Sunday, November 23, 2014

Grateful for the Opportunity to Reflect

Blogging Challenge Continued:

Well, I have to admit that it has been hard to find the time to keep up with this challenge!  I thought that I would do a mini-reflection on each, once each week.  But now two weeks have passed me by.  Oops.  So, I will just do what seems to make sense.  Here we go…

9.  What can I do to create an attitude of gratitude in my classroom?

Today’s #sunchat was on the topic of gratitude.  I loved so many of the ideas that were presented, and there are a few I wish I had done.  It isn’t too late to incorporate them into my classroom.  

One idea is to keep “thank you” box where students can write notes to say thanks to someone.  The teacher reads them once a week.  My only concern here is that it could become like a popularity contest with some kids getting lots of notes and others none.

Another idea that I like is making this part of kids writing habit.  They should write thoughts of gratitude as a journal reflection once in awhile.  I really like this one, because it is private and might urge kids to kindness when they reflect on the kindness of others.

I love the idea of communicating with parents about the great things kids have done.  Positive phone calls and emails home to say, “I am thankful for your child because ___.” This is one that I have meant to do, but never seem to make time for.  It’s been one of those resolutions that I haven't been good at fulfilling.  I so much appreciated the notes from Ben’s 3rd grade teacher, Maestra Reed, who would email to say…”Right now, Ben is helping __ with math.  He might make a great teacher one day!” and other similar comments.  I know his friends parents got these sort of emails too!  

So… here it is, my "to do":  journal prompts, and notes home.

Otherwise, as I said in the chat, gratitude should be be expressed in the moment. It should be specific and genuine.  I want my classroom to be a place where kindness is a habit, and appreciation comes naturally out of care and affection for one another.

10.  Being grateful for humor. Share a story where humor played a part.

This one is the hardest on the list for me.  I find little things funny, or amusing.  Situations in which we giggle at an unexpected coincidence or appreciate silly word play.  Although I am not the type to tell jokes or create humorous situations, I can smile when they occur.  I enjoy the crazy things that kids do, and I smile at my own mistakes. Humor in my classroom comes from those wonderfully gifted kids who make us laugh every day, and from talented authors who share their craft with us.  I love to read aloud.  I’m not good at creating the humor myself, but I find it and share it when I can!  

11.  What is the most important “lesson” I want to teach my students?

I want my kids to learn that they are capable, creative thinkers.  I want them to experience the feeling that comes from completing a challenging task, that hard work and persistence provide a sense of accomplishment and pride.  I want them to know the intrinsic value of learning.  I hope that my students will learn to love learning!

12.  Share photos of things/people I am grateful for.  Family adventures!


13.  What do I do to take time out for myself?

I get up early in the morning!  Usually I am up about 5:30 am, and I read or I write.  At 6:00 my husband joins me and we have a little time to drink coffee together before the craziness of the day begins.

14.  What are 5 things I am grateful to have learned in my teaching career?

  • At St. Gregory’s I learned to value the talents of my colleagues, and what it means to work together as a team.
  • In working for Head Start, I learned that every family loves their children and all have strengths.
  • As a mentor to childhood care and education providers, I discovered that I learn the most when I am teaching others.
  • As a kindergarten teacher, I learned that organization is the key to maximizing learning opportunities for kids.
  • As an ELL teacher and Title I specialist, I learned to appreciate the relationships that develop over years of working with a student and his or her family.

15.  What tech tools am I most grateful for? How have they changed what I do?

I love the Book Creator app on my classroom iPads!  The kids are so motivated to publish their writing, and can be totally creative.  Right now, they are making magnet books to share the knowledge they gained during our science unit.  They must follow the pattern of organized writing with a page that introduces the topic, at least three ideas explained with interesting detail (3 pages) and a conclusion (final page of the book).  They are drawing, recording their voices, making magnet videos… my kids are creating!  I love the enthusiasm for both the science and the writing.

16.  What is the most powerful aspect of being a connected educator?  What am I grateful for?

I am thrilled to have discovered the twitter #edchat because it led me to #satchatwc and #sunchat which have become my favorites.  I have found other educators who are just as passionate as I am about learning and trying new things.  I’m grateful for a listening ear that doesn’t tire of my talking and talking and talking about my kids, my work, my plans for school.

More Attitude of Gratitude to come... on a day when I can find a few more minutes before my morning coffee!