Sunday, September 8, 2013

Care is just as important as Core

Principal Ponderings...

In my weekend reading, I came across several blogs and articles that focused on the same topic: the importance of building relationships with students.  Since reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People this summer, I have been thinking a lot about relationships.  Something Stephen Covey said in his book has stuck with me: "As a teacher, as well as a parent, I have found that the key to the ninety-nine is the one-particularly the one that is testing the patience and the good humor of the many.  It is the love and the discipline of the one student, the one child, that communicates love for the others.  It's how you treat the one that reveals how you regard the ninety-nine, because everyone is ultimately a one."  Of course, in my role, I am usually thinking about how I interact with all of you and how I interact with parents.  But this weekend, I started thinking more about how we interact with our students and the relationships we form with them.

When I think back to teachers that I had in school, I really can't remember most of them.  And, believe it or not, I don't remember their well-planned lessons or their knowledge of child development or how they differentiated instruction.  But the ones who do come to mind?  My first grade teacher, Mr. Page, because I remember that he took an interest in the fact that my baby brother was born that year and let me share with the class a poem I wrote about the whole experience.  He even let me call him from the hospital to share the exciting news!  Another one was Mrs. Simmons, my 6th grade teacher who got to know me and my interests.  I was the only new student in the class, and she helped me make new friends and also encouraged me to write since she knew how much I enjoyed writing.  Of course, there was also my second grade teacher, Mrs. Watson, who definitely made me cry on more than one occasion and who rarely let us use the bathroom.  I had many more teachers, but it's the ones who had an impact on me emotionally that I remember.  I am not saying that what we teach our students is not important.  We do need to continue to dive deep into the Common Core Standards and make sure that we are challenging our students to grow as learners.  But as you get to know your new class of students this year and as you plan and prepare lessons, make sure part of your lesson plans include how you will get to know each and every one of your students.  Make sure that you are building relationships with them because that is what will help them be successful in school.  When your students know that you care about them and believe in them, I guarantee that they will learn more and perform better.  Literacy, math, science, social studies, yes, the curriculum is a key component of what we do each day, but relationships, they are the true core of our curriculum.

Here is an interesting article from "The Washington Post" that certainly got me thinking about this topic:

Events this week:
Tuesday - Fire drill at 10:00
Thursday - Open House, 6:00-8:00

Great Things I Noticed Last Week:

  • John Wiesner on the floor of the music room making kindergartners giggle and sing.
  • 3rd graders in Mrs. Guernsey's class writing bio poems.
  • Teachers and students calmly handling our "smoking light" incident.
  • Teachers taking their laptops and tech questions next door to the middle school for the first of many weekly 'Genius Bar' help sessions.
  • Anne Marie and Shaunna sharing helpful information about specific behavior plans with all of us at the staff meeting.

Check it Out:
Here are 10 ways to use writing and speaking to help students develop a deeper understanding of math:
An app that helps you assess reading fluency!
Celebrate creativity, courage and collaboration!  September 15 is International Dot Day! Such a great book:

One more thing...
I have chatted with many of you about how you are reorganizing or rethinking your classroom libraries. I know that in order to make some of the changes that people have been talking about, many of you will need to order some organizational materials.  If you are redesigning your classroom library and could use some new bins or containers, let me know.  I want to help you make books even more accessible in your classrooms!

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