Just like each new spring and summer, each new year you are given brand new bulbs (Students) and are expected to plant, soil, water and take care of them. As you begin 2016-2017 think about ways to encourage, maintain and strive for the most awesome flowers (students) you have ever taken care of. Here are some important ways to water and care for your flowers (Students):
- Relationships: Start building relationships from day 1. This may even begin before day 1 on a “Back to School Night”. (Ideas: Parent Parties, Post cards, website, blog, social media) there are so many ways to do this.
- Classroom Community: Begin building that community on day one. (Classroom rules, procedures, jobs, schedule, expectations, trust, trial and error, model, scaffold, one-on-one groups, small groups and role-play).
- Welcome Each Child and Family EVERYDAY: Say hello, good morning, how are you? (set up a welcome table outside your classroom, stand at the door each day and shake hands, smile and start the day positive and right).
- Know about culture, poverty, backgrounds, experiences and how to build and encourage each child. This takes time on your part to research, attend professional development, talk to and interview other professionals and colleagues, and truly get to know your families and students. (Attend weekend events, interview children and families, have families involved in classroom activities and build family time into your monthly schedule).
- Set a positive, warm and engaging classroom atmosphere! This is completely up to you. The teacher sets the tone of the classroom by the environment, attitude and excitement you bring to the classroom each day. Start each day by choosing to be the best teacher you can be, and have the want to fulfil your ultimate
- Keep Communication open and easy: Keep a folder daily or even weekly that allows you to communicate with families. (notes, calendar, Take home lessons and homework, notes and letters).
- Don’t always focus on the curriculum: Make sure to focus on all aspects of teaching children. The health, wellness, safety, fine and gross motor, art, Science, and History. Children need to be well-rounded and citizens that are caring, forgiving and can go into the world to make it a better place to live.
- Always Use Developmentally Appropriate Practices and Differentiation. Some flowers need shade, some need full sun and some need both. Children are just like a flower blooming. Children need different things to help them learn, grow and develop. Make sure the lessons and activities you are giving them are age appropriate and on their level of development. Each child learns differently, organize your teaching so that each child understands and succeeds.
As you water your bulbs and care for the bulbs that grow into flowers, care for and encourage the children in your classroom. Just as flowers need sun, water and care to grow your children need you, their families, encouragement and developmentally appropriate activities to learn. Begin thinking about next year and all of the wonderful and diverse flowers you will plant and grow next year.