you model correcting mistakes. When you struggle with something, let them see you processing your way through the struggle.
Beware of False Praise! It's important to give students  feedback, and they need to feel good about what they're doing, but false praise doesn't help!

4. Make sure your students trust you! This tip goes right along with #3, making sure they know you, but it goes beyond knowledge. Trust is something that must be earned, so this won't happen the first weeks of school. By the time the initial "get to know you" period is done, the students should absolutely know you can be trusted.

 Beware of False Praise! It's important to give students  feedback, and they need to feel good about what they're doing, but false praise doesn't help!

 5. Always, always, always be honest! If you tell the students they're good at something, and they know they're not, you've lost their trust. When you give information about something they need to work on, and it's honest, you'll gain their trust. And that's more valuable than anything!

Since feedback is such a valuable part of learning, I've written several other blog posts about feedback. Here are some links.


 Beware of False Praise! It's important to give students  feedback, and they need to feel good about what they're doing, but false praise doesn't help!
 

Five Useful Tips and Tricks!

 

Beware of False Praise! It's important to give students  feedback, and they need to feel good about what they're doing, but false praise doesn't help!
 

The Importance of Failure

 
Beware of False Praise! It's important to give students  feedback, and they need to feel good about what they're doing, but false praise doesn't help!

Beware of False Praise! It's important to give students  feedback, and they need to feel good about what they're doing, but false praise doesn't help!

Quick, Easy, Honest Feedback

 What kind of praise do you give in the classroom?

How do you keep it honest and genuine?

Beware of False Praise! It's important to give students  feedback, and they need to feel good about what they're doing, but false praise doesn't help!






5 Rewards that don't lead to Entitlement

I'm not a big fan of rewards. 

5 Rewards that don't lead to Entitlement - here are 5 ideas that can be used to encourage children to take pride in their work, but not feel entitled to rewards.

I feel rewards teach children to expect a payoff every time they put effort into something. Rewards often lead to a sense of entitlement, which isn't what the real world is about. 

HERE is a blog post I wrote a while ago that goes into details about WHY I don't like rewards.
5 Rewards that don't lead to Entitlement - here are 5 ideas that can be used to encourage children to take pride in their work, but not feel entitled to rewards.

I know what you're thinking... 
but how do we motivate children to complete work?
 

How do we motivate children to learn?


Well, I have a few tricks up my sleeve. 
The idea is to get children to take pride in their accomplishments.
5 Rewards that don't lead to Entitlement - here are 5 ideas that can be used to encourage children to take pride in their work, but not feel entitled to rewards.
It just so happens I've had a gazillion beanies in my basement from when my daughter was younger. She was just at the right age when they became popular, and people kept giving them to her! (If you ask around, I'm sure you could find someone who has a ton of these that they'd love to get rid of!)

No, they don't get to keep the beanies, but they get to keep them on their desk for the day! I'll bet you're thinking...don't the kiddos play with them all day?

Well, no, because I'm pretty strict about that. 
If they play with the beanies, they lose the beanies. 

Every morning the children are invited to put a beanie on their desk to keep them company for the day. They can earn more throughout the day by asking thoughtful questions, showing perseverance, helping classmates, and a variety of "above and beyond" behaviors that I want to emphasize.

Since it's not a thing they get to keep, it's not about greed. 
 

It's about pride. 


5 Rewards that don't lead to Entitlement - here are 5 ideas that can be used to encourage children to take pride in their work, but not feel entitled to rewards.

I also have a collection of flags, including many from different countries. I admit, the American flags are the most popular, but once they figure out the other countries, those become popular, too! The flags are rewards, similar to the beanies, but on a higher level. I'll give flags for effort, success on math facts, handwriting awards, or remembering to show their work in math.  Again, they don't get to keep the flags, but it is a source of pride.
5 Rewards that don't lead to Entitlement - here are 5 ideas that can be used to encourage children to take pride in their work, but not feel entitled to rewards.

Kids do need to play. Personally, I'd love to see them get a whole lot more recess, but that's not something I can control. But if the group gets their work done in a reasonable amount of time, and they put effort into that work, they can earn some play time. One of their favorites is time to play with the math manipulatives! They also enjoy time with clay, painting, and we even spent some time making paper airplanes! These group rewards serve several purposes: they encourage the children to work as a team, and they get along amazingly well at these times! When it's time to pick up, they're good sports because they know they want to earn this "play time" again! Another thing... giving them specific play time with manipulatives helps them NOT play with them when using them as math tools. 
5 Rewards that don't lead to Entitlement - here are 5 ideas that can be used to encourage children to take pride in their work, but not feel entitled to rewards.

Yes, you read that right! When my class brainstormed ideas for things they could earn with good behavior and hard work, science experiments was one of the first things on the list! (Don't tell the kids, most of these science experiments are things I'd do with the children anyway, but when it's used "as  a reward", it's very motivational!)
5 Rewards that don't lead to Entitlement - here are 5 ideas that can be used to encourage children to take pride in their work, but not feel entitled to rewards.
Lego Abe has been an important part of my classroom for several years now. I think he was part of a "Happy Meal" toy or something like that, but he's been a big hit!

Every day, Lego Abe gets to sit on the desk of one of my cherubs. It's announced in my daily morning letter, and he always goes to someone who has been a good role model or showed exceptional effort or perseverance. This is clearly stated in the "morning letter announcement." At the end of the day, Lego Abe takes his "Gettysburg Address" back to his "log cabin" to sleep for the night.

You may not have your own Lego Abe, but I'm sure you've got something the children might cherish as much as mine cherish Lego Abe.

Have you noticed a theme? NONE of these rewards are given for being "smart" or "talented." They are given for effort and hard work! Plus, NONE of these rewards are things the children get to keep. They are simply a recognition for a job well done, and encourage children to take pride in what they do.

These rewards don't encourage entitlement, they encourage children to work. Isn't that what we want?

5 Rewards that don't lead to Entitlement - here are 5 ideas that can be used to encourage children to take pride in their work, but not feel entitled to rewards.

Quick, Easy, and Honest Feedback!

Brain research tells us that honest feedback is essential in order for learning to happen. Common sense also tells us that children need to know if they're on track.
 
 
Quick, Easy, Honest Feedback: Here's an idea that will save time in the classroom, make your life easier, and give the kiddos the information they need to grow!
 

I make a point to give honest feedback whenever I can.


On written work, I use 4 highlighters: red (or pink), yellow, green, and purple.
Quick, Easy, Honest Feedback: Here's an idea that will save time in the classroom, make your life easier, and give the kiddos the information they need to grow!

Here's how it works:

 
If I highlight the child's name in green, that means they're doing just what's expected, they're right on track!

If the child's name is highlighted in yellow, that means he's on track, but needs to be careful about something. (I usually write a little note to let them know.)

If the child's name is highlighted in red (or pink), that means stop! There's a problem here. (We usually have a little conversation.)

But there's one more: if a child's name is highlighted in purple, that means his work is above and beyond expectations. Purple represents royalty, so I'll often bow to these children! 
Quick, Easy, Honest Feedback: Here's an idea that will save time in the classroom, make your life easier, and give the kiddos the information they need to grow!

For most papers, like homework, the only mark I make is the highlight at the top of the paper. Sometimes I'll focus on a specific skill, and make a note and highlight about that topic or skill. In the spelling papers below, I focused on the correct formation of the lower case m.
 
Quick, Easy, Honest Feedback: Here's an idea that will save time in the classroom, make your life easier, and give the kiddos the information they need to grow!
Then, of course, I'll find a little something spectacular that a child has done, and I'll make a point to make a purple star right on that part of the paper. 

I often hold up these papers for the children to see. The next day, many children are doing the same thing on their papers. It's amazing how happy it makes the children to get a little positive attention!

On the paper below, I've made purple stars for children showing their work in math. 
Quick, Easy, Honest Feedback: Here's an idea that will save time in the classroom, make your life easier, and give the kiddos the information they need to grow!

Well, there you go! It's easy to remember. It cuts back on my correcting time AND it gives the children the honest feedback they need! 
 

I hope you find this bright idea helpful!


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


The Importance of Failure

Today's post is something to think about. 
It's not a cute strategy or a brilliant organizational idea. 
It's just a little something teachers and parents need to think about.
 
The Importance of Failure - It's a sticky subject, but failure is an important part of learning. See why!
 
Yes, that says failure, and it's an important part of learning!

Sometimes children just need to go beyond their comfort zone.
 
Sometimes, it's important for children to fail.

I know what you're thinking...

Isn't it easier to help them along, so they can succeed?
 
What about their self esteem? They'll have loads of failures through life, just like we have: disappointing grades, failed friendships, sports disappointments, college rejections, career failures, and the dreaded failed romance. People that they have loved will die. 
 
 Experiencing failure actually helps the children develop coping skills, resilience, and even creative thinking! 
 
By learning from their mistakes, they actually build self esteem! Knowing how to cope with little failures will help them cope with the bigger failures that come later in life.

I have a little story from my parenting experience that I share with parents of my students:

When my daughter was little, I took her ice skating. I'd always loved ice skating, so I'd hoped she'd be successful. She and I stepped out onto the ice holding hands, and we started to skate! She was doing great. There were a couple of times she started to lose her balance, but I was right there to help her, and she got back to skating right away.


After a while, I'll bet you can guess what happened... she stopped trying to stay up on her own.

Then I realized what I needed to do... I needed to let her fall. I let go of her hand and let her go on her own. (It wasn't easy to let go, but I knew it was necessary!)

She fell a few times. She was fine, of course, but that was when she really figured it all out. She started skating, and I learned a valuable lesson.

Kids need failure in order to learn. 


She never would have learned to skate if I kept catching her every time she fell.

Sometimes it's easier on us to do things for our children, like tie their shoes, pack their bags, or make their lunches. But just remember:
 
 
 
There are many famous people who have experienced various degrees of failure. Here are some people who brushed it off, then had great success: J.K. Rowling, Thomas Edison, Michael Jordan, Albert Einstein, Mozart, and Walt Disney.

It's not so easy for us, but it's also not easy for the kids. Do you have children in your classroom who are afraid to answer questions because they fear being wrong?

Do you have children who are afraid to complete work because they're not sure they'll get the right answer?

Do you have students who cheat when they play games because they're afraid of losing?

We need to get these kids past that fear of failure!


How can we do that?


1. by making them feel safe.
2. by making them feel confident.
3. by praising their efforts.
4. by continuing to encourage them.
5. by being a role model: let them see you make mistakes and model appropriate ways to cope with failure.


The Importance of Failure - It's a sticky subject, but failure is an important part of learning. See why!

Yes, praise their efforts. I often thank my students for making mistakes.

It might sound like this: "Thanks for pointing that out. You just made us all smarter!"

One last story about my daughter:

She's a perfectionist, and takes pride in her good grades. When she was in 8th grade, she got a C in Algebra. My comment? "Good! Now you know you won't die."

Seriously, it relieved a lot of stress for her. And she turned out to be fine. Plus, it motivated her to work harder in Algebra, and she ended up on the Math Honor Society in High School!

There are loads of studies on the benefits of failure, and how it can be successful. 
 
Give it a google!

I have this poster hanging in my classroom. I refer to it often.

The Importance of Failure - It's a sticky subject, but failure is an important part of learning. See why!


If you look back on your life, can you think of a time where a failure motivated you?

Don't our children deserve that?


The Importance of Failure - It's a sticky subject, but failure is an important part of learning. See why!



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