Jul 26, 2012

Making Kids Feel Special

With 25 students, and 25 different personalities and emotions, do you ever feel like it's hard to check in with each kid?  How do you make them feel special and loved by you?  And yet, making that personal connection is what cuts down on behavior problems, increases learning and, frankly, is what makes my job so dear to my heart.  Here's some ways you can build that relationship and love your kids even more!

1. Morning Handshake/Hug: Each morning, I stand at the door and shake the hand of each kid.  I look them in the eye, ask them how they are and actually pause for an answer.  It also gives me a chance to see where each kid is at emotionally that day, talk to everyone individually, notice anyone who's "off", welcome absentees back, etc.  Since the kids jump right into an assignment when they come in each morning, I have the time to talk to everyone as I shake hands (in Kinder & 1st, I gave hugs instead)

2. You Are Fabulous: I found this adorable printable from technology rocks. seriously.  Don't you love it??  I printed off two of them, put them in Dollar Tree frames and stuck 'em on the shelf above our backpack hooks...right where the kids could see them as soon as they came in and multiple times a day.  Each day, I used a dry erase marker to fill it in with a student's name and a reason I thought they were fabulous (you can just write on the glass and wipe it off at the end of the day).

3. Love Notes: I love writing my kids little love notes whenever I have a few few minutes.  Sometimes it's when we're waiting for an assembly to start, sometimes it's when they're checking out their library books.  And I start by writing notes to the kids as if I weren't there.  Then when I have a substitute, I can leave individual notes on each of the kids' desks letting them know how much I appreciate them; keeps behavior in check much better than threats or bribes ever could.

4. Photos: At the beginning of each year, I like to take headshots of each of the kids, print 8x10s and mount them on black construction paper so it looks nicer.  Then I put them on the wall like a photo wall collage, kind of like what you might have in your home.  Makes it feel homey and all lovey. :)  I also take photos of the kids and activities constantly, which slowly accumulate on our classroom door, where the kids see it every day (and remember all the fun things we do in our class!).

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