Mornings in the classroom are usually quite busy. As the many students were unpacking and I was getting organized for the day, one of my sweet first graders approached my desk.
He stated, “My mom wants me to read everyday this summer but I don’t know what to read. It would also be cool if I got a reward for reading everyday.”
Years ago I graduated from high school, eager to enter college to pursue a career in education. My mother handed me a scrapbook she had been diligently putting together as a gift. In the book, I turned to a page which included a small paper I wrote in second grade. The paper stated, “When I grow up I want to be a Teacher. I love school and my teacher. I want to be just like her.” That mindset fluctuated some throughout my school years but the yearn for becoming a teacher was ingrained inside me. My many experiences working with children of all ages and a variety of demographics has helped mold my teaching style. A teacher holds many hats. Teachers are educators, counselors, actors, comedians, etc. I think about that wonderful second grade teacher from time to time and the type of teacher I aspire to be.
As the school year is coming to a close, I find myself reflecting upon the year. I think about how my sweet first graders have grown in so many ways and how I influenced those changes.
When children enter the classroom during those first days of school, they are so eager to learn and excited for the many possibilities of the year. Children are excited about meeting their teachers, talking with friends, and exploring new subjects. Recognizing a child’s innate motivation and discovering the tools to reinforce motivation is key to a successful school year.
From a young age people learn to speak a language before they can write. Speaking skills are a more natural way of communication until written language has been explicitly taught. When preparing a writing lesson, consider the age group and prior knowledge with speaking and writing skills. Choose a topic your students are more likely to be intrigued by and provide the correct tools to allow creativity. Teaching writing is not just about spelling or grammar but understanding what is expected with different writing genres. The following steps can guide you to selecting a genre, collecting ideas, planning and writing.
Fairy tales and Folktales are stories often told to children beginning at a young age through primary grades. There are significant points in stories where there are repetitive words and phrases which help readers understand the tale and build accuracy. Those repetitive phrases allow students to be more engaged in the story, build language skills, and benefit English Language Learners.
When a child walks through your classroom door, so does a unique personality. As an educator you can create and warm inviting classroom appearance to allow students to feel comfortable. Some children waltz right in fearless, with the ability to talk to the teacher and other children. There are other children who hover close to their parents during open house, feeling uneasy about meeting a new teacher and students in the class. The first few weeks of schools is a significant time to build an encouraging classroom environment where students have the confidence to participate in class all year long. You want your students to have the courage to communicate with others, share ideas in small groups, and speak before the class.
Starting each day with words of encouragement and positive affirmations can make a difference in a person's attitude and self-confidence . Hearing phrases such as, “You are smart”, “You are friendly”, “You can do anything you set your mind to” can bring upon a smile and generates a person to feel amazing from the inside out.
What a child hears is often embedded in them from the very beginning. Hearing positive thoughts can truly make a difference in the way someone performs a task or how they feel.