Making a Difference in the Classroom: Strategies that Connect with Students


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This can start by simply discussing needs and generating ways to meet those needs. A small, class community service project is a great way to connect to your community and provide an intentional opportunity for your students to experience empathy.

Strategies for Teachers to Develop Positive Relationships With Students

Have your class choose a need from their list, and guide them through process of making a difference. It could be as simple as encouragement cards to the local nursing home. While you are teaching your students to empathize, you are simultaneously exercising their creativity and critical thinking skills in the process.

No matter what grade level you teach, never underestimate your impact. A stone cast in Kindergarten can create a ripple effect throughout a lifetime! When these needs are met, students can better focus on learning and are more likely to engage in critical thinking, express creativity, collaborate, communicate effectively, and persevere through challenges -- essential skills our youth require. No matter which way you teach kindness, the world will always be a better place because of it.

What will you do today to foster a community built on kindness, empathy and authentic connections? Elisabeth Bostwick is a teacher in Horseheads, N. In early January , her second book, Take the L. She specializes in elementary education and incorporating innovative classroom practices, aimed at amplifying student growth.

She is a former kindergarten teacher who is passionate about early childhood education, as well as equity work in education, to ensure that all students have the opportunity to reach their true potential. Stay up to date on the latest blog posts, content, tools, and more from PBS Education! September 24, According to neuroscientist and educator, Dr. When teachers use strategies to reduce stress and build a positive emotional environment, students gain emotional resilience and learn more efficiently and at higher levels of cognition.

Brain-imaging studies support this relationship. Tips for Teaching Kindness 1. Model Kindness One of the best ways to teach kindness in the classroom is to model being kind to others. Celebrate Kindness Week Partner up classes to send each other kindness cards.

Why Is This Happening?

Facilitate Morning Meetings Morning meetings are a great opportunity for learners to develop empathy as they learn to listen with understanding and consider how best to respond to their peers. You are much nicer about as I called it lazy teaching. Questions formulated using terms that were not mentioned anywhere in the text.

Does anyone read this stuff? It all ticks me off. Jennifer, thank you so much for ranting. I recently retired after being a district supervisor. It completely changed my outlook on teaching. You are such a great resource for those of us out the field.

Please keep doing what you are doing. I love having a research assistant in my corner and in my inbox each week! I also agree with the obstacles to good teaching that you listed. But there is another element to this equation that must be included in the discussion. That is the buy-in from students. In any project there are certain skills necessary. There is also a needed level of commitment on the part of the participants to make the project feasible, let alone successful. This means cooperation and effort on the part of the students. If you have 2 or 3 students who are a management challenge or who lack the basic skills needed, that is doable.

But there is a threshold, that once crossed, make a project impossible. I am a librarian and I run a project based library curriculum. I spend hours of my time, hundreds of dollars of my own money to organize meaningful, standard based, project centered lessons. Every year this has become more difficult. Children are less and less able to engage enough listening skills, concentration, self-control, and motivation for the project to be deemed feasible.

So projects that some years ago were exciting, fun and educational are no longer manageable. Even for the most dedicated of us there are limits to what we are capable of doing. As a Language Arts teacher I want my students to learn the skills — the processes — of reading and writing.

How do you do a word sort for theme? What physical movement goes with making connections between nonfiction texts?

The importance of connecting classrooms to the real world

The goal is to determine central idea and validity of the arguments. Hey Kevin! I would advise using the workshop model most of the time, where students are actively working on writing pieces of their own. So instead of teaching grammar out of context, for example, those concepts are delivered in mini-lessons or in a blended learning format , so that each student gets the instruction he or she needs at just the right time , and then students apply that learning right away in their own writing.

In a more passive model, students would read a passage and answer a few questions about the central idea and whether the arguments were valid. They might have to identify textual evidence for the arguments. Too often, this is done in isolation, on paper. Instead, you might have students read the piece, then do a quick, informal, philosophical chairs-style discussion about it. Plus, it will be a lot more lively. For example, if I want students to understand ethos, logos, and pathos, I might start by putting short excerpts on cards that show these techniques being used in writing pieces, but without labels.

Maybe 18 cards total? Then have students work in groups to sort them into piles where they think the writer is doing something similar. This is an inductive learning activity, where students would eventually reach the conclusion that some of the examples appeal to the emotions, some appeal to their sense of right and wrong, and others are more logical in nature. I have been a teacher for 8 years but I am currently not in the classroom because we moved to a new state. This has given me a lot of time to listen to your podcast which I love and am truly inspired by.

In this episode and several others, you have mentioned your frustration with the education that your own children are receiving.


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I am a parent of 3 boys and have of course had those same frustrations. I am having a hard time deciding whether to substitute teach and get back into the traditional classroom in our new state because I just have this urge to do something different and exciting and something that will help change the course of education.

We have choices in so many areas of our daily lives and I think we need more choice in the education for our children. Have you thought about starting a school of your own? Wow, starting a school of my own would be a HUGE endeavor! I would much rather see policy-level changes in how schools are being run so that every school is a good option. Last year I was a teacher.

This year I am a substitute teacher and doing my own research on this same subject. I too would ask my own kids these same questions. Even today when there is so much research on how students learn best. Teachers are not making changes. Students sit and listen to a lecture, then do worksheets, then go home and do more worksheets. Even in middle school. I am not sure what I am going to do with my research, but we need to do more if we are to ever going to increase student learning. I am curious how this notion plays out with intensive learning students all grades and would love your thoughts.

I think all students are completely capable of grappling with learning through activation strategies, organizers and collaborative opportunities, but is there anything you would add or change for this population of students? I am working on a workshop plan now for this idea and would appreciate your thoughts!!


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Heck to the yeah! Keep it coming.

Making a difference to student wellbeing - Teacher

My advanced students crave connection with their real life and they can make that connection when the discuss their material with same-age peers. And the social aspects of these methods help students develop socially and emotionally. All of the above comments refer to teachers being overwhelmed with the numerous demands put upon them.

Until we recognize teachers as professionals, our society will continue to place unrealistic demands on them. Constructive criticism is necessary to grow, so listen and help each other.


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Thanks for doing this post, Jennifer and for the podcast. You are providing a valuable resource and support network for all of us. I am a better teacher in part because of you. It is sad to read some of the negative comments that have been left.

Making a Difference in the Classroom: Strategies that Connect with Students Making a Difference in the Classroom: Strategies that Connect with Students
Making a Difference in the Classroom: Strategies that Connect with Students Making a Difference in the Classroom: Strategies that Connect with Students
Making a Difference in the Classroom: Strategies that Connect with Students Making a Difference in the Classroom: Strategies that Connect with Students
Making a Difference in the Classroom: Strategies that Connect with Students Making a Difference in the Classroom: Strategies that Connect with Students
Making a Difference in the Classroom: Strategies that Connect with Students Making a Difference in the Classroom: Strategies that Connect with Students
Making a Difference in the Classroom: Strategies that Connect with Students Making a Difference in the Classroom: Strategies that Connect with Students
Making a Difference in the Classroom: Strategies that Connect with Students Making a Difference in the Classroom: Strategies that Connect with Students
Making a Difference in the Classroom: Strategies that Connect with Students Making a Difference in the Classroom: Strategies that Connect with Students
Making a Difference in the Classroom: Strategies that Connect with Students Making a Difference in the Classroom: Strategies that Connect with Students

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