Meet the Teacher


Relationships Matter!

It’s a new year and that means time to reflect and change.  The MOST important thing when it comes to my classroom is relationships. Relationships are what drives students {and teachers} to want to come to school and take risks.  When we feel safe and like we belong, we are more willing to make mistakes.

morning greetings, morning meeting

So how do we do this?  We all know getting to know our students and families help.  What else can we do?
At the beginning of the year, I choose 3-4 students a day to really focus on and get to know.  Once I get through the whole class, I go down my class list and see if I can name 3-5 unique things I learned about each child.  If I can't, I make it my goal to do so.

After that, I meet with a few children every day {usually during morning work} and chat.  We talk about what’s going on in their world at school or home, things they like, dislike, hopes, fears or anything that they want to talk about. I always ask them if there is anything that they need from me. As we meet throughout the year they start to open up and let me know what they need. I sip my coffee and take notes to remember what they said.  This is a very powerful time and my students look forward to it.

Teaching, like parenting, can be messy.  There will be bad days. When you have relationships with students, it makes it so much easier to discipline. My next blog post will be about that.

Relationships are also built on shared experiences.  Orchestrating moments to build relationships and bonds is of utmost importance.

A game changer for me has been greeting my students at the door every morning using my morning greeting resource.  Seriously, my students rush in the building, quickly get unpacked and line up to greet me in the morning.  

building relationships in te classroom, morning meeting

I change them every week and students cannot wait to see what new greeting are up or if one of their favorites has returned!

Students decide if they would like to give me a hug, fist bump, robot hello, or whatever else the choices are. I remind them to make eye contact when we greet each other and use names. Then, I am allowed a few moments to interact with each student and ask, “How are you?”  or “ What did you do this weekend?” This simple act lets students know that it matters that they are in school and I am happy to see them.  It provides a smooth transition from home to school. I seriously could not teach without this product!

building relationships in the classroom, morning meetings, morning meeting

building relationships in the classroom

I’ve extended our greeting into the classroom by allowing students to use the greeting with one another while I am getting through the line.  I had to teach this because just like everything else, explicit instruction gets the results we want. Students love to interact with one another and get a sense of belonging and this provides that.  Check it out hereI promise you will love it as much as we do!

building relationships in the classroom

You don't need to use this resource, but perhaps you can think of a ritual that you can do with your class to foster shared experiences.

Another way we build relationships is through our calendar and morning meeting.  If you have a SMARTBoard, you MUST check this out.  We sing good morning songs, read a note from the teacher, complete a fun morning meeting activity and review important math skills all in an interactive, engaging way!  I have been using this calendar {and adapting it} for a decade now and it is one thing I cannot do without and neither can the students! 
Here are a few examples of the morning meeting activities.
calendar, building relationships
calendar, building relationships

The wonderful thing about this resource is it changes each month while some things remain the same.  It allows for continuous review so that learning sticks!  
If you have a SMARTBoard and Notebook software, I know that this will become a staple in your classroom as it has been in mine and my teammates!

Again, I'm not saying this resource is the answer for you.  It works for me so I wanted to share it.  Think of a way you can build relationships and bonds and rituals particular to your class that create a sense of belonging that works for you.  It will make all the difference.

These are two easy ways to help foster relationships in your classroom immediately.  I would love to know what you do in your room!  Please share in the comments.

If you would like to read other ways to foster relationships in the classroom, check out this blog post.
Find the second installment of this blog series here, where I discuss discipline.  
Have a wonderful New Year friends!

 building relationships in thhe classroom, classroom community

1 comment

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