I believe that in order to get the most of your students both behaviorally and academically, you must have a solid teacher-student relationship with them. They want to know you care about them and they want to know you’re listening to them. And, quite honestly, getting to know my little school family is my favorite part of each year! At the beginning of the school year I like to have my students fill out a short, fun survey. The little survey gives me a quick overview of their family life and interests.I keep these surveys in the front of their file folders that I keep in my cabinet filled with parent notes, test scores, etc. Throughout the year I fill out little updated notes about new interests or hobbies they may have. I tend to do this most when a particular student may be having a difficult time with behavior. I find the more I can try to connect with that student and find what he or she wants to work for, then we can work together.
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Writer’s workshop is one of my favorite times of the day. A large majority of that is the peacefulness it brings because of the atmosphere in the classroom. After I have taught my guided lesson and students begin their independent writing, I immediately turn off our overhead lights and play some classical music. It takes my students a few weeks to get used to, but as soon as the music begins there is an immediate calm throughout the classroom. It puts them in the “zone” and they produce some of the best writing. Honestly, it helps me get in the zone as well!
You can read more of my starting Writer’s Workshop tips by clicking below:
My favorite CD to use during my writing block is the Music for the Mind Kagan CD. I love the one specifically for reading & writing. I have a few other CDs from this series as well, but this one happens to be my favorite: