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Saturday, March 28, 2015

How Do You Recognize Each Child?

As I think more about this year and my plans for next year, I'm thinking about the systems in place to recognize each child.

Birthdays
Many teachers have special systems in place to recognize birthdays. I've always said that I want to do it, but haven't incorporated a system yet. Next year, I'll finally do that. Birthdays are special days for young children.

Lunch Meetings
This year's new job list offered a good way to recognize everyone and give everyone a role in classroom life. Yet, because we didn't start the structure early in the year, it never became rooted deeply in our classroom culture. So next year, I'd like to start this early and then arrange regular lunch meetings for each committee to meet and discuss their job and plans.

Feedback
I continue to strive to offer feedback in the best, consistent ways. That's challenging with large numbers of students to teach. Students receive feedback on assessments regularly and that helps them to see what they've mastered and what they still need to study. Narrative feedback is typically provided for project work. Sometimes I'll send a special email acknowledgement for extraordinary work and effort. Feedback is essential and I want to continue to think about feedback loops for next year's class as well as the end of this year.

Class Meetings
Regular class meetings give students voice and choice related to learning events and classroom culture. This serve to acknowledge students' ideas and needs in meaningful ways.

Thank You Notes
Some years I'm good at this and other years, I'm not so good. Again preparation at the start of the year helps. Making a box that includes addresses, cards, and stamps at the start of the year will help you to write those thank you cards each and every time a child presents you with a small present or act of kindness.

Share
Making time for students to share their special talents, interests, holidays, traditions, and more is important to building a child-centered classroom where students are recognized. Finding time for share is difficult, but important.

Greetings and Time for Talk
Making time to greet each child warmly everyday and talk to each child informally on a regular basis is important. Noticing their special attributes, feelings, and interests matters.

A critical part of our job is relationship building. By finding good ways to recognize each child regularly we can build those strong relationships. This is one important part of the overall choreography of successful teaching and learning.