Happy Day to You!
You academic superstar. I know it’s difficult to feel happy right now in the midst of so much turmoil in our nation. It breaks my heart to see people throwing so much hate at each other. It brought to mind the need for some optimism and positivity. My conclusion was further confirmed when we posted something positive that happened in Pam’s classroom, and it got thousands of views! We decided to expand that venture into a blog post and here we are. These are the most important things your students may or may not be learning.
Lesson #1: Everyone Wants to Be Included
- So true, isn’t it? No person wants to feel left out of something. It immediately makes us self-conscious, wondering why we don’t fit in. This is one of the most important lessons we can teach our students. Some kids are social, immediately finding companionship in any situation. Others are shy, unsure about what to do. We need to explain to our students that they should include everyone, even when it’s difficult.
Pam’s students were pairing off for an activity, and there was a little girl who didn’t have a partner. Without Pam’s prompting, a girl who had a partner asked this girl to join her group. Now this little girl who was alone is not the friendliest, or easiest to get along with, but even she wanted to be included. It made her feel so good, and Pam said her behavior has completely changed.
Lesson #2: Everyone Is Important
The song Pam teaches in her classroom at the beginning of the year is our Quality Student song. In it, the kids learn what a quality student is. One of the lines is that a quality student is an important part of a team. She says now whenever a student is late, the students cheer and say “so and so is here!” They know that each student is part of the team and is important. This is such a crucial lesson to learn; especially now when there are so many polarizing opinions flying around. Students need to understand that no matter what a person believes, or how a person looks, everyone is important.
Lesson #3: Everyone is Smart
- This is definitely a lesson for us teachers as much as for the students. I know I for one have a hard time ignoring labels in the classroom. This child has behavior problems, or that child is ADHD, or this child is delayed. Labels help us know how to approach learning for each student.
Here’s the catch though: they almost always know what their labels are. It’s difficult for us to hide those preconceptions from the students and then it impacts them. So instead, let’s teach our students thatt everyone has strengths and weaknesses, starting with the teacher. Let’s be aware of our strengths and weaknesses and know that it helps to have a team to fill in the gaps. Every child is good at something and is their own unique type of smart.
Lesson #4: Everyone Has Feelings
- This one seems pretty obvious, but should be said nonetheless. It’s easy for students to get caught up in how they feel, but what about their friends? In our Quality Student song, we say that quality students are understanding toward others. This is a simpler way to showing students how to empathize.
When we are angry with our friends, or hurt, it’s important to understand how the other person feels. Maybe students need to try and understand how the teacher feels sometimes. It’s easy to dislike someone when you don’t understand him or her. The more our students can empathize, the more they will be able to work out their own issues peacefully, and learn to cooperate.
Teaching These Lessons
These ideas are so simple, but sometimes so difficult to reinforce. I would highly recommend starting with our Quality Student song. Pam said it’s done wonders for her classroom environment and has really taught the students how to treat one another. It’s free with our FREE LEARNING account. Classroom meetings are also a plus. You can use them to talk about the students’ feelings or how they can cooperate better in the classroom. Confess your strengths and weaknesses to your students. Explain to them that even the teacher doesn’t always have the answer and that’s ok. Have your students journal about their strengths and weaknesses, then find a partner or form a group that builds up those weaknesses.
Model these lessons yourself. Students are so perceptive and they watch us closer than we will ever know. Remember and live out these truths and your students will follow.
When in doubt, the golden rule is paramount. All of these lessons focus on how everyone wants to be treated, so let’s treat them that way.
Hopefully this has brought some sunshine to your day and will continue to bring light to your classroom. If you want to join a group of Quality Teachers like yourself, find us on Facebook!
Have a great weekend!