Monday, September 14, 2015

Celebrating Student Growth

Hi, Teachers!

Today's post is going to be on the shorter side. I'm still trying to get back into the swing of things!

I was thinking about ways to connect with families and simultaneously celebrate students this past week. One thing I love to do is give kids tangible evidence that they did a great job, without making the reward extrinsically motivating. Therefore, an unexpected, simple certificate or happy note fits the bill perfectly. Here's what I've just put up for FREE in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store:


Click on the picture above to be taken to this freebie in my store. There are 2 versions of this (one is color, and one is black and white). There are 4 on one page to make copying easy for you. These are really useful little notes that I send home as much as I can. Believe it or not, I keep track of them. I print out a class list and make sure each student gets at least one of these every month. By tracking how often students get these, I am able to see if I am giving enough attention to all of my students. 

Another thing I do is I make sure to email EVERY. SINGLE. PARENT. within the first 3 weeks of school with happy news and positive things I'm noticing. Establishing parent contact is so important, and making the first few contacts POSITIVE is even more important. If you are the parent of a struggling learner, and all you ever hear from teachers is negative, it's hard to work on a team with teachers. 

Last year, I sent home what I thought was a typical, short, positive email home for a student who usually struggled in math but was working himself to the limit. The email was probably no more than 5 sentences, but that mother told me that this was the first time her son (who was now in third grade!!!!) had ever had this kind of contact from a teacher. That really stuck out to me, because I work in an AMAZING school with VERY talented teachers. The mother said that she had tears in her eyes from reading the email. This was huge for the student and the mother. It positively reinforced my student working hard despite how difficult the subject matter was for him, and he gained confidence because I was praising the process, not just a final product.

This small email seemed like nothing to me, but when parents receive them, it clearly makes an impact. Ever since that day, I decided to keep track of these emails on a class roster. In fact, I print out a table that looks like a grade book in order to keep track of these along with happy notes and other things. I suggest picking time frames that work for you! If you can handle sending 4 or 5 short emails a week, you can probably hit every student's family with a happy email in a month. Can you imagine getting a monthly email home from your child's teacher with nothing but positivity? That's got to make a parent feel good, and when problems do arise, they know you are on their team.

How do you celebrate your students? Make sure to comment below!

4 comments:

  1. We are so on the same page love! I wanted to get my parents more involved this school year as well so each week I post a healthy snack recipe and I encourage them to make it sometime before and bring it in to share with their peers on there snack day. Also to celebrate my students, each month I have a star student! On the designated wall I'll hang up a picture of them with an about me page, some artwork done by them, show and tell, they can bring in their favorite story we can read during circle time. I love your blog! Even though I teach preschool I still like listening to your ideas and seeing how I can try it out, alternate it to add them to my classroom. Great job girl!

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    1. I do star of the week too! Next week we'll have our first star. :) I bet they love being star of the week in your room. I'm so glad you like my blog, Maddie. Thanks for always stopping by and keeping the conversation going! :) When did school start up near you? End of August?

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  2. I totally agree with that positive parent contact right off the bat. It's so hard to do it those first few weeks when the start of the new year is so busy, but it's so valuable!

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    1. It IS hard to do when you are trying to get back into the swing of things, but I think it saves sooooo many headaches later. :) I agree with you for sure!

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