WLE "Kids Deserve It!" discussion

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June 11th- Chapters 3-5, pages 27-52

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message 1: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Schafer | 15 comments Mod
1) The book notes that our field is "steeped in tradition," and that can benefit us and our culture for many reasons. What are ways that traditions or past methods have benefited us? What are ways in which they can hinder our growth, and the growth of the students?

2) In "Never Slam the Door" we read accounts of approaches that have helped administrators and educators reach even the most troubled child. What are some ways that you have built deeper relationships and connected with kids?

3) Do you use phone calls home as a means of communication with parents? If not, what ideas do you have after reading chapter 5? What hurdles might you have to overcome to make calling more accessible?


message 2: by Linda (new)

Linda Davis | 9 comments Happy Monday all!
Walden Lake E.S. already does the positive post card thing- I am connecting that to pg. 41 the "I believe in you letters". Our PBIS attempts to do something similar to pg. 47 "Hats Off to You" but we need to restrengthen our PBIS efforts as a school. Perhaps, move our focus more to those students making good choices. (pg.47) Make successful students a louder voice, a more seen presence on our campus. Come over the intercom with, "Sophie, or Mac or Matthew (made us names?) please take a bow, you just read your 100, 000th word! / raised your iReady, / wrote these beautiful words/ solved that challenging problem" Or anything that reaffirms the practices, routines and culture that we want to see at WLES- a clean campus, students speaking respectfully.(we'd have to decide together what we value because I should not assume that characteristics that were traditionally valued are still valued today)
I agree with the authors in that effective discipline involves a lot of listening and talking to the child. I am trying to think of how I might build in time for talking to one child at a time.
I get to school early and am ready to listen. I don't have a homeroom, those non-curriculum minutes that used to start at 7:30, how could I use them for students EVEN when I have duty? I've thought of asking students to come talk to me while I stand at duty.... some already do. Many don't get here early. Sometimes I pull a student from host- I get parent permission. What ways do you guys find time to make connections with kids WHILE relentlessly pushing the rigorous curriculum? I suspect some of you have an answer, your scores show that you push kids... HOW do you also deal with the discipline? Are you sneaking in phone calls? Do you do it at the ball field? At the hockey rink?
I use phone calls to communicate with parents, because then I can hear their attitude to what I am sharing. I also use emails because they can be done at any time of day AND they produce a permanent record of what was said.
I do wish my phone could be used somewhere besides the far playgrounds! You'll see me out at the picnic tables trying to get reception on Verizon. Is it that I have an old phone? Do some of you even get internet on your phones IN your classrooms?
Enjoy the week!


message 3: by Alexandria (new)

Alexandria Walker | 8 comments #2 - To build deeper relationship with my (our) students, I take the time to simply talk to them about anything outside the realm of school; get to know their interests, likes, and dislikes. I believe taking the time to get to know our students (and showing an interest in their lives outside of the classroom) goes a long way! Building relationships with students are vital to student successes; relationships also help the teacher understand the child’s wants, needs, and personality!

My “daily white board messages” aren’t always academically based, but it enables me to learn new “information” about my (our) students on a daily basis... and students are practicing their writing skills daily ;)! I like to attend my (our) students’ athletic (or any other extra curricular activities) events whenever possible! I’ve seen the benefits from taking one hour out of my evening or weekend go a long way with students! I say students because sometimes they’re not even in my class, let alone grade level ;) but I genuinely enjoy attending their extra curricular functions!

I also think participating in after school activities (STEM nights, Summer Slide, Eagle Extravaganza, etc.) puts our faces out there for students to recognize and remember as they go through elementary school! Hopefully, fostering a mini community within our school community!

#3 - We (I) have utilized phone calls as a means of communication for parents since I started teaching. Although it isn’t as personal as a face to face interaction, a simple phone call can also go a long way with students and their parents. I made a note for next year that I’d like to do at least three positive phone calls home a week - this can be done during planning time, lunch time, or immediately after school! I think it’ll definitely benefit teacher/parent relationships, as well as, student/parent and student/teacher relationships!


message 4: by Racheal (new)

Racheal Ham | 4 comments Hi! I am just now joining the convo, but have read everyone's posts up to now! I am amazed by all the great ideas and thoughts you all have and am looking forward to joining in on this discussion!

1) Many of the traditions in education are "tried and true" and hold great benefits for teachers and students. I can think back to some of the procedures and strategies that were used when I was in elementary school (yes, I'm young, but that was still 15 years ago! ) that are still used today! While many strategies are still effective, we have to be willing to grow and change with the times. The traditions may still "work", but are they the MOST effective for our kiddos? As I read chapter 3, I couldn't help but think, how can I expect my kids to change, grow and learn if we do the SAME thing over and over each day. Students learn by example and as teachers must be willing to show them how to be flexible and take risks in the classroom by doing it with them.

2) I think chapter 4 and 5 go hand in hand when it comes to building relationships with kids. I've found that building relationships with students can't always be scheduled. Sometimes I'll choose a kid to talk to in line and ask them how their day is going (yes, talking in line!). Not only do they realize that I care about their personal life, but they feel pretty special that they get to talk in line and stand next to me. Other times, I'll find the one kid that's sitting alone at playground time and go talk to them.

Another thing that I found to be very powerful for me this year was being vulnerable as a teacher. I had some girl drama in my class this year and my kids were amazed when I told them that I used to have girls I didn't get along with in elementary school! They couldn't believe it! What....Mrs. Ham used to have girl drama?! Yep! I'm human :) When I got real and shared my experiences with students it opened new doors for relationship building. Just like Alex mentioned, showing up to recitals, sports games, birthday parties, etc is another great way to demonstrate to students that we care about more than just academics. I also made a few positive phone calls at the beginning of the year and it does make a difference! Overall, I think "never slamming the door" is about intentionality and going out of your way to demonstrate compassion towards your students. Our kids truly do deserve to know their voice is heard, no matter how loud or annoying it can be at times!


message 5: by Dina (new)

Dina | 7 comments The ideas in this book truly affirm what we already know as educators. There are stories I relate to throughout the book. I have to believe they are familiar to you as well.

One simple thing that I agree with that makes a huge impact to a child, or a family is that "phone call." A phone call can speak a "thousand" words. An email conveys a message, but that voice speaks volumes!!!! I believe making that call home "just because" can make a HUGE impact on our kiddos. The "Hats off to you" idea on page 47 is precious! I love to phone our families with good news....what a unique way to support that. Would you agree with that?

We entered the field of education to make a difference for children and our future. The times have changed.....we have to be creative meeting their needs. However, I believe we all feel that no matter what..... "Kids Deserve it!" We can do this!


message 6: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Shissler | 8 comments Loved reading everyone's posts... great insights!

After my reading this morning and my morning scroll on FB, I came across this quote... " Love people out loud. Even if you don't think it needs to be said. Tell them. Often. ". These chapters really focus on communication and connection to our families and students. I must say that's one of my FAVORITE things in teaching , but these chapters have inspired me to think of different ways that I can do that. Connecting via phone, having my voice convey the message instead of a note/email is so much more powerful. "Voice connects people in a way email does not". Understandably, on the other side of the coin there is always necessary communication that needs to be exchanged via email. These chapters have challenged me to think of connecting in new/creative ways with my parents/students . I'm normally connecting through notes to my students/parents but I'm really inspired to be more consistent with the "voice" connection. I love how Walker reaches out to her students through their extra curricular activities. I've seen FB pics of her doing just that!! Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed with my own 2 kids evening schedules, but I want to make room for those opportunities if I feel that could be an opportunity. The positive postcards that we do are always a plus and often times, you'll hear great feedback from your students on how excited they were to get a card from their teacher.

"He believed the only reason for his improvement was that someone believed in him before they even met him". Great quote from the book that reminds me how important it can be to send postcards to your students during preplanning before school starts (something I want to start doing this year)

"Sometimes our smallest actions make the biggest difference" <3


message 7: by Kelly (new)

Kelly | 6 comments Conversation is key when getting to know your students. Not having my own classroom these past 6 years, I always made myself available to students whether it was taking a moment in the media center to chat with a student or catching them in the hallways when I made my rounds in the morning. I’ll never forget the a 3rd grade student that I saw in the hallway (just passing by) he caught my attention as he said, “When are you coming to my room to work with me? I’m not doing very well and I need your help?” (I had worked with him in 1st grade when he was struggling to read.) I could have easily kept walking and said I was in a hurry, but I took the time to stop and listen. I’m so thankful I did stop and listen. I also followed through by creating a small group in that teacher’s class so I could work with him and a few others. I can’t wait to be back in the classroom again where I can continue to have great conversations and get to know students well.
Years ago (when I had my own classroom), I use to do a WOW Wednesday phone call. Every Wednesday I would pick a few students and I would call and share positive information on how they were doing in school. As I read Chapter 5, I thought back to my own personal experience. I have 2 boys, both are grown and in college now, but I remember one teacher who called and shared how my son was doing. It was a positive phone call to say that Austin scored 100% on a test (high school chemistry) and how it was a pleasure having him in the classroom. It not only made me feel proud, but it created a whole conversation with my son and I could see how it affected him to know his teacher took the time to do this. I never really knew the impact a quick phone call (when I made them years ago) until I was at the end of the line getting one myself. I will definitely continue to do this again with my upcoming classroom!
(Kelly A.)


message 8: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Schafer | 15 comments Mod
Linda wrote: "Happy Monday all!
Walden Lake E.S. already does the positive post card thing- I am connecting that to pg. 41 the "I believe in you letters". Our PBIS attempts to do something similar to pg. 47 "Ha..."


Linda, I always love reading what you have to share.... I think you are on to something with strengthening and using our PBIS to really work on the culture and relationships that we are building! I am nervous that next year we will have a spike in attendance issues too... Having a strong PBIS team that's committed to renewing our culture will be critical!


message 9: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Schafer | 15 comments Mod
Alexandria wrote: "#2 - To build deeper relationship with my (our) students, I take the time to simply talk to them about anything outside the realm of school; get to know their interests, likes, and dislikes. I beli..."

Yes! I have always loved your white board stuff! I wonder if there is something we can do school wide that could be implemented with the same concept... not stealing what you hold sacred in your room! I'd love to see if we could so that for culture building too!


message 10: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Schafer | 15 comments Mod
Kelly wrote: "Conversation is key when getting to know your students. Not having my own classroom these past 6 years, I always made myself available to students whether it was taking a moment in the media center..."


Welcome! Love the WOW Wednesday idea! I am a schedule person that needs something like that! :o)


message 11: by Katrin (new)

Katrin | 6 comments I love everyone's ideas about how to connect with students. I think it is super important to get to know students on a personal level...things they like, about their family, their experiences, etc. There are many times during the day to allow that to happen such as conversations in the morning, eating lunch with your students, or talking to them during teacher directed PE. I've always believed that if your kids know they care about you, it will directly impact how they will learn and grow in your classroom. I've always made an effort to go to all activities at school and also go to my kid's outside school activities such as sports or musical performances. Like Kelly mentioned, I am still learning how to do that now that I have two children of my own and have to manage their schedules too, but I am hoping to start to be able to find a way to go to more extracurricular events this year. I do make phone calls, but like others stated before, I would like to make an effort to make more phone calls home next year. A goal to make a positive phone call home to every student at least once a semester, instead of writing an email or a note, would definitely increase positive family/teacher relationships.


message 12: by Kathy (new)

Kathy | 9 comments 2) Two years ago I had a 4th grade student who gave me trouble every art class. I would sit with him, try to talk to him, sent letters home, made phone calls, sat in on a parent conference. It really was't fun when that class came because he really made an impact on the class. I did not look forward to seeing him in 5th grade. However; he was changed in 5th grade. He still wasn't the best academically, but his behavior was was so much better. I was afraid to interact too much, because I thought he would revert. He was definitely an example of never giving up on students. I do regret that I didn't call home to give a good report on his behavior. This book has made me realize that I need to implement the positive phone calls.


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