Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Help Students Become Successful

In 9 Ways to Help Your Students Show Up Well from @DavidGeurin Blog,  David Geurin gives some ideas to help students in school to show up well. I agree with his ideas and wanted to include how I do the same thing in my classroom. His ideas are in bold italics and my ideas are below each one.

Here are some ideas everyone can use to help students in your school show up well:
1. Greet students, learn names, give high fives and fist bumps. Say hello to each person you meet in the hallway.
I like to greet each student at the door and shake their hand. They like to be treated as an adult and they learn to be comfortable shaking hands with people they meet. This is a great job skill for them to learn.

2. Get to know your students as people. Ask them about their hobbies, their weekend, or just about anything. Eat lunch with them. 
I like to find out if anyone plays on an extracurricular team or if they play a musical instrument. Then I try to attend a game or recital so I can cheer them on. One boy participated in skateboard competitions and would have a video showing his performance. Sometimes I would show the class.

3. Always protect each student's dignity. Show great care and concern. Give respect even when it's not returned. 
Students need role models and may not always know how to show respect. I try to show them respect and if I feel disrespected, I will talk to them alone and discuss their behavior. I try to show them how it would feel if I treated them in the same way.  Many times I can reason with them as long as I’m consistent with treating all of my students with respect.

4. Notice how your students are feeling. Make it safe for them to express their feelings to you without judgment. Ask them if they are okay? Check on them. 
I have my students write in a journal the first five minutes of class. They can write about a specific topic or write about how they are feeling and why. After the first few weeks, many students share a lot of their life and what they are going through.

5. Smile. Joke around. Use humor to lighten another person's load. Laughter makes life better and even more bearable. 
Many times I can diffuse a behavior incident with humor if I don’t let it get too far. I have to make sure that my humor doesn’t ridicule or embarrass the student though.

6. Meet a need. Provide a snack or a jacket or a pencil. If you can't meet the need, find someone who can. 
I don’t let my students off the hook if they forget school supplies but I do let them know that they can borrow what they need (with collateral which usually is a school badge). If they forget too often, it is time to call home and discuss whether this is becoming a habit rather than an accident.

7. Encourage and praise. Use your words to inspire and lift up. See the spark of genius in each student. 
Many of my students are not used to encouragement and praise. I try to do this and encourage them to do the same with their peers. Sometimes this takes an intentional time for practice. I also like to call home and brag about them to their parents. Then the parents share my praise with my student which makes the student want to do better in class.

8. Have high expectations. You can do it. I believe in you. I've seen you overcome this before. You can do it again. 

I explain to the students that they need to reach for the stars and not let anyone take their dreams away from them. I do not tolerate disrespect or laziness. Mistakes are okay as long as the students learn from them.

9. Listen with empathy and try to understand. Approach that hurtful comment, behavior, or action with curiosity to understand the child better.

I try to think about why a student is behaving a certain way. I try to find out if there is some situation that sets off this behavior and if there is any way I can change or improve the situation. It is important that I don’t take the student’s behavior as a personal attack against me.

How do you do these things in the classroom? Please share.

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