Saturday, August 3, 2013

Let's Get to know Ya! Guest Blog Post from the Applicious Teacher

Hey Guys! I am Leigh from The Applicious Teacher 

 I am hosting today's post while Daina settles into her new home in the Big T!

Today, I wanted to talk about getting to know your students.

I mean really KNOWING your students.

Not just their grades or who their parents are, but their likes and dislikes,  their academic strengths/weakness and their backgrounds.

Like in this video from SoulPancake
Do you take the time to really understand your students as little people?

You should! Research shows the more you know about a person, the better you can connect with them.

As a teacher, connecting with your students can help to build trusting and respectful  relationship. That ultimately leads to positive interactions and increased learning opportunities as students learn they can ask questions, make mistakes, and celebrate their achievements in a safe environment.

Now, I am not suggesting you set up a ball pit in the middle of your classroom (although that would be TOTALLY AWESOME!) But there are some subtler ways to connect and understand your students.

Student Information Sheets 

One of the easiest ways to get to know your students is to have them fill out an information sheet. I have parents fill one out at the "Meet the Teacher". Then I have students fill one out on the first day of school. I love using this FREE one from Katie Jones.

"Getting to Know You" Games

We all spend the first weeks of school playing the "Getting to Know You" games to help build a classroom community, but do you pay attention or *GASP* actually participate in the fun!?

One of my favorites is the simple, yet effective "Name Game". I always play this on the first day of school.  It is SUPER easy and requires absolutely NO PREP! Here's how to play:

Have students sit in a circle.

Then have students think of an adjective that describes them, but also begins with the letter of their first name. My favorite: Lovely Langton.

Starting with the teacher, move around the circle stating the name alliteration and the person before you's name. The kiddos LOVE playing this and it helps YOU learn their names pretty fast! For a challenge, you can have students reintroduce ALL the previous student's alliterations.

Student Annotated Notebook

When I first started teaching, I struggled with keeping track of the"little" information I would pick up through-out the year on my students. As I was complaining  sharing with a fellow veteran teacher about it while I filled out some IEP paperwork, he suggested I keep an annotated notebook on my students. GENIUS!

To set up the notebook, just assign each student a few pages. 

As you go through the year, use the pages to write down the "little things" that happen through-out the year. I also like to date things (had lunch detention or fell on playground on such and such date)

 I find my self reaching for this little notebook every time I am preparing for a Parent Conference     (their child's art was on display in the office!) 

and when I need to fill out PST or IEP paperwork (they are great with "hands on learning" but struggle to apply the same concept in the abstract)

Those are just a *few* ways you can "get to know" your students better. 

Thank you Daina for entrusting me with your glittery blog! 

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  1. This was GREAT! :) These ideas are simple to implement! :) I love them! :)
    Mrs. Russell's Room-First Grade