How Self Confidence Impacts Our Self Worth
Do you sometimes feel like you are surrounded by people who are better than you? Are you sometimes afraid to participate because you don't think you will be good enough?
It may surprise you to find out that this is a common feeling and most people experience it at one time or another. Many people will try to fake it and attempt to hide it from others, but I suspect if you did an anonymous survey, you would probably have a high percentage of people saying it is true.
Believe in yourself
Sometimes when you are surrounded by others who excel, it is hard to put yourself out there. You feel like you don't measure up and you might get criticized or ridiculed by others. I get it. I have a high achieving, talented family and I often feel like I am the "weakest link". The funny thing is, others feel that way when they are around me because they look at me as being the high achiever and talented one.
What I have learned along the way, is you sometimes need to put yourself out there and try, even when it is hard. Asking for help is difficult for us as adults, but we are always encouraging our students to do so. I guess we should take our own advice and do the same.
A Personal Example
In school, I found writing difficult, particularly poetry. This feeling carried over to my teaching, and I found it difficult at first to embrace teaching poetry. I could do the basics and I could help my students get started, but I found it challenging because sometimes I didn't feel that I could do it well myself. I needed to remind myself that I could do it and focus on this.
When I was in school, we would have to do many different types of writing, including poetry, and sometimes I was successful, but often I felt that I wasn't doing a great job. I got varying reactions from my teachers which made me start to doubt myself. It wasn't until I was in Grade 11 that I felt I could even write well.
That year was a changing point for me because I had a teacher who believed in me and encouraged me to keep writing. My short stories improved and my confidence started to build. Poetry was still a challenge, but I felt that I was able to at least meet the criteria.
I realized that writing is subjective and what some people like, others don't. It wasn't always a case of my writing being "bad", it was a case of my not being able to convey my feelings in a way that connected with some individuals. Once I learned that, I attempted to write more and use more variety and description. I started to get more positive feedback and this helped me to get through the assignments. I continued to keep trying and I started to feel like I could write well.
How it made a difference
Fast forward to my classroom and my students throughout the years of my teaching career. I was able to see this struggle with my kids in different subject areas and I was able to be the teacher that encouraged them. Sometimes it took a while, but in most cases, I was able to see growth and even a love of reading and writing develop in them.
Math was a bigger challenge, but that even began to take on a different effort as kids started to see themselves as capable. Confidence began to flourish and successes became more evident.
I used the following posters as our classroom themes. I believe these sayings and I tried to help my students to take them to heart and believe them too.
How teachers make a difference
As teachers, we have a huge influence on our students, whether we want to admit it or not. It is important to help them to become strong, confident, and valued people that are able to go out into the world and be successful. We don't know what they will choose to do in their lives, but we can give them the tools to strive for their goals.
If we encourage them to continue to keep trying when things get tough, they will learn perseverance and determination. If we acknowledge their progress, they will start to gain confidence and realize that they are capable of more.
If we treat them as valuable, we will help them to see their own self worth. In this time of mental health struggles with young people, this is very important. We need to be our students' cheerleaders and guides.
Teachers need encouragers too
We also need to be encouragers to our friends and colleagues who may be struggling to feel like they are worthy and valued. Especially now with the struggles of teaching during a pandemic. Our confidence has been shaken and we are sometimes beginning to doubt ourselves.
If you are feeling uncertain or wondering if you are doing a good job, I want to assure you that you are not alone. You should be proud of yourself for hanging in there during difficult circumstances. If you are feeling like you need help, don't be afraid to ask for it. There are many people out there who would be happy to help and provide support and encouragement.
I can tell you from experience, that you can get through tough times with support. Who knows, down the road you may be the one providing support to others as they struggle through tough times. It happened to me, so I know if can happen to others.
You've got this. You are valued, appreciated, and worthy. Believe in yourself.
Here are some posters I made that may help remind you and your students that you are valuable and worthy. Click on the image to check them out.
Sign up for my newsletter and get a free sampler of posters.
How The Way We Feel Affects How We Look At The World
Happy New Year! It is hard to believe another year has passed. Who would have thought we would still be in the midst of a pandemic almost two years later. This year, it is important to be able to move on and look forward even though we are still dealing with restrictions and concerns over the virus that continues to impact our lives.
We often focus on all the things that are going wrong and these things can make it difficult to see things that are going right in the world. I would like to challenge both you and me to try to find the good out there and make that a focus for 2022.
Imagine how we could change the world if we were able to find the good in people instead of criticizing them. Think of all the positive energy we could add to a situation if we started to focus on what is right in the world.
A teacher friend of mine sent out an email the other day that was a great reminder of this. She uses colours for moods and puts them in her planner each day to indicate what kind of day it was. She noticed that when she looked back at the year, she had many days that had positive moments that she might have forgotten about if she had not made a note of them.
I have also seen different posts about gratitude jars. If we put one thought of gratitude on paper each day, or even each week, and put it in the jar, at the end of the year, we will be amazed at how much we have to be grateful for. Since it is the new year, this might be a good time to try that.
In the fall, I wrote about gratitude and created a gratitude journal for the four seasons. You can find out more about it here. This is a great place to record thoughts and reminders of things to be grateful for. Kids would benefit from using this type of journal. It is important to learn how to appreciate things and focus on what we have instead of always thinking about what we want.
I have created a personal feelings template that can be made into a personal feelings journal for the year. It is available on my followers free resources page for subscribers. I have added it to my Teachers Pay Teachers store for those who wish to purchase a copy.
Our attitude affects how we feel. If we are hopeful and positive, we will make it through challenging time. I hope that you will have a year full of good memories. Hang in there. We've got this!
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Mental Health First and Academics Second
I remember talking to a friend of mine one day about how things had changed and she reminded me that there were some positive things that came out of last year that hopefully would be continued this year. For instance, kids were washing their hands more often, staying home when they weren't well, taking more care with belongings, cleaning up better, and focusing more on their own work instead of socializing so much.
Of course, there were also many things that were missing that were important for social emotional learning. Being able to return to in person learning and carefully starting to do group activities really made a difference for some kids. I realize that not all schools went totally back to in person teaching, but hopefully they will soon. We learned how important personal connections are as we were prevented from being together for so long.
This was a wake up call for many as the number of children suffering from mental health issues increased significantly in the last year and a half. It goes to show how important it is to ensure that we focus on the social emotional well-being of our students. Academics are important, but not at the expense of a child's mental health.
Teaching SEL Helps Develop Good Mental Health
We, as teachers, nurture the kids and help them to develop positive self esteem and self confidence. It is important that we help them to see that they are special and valuable. Often, when kids act out, they are really crying for attention or help with issues that they may not be able to voice or even recognize. We need to look past the behavior and try to see what may be causing it. This is not an easy task and we may not get it right, but if we are able to let the child see that we care, hopefully it will make a difference.
Getting back to the basics
I heard from many teachers that this year has been a big challenge because of the wide range of levels they need to teach in their classes. Since the start of the pandemic this gap has grown. Some children flourished with online learning and others floundered or didn't even show up. Assignments were left incomplete, comprehension was sporadic, and trying to teach a skill or concept to everyone at the same time virtually was often very difficult and unsuccessful.
Now that many children are back in the classroom, the teacher needs to reassess what they know and where the gaps are so that they can continue on. This may lead to many stressful moments for both the kids and the teachers, especially during assessment times and testing times for those schools that are required to do standardized testing.
I know it may seem unmanageable at times, but it is important that the focus be on what is good for the kids. If it means stepping back and revisiting material that was previously covered in order to provide the base for future learning, do it. If it means that you have to teach in small groups to reinforce and reintroduce concepts, do it. If it means that you won't get to some of the material this year, then so be it.
Pushing through the curriculum just to complete it won't benefit anyone. You will feel like you didn't do your best teaching, and the kids will not get the understanding and knowledge needed to be successful in future lessons. Everyone will feel frustrated and stressed.
You've got this
You may be reading this and saying to yourself, "But you don't understand. It isn't up to me. I am responsible for teaching this curriculum so that my students can do well on the tests." I get it, but I also get that the kids won't do as well on the tests if they don't have a proper understanding of the material. As I said earlier, we need to protect their mental health. Even if it means the academics have to be limited for a short time.
When you give extra support and teaching in the areas that are weak, the kids will develop the skills and confidence to move on to more difficult material and they will ultimately fair better with future assessments and the curriculum requirements.
Remember that every group has had some disruption and that there are many children that are struggling with the academics across the country, and maybe even across the world, so you are not alone with this predicament.
You've got this. Your students will start to catch up as you support them where they are. Remember to encourage them along the way and help them to see that they will be successful and they will be able to reach for their goals and succeed along the way.
Next week I will give some specific ideas for getting back to the basics for primary children.
Hang in there. The holiday break will be here soon and you will be able to recharge and regroup. It may not always feel like it, but you do make a difference for your kids. You are a star. Keep on shining even if the light doesn't seem very bright at times.
Thanksgiving And Gratitude
There is always occasion to be thankful and to show gratitude, but at this time of the year, it is a main focus here in Canada. Next week is Thanksgiving and despite all that is happening around us in the world, there are many things to be thankful for. This is the time to stop and take time to remember and recognize the good things and the things that we have been blessed to have or experience. This is especially important right now for our mental health.
Of course, this may not be an easy task for many because of all the negative stuff we are bombarded with daily, but it is very important for our own mental well being and for our interactions with others.
It is hard to be positive and happy when all we hear and see each day is negative. We need to start filling up our buckets and those around us with gratitude and blessings. As we begin to focus on these things, our attitudes will change and we will be able to be more positive and productive. People will want to be around us rather than avoid us and we will ultimately fill more buckets and spread kindness around us.
One way we can begin is to review what bucket filling is and why it is important. We can also start a gratitude journal and write down a list of things that we are grateful for. Another activity that works well is a compliment sheet for others. Often we don't realize that we are helping others feel good and doing things that they appreciate. A compliment sheet allows others to share what they notice or appreciate. It is amazing to watch kids beam when they see that they have made a difference for others.
I have created some seasonal gratitude journals. You can check them out here. I am giving a free copy of the fall journal for you to try. Get your free copy now.
For most people, Thanksgiving time is a special time for family. It is a time to gather together and share a meal and just enjoy being with each other. Last year, many of us didn't have the opportunity to get together because of the pandemic. Sure, we were able to meet through video chats, but it was not the same. It really brought home how much gathering together was important when we weren't able to do so. I am hoping that we can make up for that this year and really look forward to being with everyone. I hope that you are too.
Of course, not everyone will have a happy time during the Thanksgiving weekend. We need to be aware of those who may have challenges and try to help them to have a reason to be thankful too. This might be helping out at a soup kitchen and sharing smiles and stories with others. It might be inviting someone who is all alone over to join you for dinner. Each situation will be different and the options will need to fit in with the families doing the giving and sharing, but if everyone does something to make it a happier time, we will all benefit.
The saying, "Giving is better than receiving" never was truer. There is no better time to help change the outlook for people from a negative, hopeless view to a positive and hopeful view. Together we can help make this happen.
Of course, there are also all of the typical types of activities done at school that can be included as reading, writing, or math activities to help the kids focus on the meaning of Thanksgiving. These are important learning activities, but I still feel that we need to go further than just sharing information. We need to adopt a kindness attitude. What better time to do acts of kindness than now.
Acts of kindness can be very simple and free. Sometimes people think they need to spend money to give to others. A smile, helping hand, visit, or phone call can also help to make someone's day better. We can help in so many ways if we just stop and think about others and how we can make their day a little brighter. If we do acts of kindness for others, we will set the example for our students, and our own families.
I believe that an attitude of gratitude and thanks will make the world a better place. If we are grateful for what we have, we will have a positive outlook on life. We will be able to share this with others and fill our buckets and theirs too. It truly is important for good mental health.
Don't forget to grab your free copy of the fall gratitude journal here.
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Getting back into the swing of things
Summer break is over. School is back in session! For some, you have already been in session for a few weeks. For others, this is your last weekend of break. The question on many teachers' minds is "What will this year bring?"
Some kids are excited, some are anxious, some are disinterested, and some are unhappy. There are so many emotions during the regular return to school, but with the uncertainty and constant changes last year as we navigated through the unknowns of the pandemic, some emotions escalated. Many kids experienced more anxiety, confusion, and frustration as they tried to learn in new environments and situations, many parents experienced anxiety and frustration as they navigated online and at home instruction, and teachers experienced anxiety, uncertainty, frustration, and burnout as they tried to balance in person, online, and hybrid teaching situations.
There was hope that we would be closer to a more normal school year, but things are still changing and we need to be ready to change gears at any moment. This uncertainty is causing teachers stress even before school begins. Many of my teacher friends are still waiting to find out what grade level they are teaching, how many students they will have, and even where they will be teaching.
Primary teachers ready to go kit
It is important to have some things ready for any situation to help get through the transitions of the first weeks. You might call it a survival kit. This kit would need activities for various grades, subjects, and configurations of students. The question is, what should be in this kit? Here are some ideas for primary grades. (Some could be modified for intermediate classes, but since most of my teaching was in primary, I have decided to focus on that level for this sample.)
Literacy ideas that are ready to go
Here are some literacy activities that will engage and provide reading and writing practice for your students.
Selections are from various free and paid products. The full products are listed below.
Refreshing Idioms Task Cards (sample from the full product)
5 Senses Stories
Story Board Fun (activity from Back To School Math And Literacy Ideas)
Summer Parts Of Speech (one set of cards from the package)
Fall/Autumn Parts Of Speech (one set of cards from the package)
Find The Evidence (sample pages)
Soundo (part of Alphabet Game Boards)
Vocabulary Mandalas (one mandala)
Basic Vocabulary Activities ( activities from the product)
Quick and fun math activities
Here are some fun math activities to help your students work on basic math skills.
Selections are from various free and paid products. The full products are listed below.
Ipad Glyphs (sample from the full product)
Pumpkin Glyphs (sample from the full product)
Measure Up! (activity from Welcome Back To School)
Summer Sports Activity Bundle (activity from the bundle)
Measurement Games Team Events ( one event from the games)
Number Mandalas Addition and Subtraction ( one of the mandalas)
Literacy and Math Game Cards (2 game cards)
Science fun and experiments
These science activities will keep kids entertained while learning about science facts. Selections are from various free and paid products. The full products are listed below.
Amazing Weather Facts Posters (freebie)
Are You A Rectangle Or A Square (freebie)
The Clink-Clunk Test
Team building activities
Team building is important at the beginning of the year, but also throughout the year. Here are some activities that can be done in groups or with partners.
Back to School Ice Breaker (freebie)
Escape Room What Am I? Vocabulary activity (one activity from the set)
Find Someone Who (activity from Back To School First Week Activities)
Stumpers (activity from Back To School First Week Activities)
What Am I? (sample pages from What Am I?)
Self esteem activities
Making sure that children understand that they are valuable and important will help to develop positive self esteem. Here are some activities that will help with this.
Paying It Forward (freebie)
Optimist or Pessimist Task Cards (one set of cards)
Goal Setting And Reflections (freebie)
Brain breaks and active games
Here are some active classroom games that can be played as brain breaks or in the gym or outside to provide movement and stimulation between other subject activities.
Each of these areas is available as a separate package, or you can get the whole bundle to keep on hand for activities to use throughout the year. It will be helpful when you need to prepare for substitute teacher on short notice or if you just need a quick activity to use.
You can find the kit here.
As I indicated, this is just a sample of some of the things that could be done. It will be up to you to add your own creativity, experience, and preference to your ready to go kit.
For more ideas and resources, you can check out the various categories in my TeachersPayTeachers store.
If you are looking for back to school resources, you can check out my recent blog post for resources and tips. I wish you all the best as you venture into a new school year.
Note: This resource has been updated and more resources have been added to it.
Returning To School
The first week back at school can be different things for different kids. Some dread returning, some are scared, some are excited, some are nervous, and some don't really know what to feel. We need to be aware of all these different emotions and find ways to help each child feel comfortable and excited to learn. This won't be easy, and there may be some kids that take a while to adjust, but it is a goal that we should aim to achieve.
If kids are eager to learn, it makes life easier for the teacher as well. It can be challenging to motivate and encourage kids if they don't seem to be interested and they resist participating.
Tips To Make The First Week Back Positive
There are many different things that you can do to help make the first week back positive and help the kids to engage in their learning. Here are a few suggestions.
Use games and ice breakers to help kids to get to know each other and work together as a team. This may be uncomfortable for some of the kids, so be aware of this and try to relieve some of the anxiety or lack of comfort by pairing them with someone they know, or by being their partner or team mate. Make sure the activities are low pressure so that they can be fun, but not too stressful.
If you have kids that were with you last year, give them roles of leadership and allow them to help guide the new kids through the rules and routines and be "the teacher" sometimes. Have them buddy up with some of the others who may be feeling nervous or anxious about joining in.
I often had my students write about their summer holiday and all the adventures they had. But, as I learned that summer break is not always a happy time for some kids, and it is something that they may not feel comfortable sharing about in a written activity or an oral sharing time, I made some adjustments.
I started to share some of my summer adventures with my classes and then do a quick written summary example with them. I then gave kids an option. If they wanted to, they could share their own summer adventure. If they found this difficult, they could write an imaginary story of summer adventures or they could write about another topic. The goal was to get them back to writing so I wanted them to have options that would work with their experiences.
Team Building And Developing Positive Self Esteem
Getting the class to become a team and learn to work together, is really important if you want to have them develop trust and respect for each other. There are many ways to do this, but I feel that the most important piece is creating positive self esteem and a caring attitude towards others.
There are many activities that can be done to help make this happen. I often begin my year by teaching about Tigger and Eeyore and how they view the world. We look at the difference between optimism and pessimism and how that can affect our day. I created some optimist/ pessimist task cards that allow the kids to talk about different situations and how they can react positively or negatively in them.
Once we have learned about optimism and pessimism, I talk to the kids about attitudes and how important they are. I use the phrase, "Attitudes are contagious. Is yours worth catching?" I like to have this posted in the classroom as a reminder when lots of complaining happens.
Success Words, Bucket Filling, And More
Developing self confidence and a belief in oneself is necessary if one is to feel successful and valued. There are several different things that can be done to help with this. Name acrostics, all about me activities, and talent shields are some examples.
One of the activities I like to do is "success or power words". It is amazing how these words can become so powerful when they are a focus. Many of my students would find things that said "believe" and point them out to me when they learned that it was my power word. I even received a couple of gifts that had the word on them. You can find out more here.
Bucket filling activities are also a great way to help kids to see how they cause others to feel based on their words or actions. I remember sharing stories with my class about different situations that happened to me. One time my daughter had her young children talk to me on the phone because they needed reminders to fill buckets instead of emptying them. They immediately changed their behaviors. (Was it the bucket filling reminder or was it wanting to please Grandma? Does it matter, it worked.)
I like to tie in Acts of Kindness to bucket filling. They complement each other nicely. It is great to see the kids focusing on others instead of themselves, as well.
Brain Breaks And Movement
Make sure to include some brain breaks and movement activities during the day. Remember, if we get exhausted the first week back, kids do too. They have been away from school for a couple of months and they need to readjust to sitting and doing activities for several hours of the day.
Each Day Is A Fresh Start
Kids need a reason to want to be at school and learn. If they have a cloud of negative behavior following them around, it is hard to feel motivated to try again or to improve. It is important to allow them to have a fresh start every day and to recognize the improvements in both attitude and behavior. We would want a fresh start and maybe even a do over, so it makes sense to provide this for our kids.
This has been my policy for many years. I also find that if I don't look into the history of a child or get the low down from previous teachers immediately, unless it is related to a health or safety issue, or an IEP, I get to form my own opinion of the child and they have a chance to start with a clean slate.
I learned how valuable this was a few years ago when I had a child with behavior issues that I was unaware of and after 3 weeks in my classroom, his mother commented that it was the longest he had ever been in a regular classroom. At this point, I did check into his history and I learned of some of the issues, but because we had already built up a relationship and he had not exhibited huge behavior issues, we were able to have a successful year. I did have to make some adjustments to different assignments and allow him to have some flexibility in his learning style, but it worked.
Have Fun With Your Students
Have fun with your students and let them into your world. It is important for them to make a connection with you. I find it interesting to see how they react to some of my personal stories about my family, my pets, and my adventures outside of school. They often have wonderful connections and they love sharing them with me.
Years ago when I first started teaching, I was told not to relax and smile at first. It was thought that it would be easier to maintain control and manage the class this way. I learned that it was better to share a part of me and build the relationship immediately. Kids want to feel included, not managed. Enjoy being with your students and they will respond accordingly.
I hope these tips have helped and that you will have a wonderful year. Next time I will share some resources and activities with you. In the meantime, if you are interested in getting some free resources, sign up for my newsletter.
What are core values and beliefs?
Core values are traits, beliefs, and guiding principles that direct a person or group's behavior and purpose. These values are sometimes deeply rooted and not easily identified, but they are the window to a person's perception of the world. It is important to understand what these values are and how they affect behavior.
Schools have values that they follow. They create mission statements that indicates these values. It is important to understand these values and then create a learning environment that demonstrates them. Some examples would be: mutual respect and responsibility, people-focused, inclusive, collaborative, positive and diverse, focused on developing student potential and excellence.
People have their own personal set of values and beliefs as well. These are the driving force behind everything they do.
Depending on where you look, you can find many different lists and categories for core values.
If we consider character traits as demonstrating core values, many of these are what we consider positive and valuable. What are some traits that are important to you? What do you hope to instil in your students?
Consider the following:
honest, responsible, caring, compassionate, curious, creative, determined, ethical, generous, giving, displays gratitude, hopeful, inclusive, kind, optimistic, patient, resourceful, inclusive, fair
These are a few of the different character traits that can also be part of someone's core values. There are many more, but I hope you get the idea.
Why is it important to know your core values?
As a teacher, I feel that my core values affect how I approach my students, teach my lessons, and engage in collaboration with my colleagues. One of the goals in education is to teach children to be responsible citizens and to help them reach their potential. We share values and beliefs with them and help them to develop positive values and beliefs in themselves. If we don't have a clear idea of our own values, how will we be able to effectively do this?
Knowing your own core values will help you to create positive relationships with your students, teach them to be successful and valued members of the community, and create a positive learning environment.
Identifying core values
I changed my values somewhat over the years as I developed my understanding of what was important and non-negotiable in my teaching career. I began to recognize that certain approaches and behaviors impacted my teaching and my relationships with my students. I found certain things key to their success and these became the cornerstone for my teaching.
My biggest belief is that everyone can learn and be successful. If we support kids and believe in them, it is amazing what they can accomplish that they never dreamed was possible. I still remember substituting in a resource room early in my career and doing activities with children with many different challenges. It was interesting to discover that this didn't phase me. We did many things that were unexpected and engaging, and it was so exciting to see the children participating in whatever way worked for them. The support staff were surprised to see them accomplish some of the tasks. I think sometimes it is good not to know what limitations people supposedly have so that you don't let that determine what you can or cannot do.
Another important value for me is teaching kids to have a positive attitude towards life. I often start off my year teaching about optimism and pessimism and how attitude has the power to affect your daily life. We use the phrase "Attitude is contagious. Is yours worth catching?" and we focus on attitude being everything. It is amazing how things in the classroom change when we approach things with a positive attitude. Nowadays, this is looked at and approached as having a positive mindset.
As I became more aware of how my attitude and approach to teaching impacted my students' learning, I made sure to find ways to improve and help my students to strive to reach their potential and be successful in their learning.
These core values and beliefs directed my teaching instruction and my interactions with my students. I will be sharing some of the ways in future blog posts.
As you reflect on what your core values are, I hope you will be able to see how you positively use them as you help students thrive and reach their potential. Just as we want our students to recognize and value their strengths and talents, it is important for teachers to do the same.
Thank you for all you do for your students.
Time for a well-deserved break
The last year has been one of the toughest and most unusual teaching years for most teachers. Surviving a year of uncertainty, constant change, strict protocols for engagement and contact, and a pandemic has been a challenge. It is now time to take a more than deserved break to relax and recharge.
So many questions
As we headed into the school year last fall, there were so many questions and concerns about how to make all of this work. Nobody knew what to expect and teachers were constantly adapting and changing their teaching styles, lessons, and means of sharing information and ideas with their students. They had to learn to teach digitally, in person, and in hybrid situations and still engage students and help everyone to feel safe.
You made it!
Well, my friends, you made it. It may have been ugly at times, and you may not have felt the same joy and satisfaction as in other years, but you need to congratulate yourselves for making it through the year and doing the best you could under the circumstances.
Being retired, I was on the outside looking in most of the time, listening to my colleagues and teacher friends share their experiences and difficulties, but I did get a bit of the experience with how difficult it is to teach online. My husband and I spent the last several months trying to teach our ukulele students on Zoom.
I have to admit, it was very unsatisfying, and we just learned that it is not always a very reliable way of assessing how the kids were doing. Because we were not able to actually hear the kids in a group situation, we had to trust that they were playing correctly and that they understood what we were showing them. We struggled with screens freezing, kids turning off video, kids saying they were playing, but weren't really, and many other things.
When we had them send in videos of their pieces for a virtual concert, we discovered that they didn't always know their own parts, and that they were struggling more than they let on. Luckily, some of the restrictions were just relaxed and we were able to do some one on one sessions this last couple of weeks and fix some of the problems and salvage the season.
I am sure that many of you are looking forward to returning to a more normal teaching situation in the fall. Here's hoping this is true and we can move on. For the next few weeks I will be focusing on getting ready for a new year and providing some tips and ideas for classroom management and the first weeks back at school.
For now, relax, refresh and enjoy your summer break. You deserve it.
As we are about to begin a new year, it is a great time for a fresh start. This year we have all had many challenges and we need to find some renewed energy and hope. Sometimes that can be a breather just to take time with family, or maybe it could be changing things up from the regular routine.
I don't know about others, but I found it difficult to get motivated lately. Even though it is supposed to be a festive season, most days seemed to be the same and it was hard to find moments of anticipation and joy. So many of the things we look forward to at this time of the year were missing due to the pandemic.
For many of my teaching friends, the challenges of teaching during a pandemic have been daunting and they are rapidly burning out and feeling overwhelmed. I hope that the holiday break has given them some time to relax and recharge so they will be refreshed for the start of the new year.
This next season will probably be a mix of online and in person teaching and learning as we continue to get through the pandemic.
Here are some ideas for starting out the new year. Hopefully these will bring some laughter and smiles to your day and give you some joy as you return to teaching.
Do a photo booth. If you are teaching in person, you could add some New Year's hats and blowers, fancy glasses, etc. Have your students create fun poses and take photos of them and then have them write about their goals.
If you are teaching online, you could create some interesting picture frames and then take screenshots of your students and add them to the frames. If they have some fancy accessories at home, perhaps these could be added to their images.
If you are looking for materials to help you through the winter season, here are some that might work for you.
Sight word games and activities, word work, parts of speech silly sentences and other literacy games can be fun when they have a winter theme.
Here are some literacy items in French in case you need them.
Here are some free products that might help.
New Year's Goal Setting Templates
3 Stars and a Wish
Snowy Days Compound Words
Winter Sports Task Card Templates
Goal setting for the New Year
Goal setting is not only good for children, it is also good for us as teachers.
Think of some things that you are proud of and things you would like to work on
(3 stars and a wish)
Come up with a goal for home, school, and something personal. This is the same format that can be used with your students.
If you are looking for some novel studies that are good for the winter season, try these.
Creative writing ideas
Start a statement and see how many crazy ideas you can come up with.
(This could be done orally first, and then developed into a written story.)
I was so frozen my fingers were like popsicles but they didn't taste as good.
I was so frozen .........
It was so cold ........
When I woke up I couldn't believe my eyes..........
If you are looking for some winter math ideas, you can find them here.
I hope you find these suggestions and resources helpful as you return to teaching in January.
Thank you for all you do for your students.
Acts of kindness are perfect for Christmas time. Often at Christmas time, there can be a tendency to think about all the things that we want. We are often asked the question, "What are you asking Santa for?" or "What do you have on your Christmas wish list?" or some other similar type of questions. It isn't wrong to want things or to hope for certain things, but Christmas is a great time to be thinking about what we can do for others too.
There is a sense of joy and fulfillment that can come from thinking of others and giving to others. It is important to teach others that giving is an important part of Christmas. Doing random acts of kindness has the power to give joy to others and help make the world a better place. These acts do not have to be expensive or difficult to do. They just have to come from the heart.
During my last year of teaching, I created a set of cards for my students to use for Christmas and we called them RACK. (Random Acts of Christmas Kindness) Each child was given a few cards to take home and use as a countdown to Christmas. They had choices provided as samples of what they could do, but they also had the option to do something else that they decided on. It was exciting to hear some of the things they did as they took on this challenge.
I hope you find this free resource useful. Click on the image to get your copy.
About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.