Sunday, February 9, 2014

Be My Guest Sunday Presents LOVE From The Applicious Teacher

I cannot begin to tell you how much I LOVE this guest post! It feels like a little warmth on this cold NY morning and a it's a perfect way to begin Valentine's Week! We all love our students, but Leigh from The Applicious Teacher brings it all to life in her touching and funny blog post! I've been a follower of Leigh's on social media for a while and it's clear that she puts LOVE into all she does!

Be prepared to have your heart warmed this morning!

...and remember, after soaking up all the LOVE from The Applicious Teacher, be sure to enter the Stella & Dot Giveaway!  A winner will be chosen this Friday! Yay!!! {Clicking will bring you to the blog post!}

Now, without further adieu, here is The LOVEly Applicious Teacher!

Hey guys! It's Leigh from The Applicious Teacher!

I am super excited and honored that Tracey has so graciously allowed me to post today! Seriously, what kid doesn't love a turn in the "Teacher's Chair"? (Insert joke drum here..)

 Today's post is all about L.O.V.E! The teacher kind to be exact! With Valentine's Day just around the corner (Friday, if you weren't keeping track!) love is all around us! But there is nothing quite like the love a teacher has for her kids.


We all know that we love our kids like they are own, but do they know? Sure, we probably buy them something sweet for Valentine's Day and send them off to start their summer break with a little memento, but do they really know how much WE, their teacher, really care? Probably not...

See when the chalk has settled and life carries on, those little cards and trinkets fall to the wayside GASP! Not my melted crayon heart!  Yes, sadly even that melted crayon heart. Truth be told, most kids won't remember the "things" their teacher gave them.  Instead they will remember the way their teacher made them feel.

Let's make sure you are making your kids feel loved, special, and appreciated!  Don't worry... it will in a very cheap (as in FREE) and easy (as in no prep) and fast (as in a few seconds a day) way!

Ok... so before we talk about "how" to love on your kids, let's talk about the "why".

Why show your kids you care?

 Research upon research of highly effective teachers has proven that students perform better when they perceive that their teacher had a vested interest in them. AKA... CARED! Here's a link to a case study review  titled "The Caring Teacher". It is 179 pages of why you should show your students you care! No time to read the 179 page article? Bookmark it for later, it is really good!

Here's another online publishing from It outlines effective teachers and how "caring" really does make a difference! I could go on and on about the stats related to these studies, but if you are like me... you're more interested in the "What do I need to Do..." part...

So now that you are more familiar with the "why" let's get to the meat and potatoes... the HOW!

1. Relationship Building

Research shows that if students have a positive relationship with their teacher (and peers) they will perform better.  Although this can be done in a variety of ways, one of the easiest that I've found, is to actually take the time to "talk" to your students, everyday.

Each morning, as my students write their homework in their planners and work on their morning work, I move around the classroom checking their planners.  As I check for a parent signature from the night before and that homework is written correctly (we're still working on transcribing in 2nd grade) I am also chatting. Each and every morning, I make a point to talk to each of my students in my class. Simple questions like "How was your game last night?" Or "What did you have for breakfast this morning" help me learn and understand each of my students as a unique individual. Now, don't get me wrong... mornings are the most chaotic time in my room. Someone always needs something and I am ALWAYS late inputting my attendance, but I make a point to do it... EVERY.SINGLE.MORNING. Why?
'Cuz I'm relationship building!

2. Celebrate Even the Smallest Achievements

We as teachers are always celebrating the momentous occasions. Like that time everyone made a 100% on that math assessment or the time the class was good for the sub when they were sick. Heck, we even celebrate the 100th day of school! But it's important to celebrate even our student's smallest achievements.

Take for example a colleague of mine. She has a student who has tardy issues... you know those kinds of students. The kind that mosey on in at around 9:30, just after you finished that amaze-balls of a lesson. Well she's got one of those kids and of course that kid isn't doing too hot. Well one day that kid... that tardy kid.. moseyed on in right after the bell. Her reaction? A full on hoot and holler cheer complete with dance moves and body shaking. Now that is celebrating the smallest achievements! You know that kid felt special and loved and wanted to be on time, again, and again! :) Lesson of the story: Don't be afraid to celebrate those small achievements with a little booty shakin'. ;)

3. Letting Student's Know Their Voice Matters

This last one is a *bit* tricky. Any Kindergarten teacher can tell you, you give kids an inch with talking and they will take a mile (and tell you ALL about what they did yesterday, and the day before, and the day before...) So you have to be strategic when letting students voices be heard. One thing that works well in my room is allowing students to be the "teacher" during our "we do" part of a lesson.

During math, I'll often model the concept we are working on, then call a few students up to the chalkboard (yup-total old school style it here!) to work on similar problems. During that time, the other kiddos that were not chosen are tasked with being the teacher. They have to decide if they agree or disagree with the answer the student as arrived at, reteach or coach when needed, and celebrate when the correct answer is confirmed. The kids <3 this routine in my classroom. It is simple and rather painless acitivity that allows my students' voices and opinions to be heard in a structured and safe way. The kiddos especially love choosing which cheer we should use to encourage the students at the board.

So as you assemble your goodie bags and sweat over a pot of melting crayons this Valentine's Day Eve,  remember: sometimes the best way to show some "LOVE" to your kids isn't with the amount of gifts or activities you do (or the amount of $ you spend on TpT), 

It just involves a little extra attention and time.

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  1. What a great list of reminders, especially at this time of year when we get pushed and pulled in many testing, data-driven directions. I use a stuffed "snowball" in winter and a "Koosh ball" during the rest of the year during the five minutes before busses or the 5 minutes right after lunch to take time to toss out a question for each student to answer about themselves or to share a happy tidbit from their life. It helps us all get to know each other better, and it helps me make sure no child gets lost in the busy shuffle of our day!

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Notes For the Teacher