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Showing posts with label social interaction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label social interaction. Show all posts

Is Your "Back to School" on a Coronacoaster?" Part 5: Watch Their Emotional Health!

We are hearing so much conflicting information about the start of school this year. Here are some of the options:
  • full time in the classroom
  • full time remote learning
  • the hybrid model: a little bit of each
  • a variety of the above
With all this uncertainty, how can teachers plan for this Coronacoaster?

It's pretty scary to think about all the planning that has to take place, "just in case..." but honestly, there are several things you can start planning that can happen in the classroom, through distance learning, or a combination of both. 
Is Your "Back to School" on a "Coronacoaster?" Part 5: Watch Their Emotional Health. This pandemic has taken a toll on the emotional health of the children. This blog post has some suggestions on how teachers can help them.

I'm sure you'll agree these things need to happen no matter where or how you are teaching.

Today is Part 5 in a five part series about returning to school during this Coronacoaster!
Is Your "Back to School" on a "Coronacoaster?" Part 5: Watch Their Emotional Health. This pandemic has taken a toll on the emotional health of the children. This blog post has some suggestions on how teachers can help them.

Watch Their Emotional Health

As we know, a whole lot of our children have been through some tough times in the last few months. They've been stuck at home, away from their friends, and dealing with "Zoom fatigue!" (Yes, it's a real thing!) We really don't know the horrors that some of these children have faced in the privacy of their own homes. 

Most classroom teachers don't have degrees in counseling or psychology, but we do know some of the things to look for, once we know our students. Once we know there's a problem, we can look to the professionals for help.

Morning Meetings, small groups, and one-on-one times are the best times to get to know the students. Knowing them is a key to knowing when there's a problem.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/60-Team-Building-Games-and-Activities-3489364?utm_source=coronacoaster%20blog%20post&utm_campaign=Team%20Building%20games
The above resource has 60 different group games that can be used in a variety of situations with a variety of age levels. Many are appropriate for using remotely as well as in the classroom. I'm sure you'll find something appropriate for your situation to get the students relax and getting to know them! 60 Team Building Games and Activities 

Here are a couple of other resources to help the children think about getting along with each other and getting comfortable. These resources are perfect for back to school, both in the classroom or virtually!

Once you get to know them, you'll be able to notice when something's not right. 

What to do about it? Well, not having a background in mental health keeps me from going there, but here are a few things to think about:

1. Laughter!

Laughing is healing. I've actually heard laughter referred to as "Vitamin L!" Be sure to get your daily dose! (And yes, there is science to back this up!)

2. Contact the Professionals

Most classroom teachers don't have a mental health background. This is the time to contact the school counselor. Be sure to have data to share about your perceptions!

 

3. Be a Role Model!

Emotional Health problems can't be solved overnight, nor can they be solved by the classroom teacher. However, there are a few things teachers can do along the way to help struggling children feel a little better. 

Children need to know their feelings are acceptable. We're all frustrated right now. We're scared. It's ok to validate those feelings to the children. Talk about what scares you and frustrates you. Talk about how you're going to deal with it, in their language. Let them see how you handle those frustrations, and try to stay positive. Being a positive role model is the best thing we can do for them. 


Be sure to read the all five parts of this Coronacoaster Back to School series:

 https://www.elementarymatters.com/2020/07/is-your-back-to-school-on-coronacoaster_22.html
 
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xdIkHlyfwMc/XxcgaYqkxyI/AAAAAAAAhKQ/qZAzYl0qQ7AVEZeM2GVycuJEi2uBIOvuwCLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/Preview%2BTemplate%2B7A.jpg   https://www.elementarymatters.com/2020/07/is-your-back-to-school-on-coronacoaster_77.html 
 https://www.elementarymatters.com/2020/07/is-your-back-to-school-on-coronacoaster.html  https://www.elementarymatters.com/2020/07/is-your-back-to-school-on-coronacoaster_42.html


Is Your "Back to School" on a "Coronacoaster?" Part 5: Watch Their Emotional Health. This pandemic has taken a toll on the emotional health of the children. This blog post has some suggestions on how teachers can help them.




What Do They Really Remember?

Years after they leave your class, what do your students remember?

What do they really remember? This post explores my Day 100 tradition and discusses why the children remember it years later.

One of the things my kids always remember is when we go from class to class, singing Day 100 songs.

Yesterday was Day 100 in our school, and we carried on my little tradition. Many of the teachers look forward to our visits every year, and it's a real treat to go into the other classrooms in the school. (We NEVER go into each others' rooms, it's such a treat!)

What do they really remember? This post explores my Day 100 tradition and discusses why the children remember it years later.

Today at Morning Meeting, I asked my class to share how they truly felt about singing in front of all the different classes. I was thrilled with their honesty. Some said they felt nervous, excited, scared, embarrassed, or shy. When I asked each child, "But did you like it?" Every single child nodded an enthusiastic, "Yes!" 

What do they really remember? This post explores my Day 100 tradition and discusses why the children remember it years later.

I could tell most of the children absolutely loved it.  There were a couple of kids that I knew singing just wasn't their "thing", but I was hoping it would be a positive experience.  They said they loved it!

As someone who is fascinated by how the brain works, I find myself pondering what it is about this experience that puts it permanently into the memory. Here's my theory:
  •  Singing in front of other classes uses strong emotions, which are directly connected to the memory.  
  • It's something they never have done before. Novelty is directly connected to the memory.
  • It's music!  Music is amazing when it come to the brain.
  • It involves social interaction. Again, connections with memory and learning.

What do your students remember about your class?



What do they really remember? This post explores my Day 100 tradition and discusses why the children remember it years later.

Ten Ways to Motivate Students


Today's post is all about motivating students.

These are ten of the ways I motivate students:

Ten Ways to Motivate Students: ten ideas to get the children to WANT to learn, without having to rob a bank!


Ten Ways to Motivate Students: ten ideas to get the children to WANT to learn, without having to rob a bank!
1.  Pride!  Luckily, there are some students who take pride in themselves and just plain want to do well. They want to make the teacher happy. Don't you love these kids? Don't you wish there were more of these? Unfortunately, there are a lot of kids who don't have pride in themselves, or just don't have enough. Therefore, we need the other nine.


Ten Ways to Motivate Students: ten ideas to get the children to WANT to learn, without having to rob a bank! 2.  Stickers! Children love stickers. A hefty supply is necessary for most teachers of little ones. Personally, I usually only give out stickers for homework, but many teachers give out stickers for daily work. My students work pretty hard for one sticker for homework each day! On special occasions, I'll pull out the scented stickers!

Ten Ways to Motivate Students: ten ideas to get the children to WANT to learn, without having to rob a bank! 3.  Working with a partner!  Kids are social, and the idea of working with another child is super motivating. Let them choose their own partner, and you'll be their hero! They can read with a partner, write a story with a partner, or practice math facts. There's a whole world of possibilities.

4.  Let them earn an extra recess! I think this is a "win-win". We know that kids need to run and exercise and burn off steam. The promise of being able to do what they need to do is motivating for the kids to work! 


5.  Inspire them! I find if I say a few words about a book, the children all want to read that book. If I show them a sample of my writing, they want to try a similar piece of writing. If I make something look interesting or fun, they want to try it. I could never sell cars, but I sure can sell a book to a kid!



Ten Ways to Motivate Students: ten ideas to get the children to WANT to learn, without having to rob a bank!
A few desk decorations in my classroom!
6.  Let them put something cool on their desk for a while!  Personally, I use a collection of beanie babies that I've saved since my daughter was little. They can keep it on their desk for the day. If they do something quite spectacular, I let them keep a little flag on their desk for a week. They are mighty proud of these, and they can tell you what each little trophy is for!

7.  Play a game! There are so many possibilities for games. There are group games like Around the World, Scoot, and variations of Jeopardy, Hollywood Squares, and Family Feud. Then there are partner games, centers, and activities. Sometimes they have so much fun, they don't even realize they're learning!



8.  Group Projects!  When there is a product and a "performance" involved, the kids get moving! Most kids love working in small groups putting together some sort of project, then others are super motivated by the thought of standing in front of their class. They really remember these group projects for years to come.
Ten Ways to Motivate Students: ten ideas to get the children to WANT to learn, without having to rob a bank!
9.  Have a dance party! This works well for my group. You can work out the details, but if they reach a certain point, just stop for the moment, and turn on the music. My kids love this, as it happens to be a group that really responds to music and movement. It only takes a few minutes of the day, and they've had their exercise and burned off some steam. That makes a dance party another "win-win"! Other forms of this type of group reward can be a pizza party or a make your own ice cream party. (The dance party is cheaper, though!)


Ten Ways to Motivate Students: ten ideas to get the children to WANT to learn, without having to rob a bank!10.    Special recognition!  Single out a student for spectacular work. I often read examples of good work, or hold up examples of good effort on handwriting. We do Student of the Week. I have an Super Improvers Wall, where they get stickers and work their way up the ladder when we notice they have improved at something - it can be anything from remembering to pass in homework, to improvement in behavior, to improvement in knowing math facts. One of my students said moving on the improvement board was even better than earning a flag for a week!

This is just a small sampling of the possibilities for motivating students.  How do you motivate your students?


Ten Ways to Motivate Students: ten ideas to get the children to WANT to learn, without having to rob a bank!

Five Tips for Teaching Reading Using Recent Brain Research

Five Tips for Teaching Reading Using Recent Brain Research - This post connects recent brain research to learning to read with some helpful tips.
I've read so much about the brain based learning lately, I thought I'd share some tips that connect the two.
  1. Move:  Kids need to move.  The moving helps the brain build dendrites.  Dendrites help the parts of the brain connect, which helps the memory.  If the children involve moving as part of the learning, it helps the learning to stick.  I find the more movement, the better.  I use a lot of Brain Gym in my classroom, as well as lots of other types of movements, just to keep the dendrites flowing.  Little tasks such as "take a walk around your desk", or "touch each wall" are great for the little ones.  If combined with a skill ("say a short e word as you touch each wall") will help even more!
  2. Work together:  Social Interactions are important in learning.  In reading, it's important that these pairings are done at similar levels, if possible.  Sometimes I let the children choose partners, but more often than not, I assign partners.  (I do a lot of team building exercises the first few weeks so they are comfortable with each other, and understand their responsibilities as a partner.)  Children can read in pairs, or practice spelling words in pairs, or use new vocabulary words in pairs.  Sometimes I'll have the pairs teach each other something I just taught.  (Teach your partner what sequencing is.)
  3. Coping with stress: 
    Teach children to deal with stress.  Stress is unavoidable, it happens, even to children.  But it prevents learning, so we need to help the children cope with stress in acceptable ways.  I've done several yoga, guided imagery, and deep breathing exercises with the children.  One of my favorites with children is The Tree.  The children stand straight with their hands at their sides, and imagine they are a tree.  First, the children take a deep breath in, while raising their head, imagining they are facing the sun.  (I have to tell them, if I can hear the breath, it's too loud.)  Their hands should stay at their sides, focusing on the sun shining on their "leaves" as they take in the sun's energies.  Then they lower their heads and exhale slowly while they imagine the energy going out through their roots (toes) into the soil.  A few inhales and exhales and they are good to go!
  4. The Arts:  I've always been a fan of arts in the classroom, and the research supports this.  Arts help attention span as well as working memory.  I'm not just talking about visual arts (although I encourage these).  Arts also includes performing arts:  singing, dancing & movement, and acting.  Reader's Theatre, drawing or painting pictures to reflect parts of a story, or making up a song about the setting of a story are some ways to connect the arts to reading.
  5. Make 'em Laugh: 
    Emotions play a huge role in memory, especially happy emotions.  I've always been a big fan of humor in the classroom.  (I doubt I would have survived this long without it!)  As long as the children are happy, there's a better chance for learning to be happening.  I make sure many of my Read Alouds are humorous books.  There are plenty out there!  Robert Munsch is a favorite of mine, as well as many children.  (I LOVE The Paper Bag Princess!)  Here's another list to start: funny-read-alouds .
All in all, keep them happy, keep them busy, and keep reading to them.  Reading to children is the very best way to help children learn to read.
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