Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Increasing Achievement through Relationships

Hi Friend! 

Today I want to share my #teacherheart. 

I don't know about you but social media gets me down. As I scroll through my Instagram and Facebook feed and look at all the beautiful classroom designs, projects, bulletin boards, and decor and I often feel overwhelmed and even full of envy.

I start to wonder... Am I good enough? What am I doing wrong? How does she/he do it all? I need to work harder...

Then I remind myself of this picture that a former student's mom had shared with me. #BestTextEver

Are you a teacher who is ready to increase your student’s academic achievement? Building relationships is proven to increase student’s achievement levels.

#BeStillMyHeart

That my friends, is Harper's bed frame that she wrote on with Sharpie, as in permanent and forever until she goes away to college, Sharpie!!

I know exactly why she did this. We built a mutual relationship and it wasn't because I had the best themed classroom or beautiful bulletin boards, it was because we had a connection. She knew I loved her and believed in her. Harper knew I respected her and wanted her to grow socially, emotionally, and academically under my care. It was because of how I made her and each of her classmates feel. 

Recently I have been deep into reading and learning everything Growth Mindset. Carol Dweck's years of research confirms everything I have always believed to be true about our students. Every single one of them has the ability to grow and be successful no matter where they come to us. They have the power to do so with our guidance and support. 

Are you a teacher who is ready to increase your student’s academic achievement? Building relationships is proven to increase student’s achievement levels.

In all my years of teaching, the one thing I know for sure is if you want to build a growth-oriented classroom, it's imperative that you spend time building relationships with your students. Our students with a fixed mindset are fearful of and anxious about appearing stupid in front of teachers and classmates. They want everyone to know how smart they are at all times, which is why they tend to avoid challenges at which they may fail.  

Stepping out of the fixed mindset and into the growth mindset takes vulnerability on the part of students, and it's likely they won't be willing to show that kind of vulnerability to just anyone. But for a teacher who trusts and respects them, wants the best for them, and won't judge them when they make a mistake, they just may be willing to take the leap.  

I would encourage you to take a few minutes to watch this powerful TED Talk: Every Kid Needs a Champion (7:48) Rita Pierson.





Are you a teacher who is ready to increase your student’s academic achievement? Building relationships is proven to increase student’s achievement levels.

So how do we do it? How do we get every child to know we value them, believe in them and only want them to be successful in everything they do?   

Below are ideas paraphrased from the book The Growth Mindset Coach by Annie Brock and Heather Hundley.

5 Tips for Effective Relationship Building


Students must know that the teacher has faith in their ability to achieve.
If we expect our students to have faith in themselves to grow, they must sense that we genuinely, and enthusiastically believe in them too. They need reminders DAILY that you believe in their ability.

Students seek and embrace the teacher’s feedback.
When students believe that you have their best interests at heart they'll respond to feedback in more productive ways. Make it clear to students that their growth is your main priority, and let them know that the purpose of constructive feedback is to help them improve.

Students know that grades are less important than growth.
Help students set goals for themselves. Let them know that grading is part of the process and a source of data about their overall performance, but the most important thing to you is their progression toward the goals that you've set together. Keep an open dialogue about overcoming challenges and obstacles, and while grades should matter to you, the letter grade, in itself, should never hold more value than the progress it indicates.


Students feel safe with their teacher.
Students should feel completely safe (physically and emotionally) in your classroom and in your presence. Students should know that you want what's best for them, you'll protect them, and you'll unconditionally care for them no matter what mistakes they make. Make copies of the I Wish My Teacher Knew  letter paper,  place it in an accessible location for students to be able to share thoughts, concerns, or feelings at anytime with you. 

Are you a teacher who is ready to increase your student’s academic achievement? Building relationships is proven to increase student’s achievement levels.
Access to this Resource {HERE}

Students respect and like their teacher as a person.
Build deeper relationships with your students and take personal interest in their lives and well-being. Take time to get to know your students’ out-of-school interests. The more information you have about each of your students, the deeper you can build your relationships and better tailor a learning experience most beneficial to them. Likewise, share appropriate personal information with your students to forge a deeper mutual relationship.

Getting to Know Students


Hunter Gehlbach and a team of researchers from Harvard Graduate School of Education, revealed the idea that people often associate positive feelings with those whom they have things in common. They found that revealing commonalities between teachers and students resulted in increased academic achievement. This occurred because teachers made opportunities to talk about non-school-related topics with their students. Knowing students on more of a personal level helped teachers tailor learning activities to incorporate some of the students’ personal interests, resulting in increased engagement on the student’s part. Gehlbach also theorizes when teachers got to know students better and saw them as individuals with different needs and interests, it affected their attitudes positively towards their students.

Simple ways to get to know your students and make them feel valued:

Make eye contact. Be intentional and engage with students who you're speaking with.

The two minute check-in. Before school, after school, and during breaks make it your goal to engage students in non-school-related topics of conversation. This strategy will help you learn more about your students’ interest, build trusting relationships, improve classroom management, and curb attention-seeking behaviors.

Find common ground. Take time at the beginning of the year to find things you have in common with your students on a personal level. At the beginning of the year,  I ask my student's parents to write me a letter about their child. I find out so much VALUABLE information from the letters that I can use build up my students. For example, after learning through *Jack's letter (my extremely nervous and shy friend) that he was a technology guru at home, Jack became my IT specialist...my students knew Jack could fix anything, he was needed an asset. Jack knew he was of value, he stood taller and his shyness dissipated. 
Are you a teacher who is ready to increase your student’s academic achievement? Building relationships is proven to increase student’s achievement levels.
You can access this editable resource HERE

Lunch dates. (one-on-one or a small group) a great way to get to know your students on a personal level and build rapport.

Meet them at the door. Try to personally greet each of your students as they come through your classroom door each day.

Getting to know you activities. Take time out especially at the beginning of the year to engage students in activities focused on helping everyone to get to know each other better. Foster relationship building between classmates, check out these ideas from my friend Marie. 

Are you a teacher who is ready to increase your student’s academic achievement? Building relationships is proven to increase student’s achievement levels.

Are you a teacher who is ready to increase your student’s academic achievement? Building relationships is proven to increase student’s achievement levels.
Are you a teacher who is ready to increase your student’s academic achievement? Building relationships is proven to increase student’s achievement levels.


The Golden Rule. Treat students the way you want to be treated. Set rules for the kids, and model those same rules yourself. Allow your students to “call you out” when you break a rule. 


Don't get me wrong, I do love bulletin boards that are eye candy and matching everything but these words resonate deeply with me:



I plan to keep that in mind as I am surfing my feed, hope you will too! :)
 


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Growth Mindset Lessons and Activities

Hello Friend!

Do your students struggle academically?

Are they afraid of challenges?

Are they afraid of not being smart?

Are you ready to motivate your students to believe in themselves and increase achievement with growth mindset lessons?

When students believe that dedication and hard work can change their performance in school, they grow to become resilient, successful students. Even at such a young age, it is essential for us to teach our students that their intelligence can be grown or developed with persistence, effort, and a focus on learning. 

Are you ready to start fostering a growth mindset culture with your elementary students and unsure where to start? This resource is designed with explicit, research based lessons, activities, anchor charts, and an interactive bulletin board to help your students distinguish between growth and fixed mindsets, how the brain learns, goal setting, and much more!


As teachers, we have so many things to do...planning, prepping, assessing, grading, PLC meetings, more meetings, duties.... :/ The list is never ending and we are tired!

Although you may also believe teaching your students the many facets of Mindset is important, the research, planning, and gathering of lesson ideas and activities might not take top priority on your to-do list.


I can help you!


Carol Dweck's mindset work validates everything I have always believed but didn’t know how to articulate to my students. Once I started studying her work, I became so passionate and started tapping into the power and building a growth mindset culture in my classroom. Soon I helped my students understand that everyone can learn, that intelligence can be developed with appropriate instruction, time, persistence, and motivation. Instantly, I saw student’s performance and achievement increase. This sparked my desire to know even more.

Last year I created many growth mindset resources and I felt like I barely scratched the surface of what I could teach them about their intelligence. Even though it became such a strong part of our classroom culture, (it wasn't rare for me to overhear a student cheering another on with the power of YET or another student tell me she could feel her brain growing!) and the I had a deep desire to know more and teach students more about mindsets, how the brain learns, goal setting, and giving feedback to increase student performance.

Thus, I grabbed some highlighters and dove into books! #booknerd


Are you ready to start fostering a growth mindset culture with your elementary students and unsure where to start? This resource is designed with explicit, research based lessons, activities, anchor charts, and an interactive bulletin board to help your students distinguish between growth and fixed mindsets, how the brain learns, goal setting, and much more!

Over the past few weeks, I have spent countless hours reading, watching videos, and writing lessons specifically designed for elementary classrooms. For each lesson I have included objectives, materials needed, step by step teaching plans, and activities. Then for each lesson I have differentiated the levels of activities so you may choose what will best work with the level of your students.

Are you ready to start fostering a growth mindset culture with your elementary students and unsure where to start? This resource is designed with explicit, research based lessons, activities, anchor charts, and an interactive bulletin board to help your students distinguish between growth and fixed mindsets, how the brain learns, goal setting, and much more!

Are you ready to start fostering a growth mindset culture with your elementary students and unsure where to start? This resource is designed with explicit, research based lessons, activities, anchor charts, and an interactive bulletin board to help your students distinguish between growth and fixed mindsets, how the brain learns, goal setting, and much more!

Are you ready to start fostering a growth mindset culture with your elementary students and unsure where to start? This resource is designed with explicit, research based lessons, activities, anchor charts, and an interactive bulletin board to help your students distinguish between growth and fixed mindsets, how the brain learns, goal setting, and much more!

Are you ready to start fostering a growth mindset culture with your elementary students and unsure where to start? This resource is designed with explicit, research based lessons, activities, anchor charts, and an interactive bulletin board to help your students distinguish between growth and fixed mindsets, how the brain learns, goal setting, and much more!

Here is a closer look:

Are you ready to start fostering a growth mindset culture with your elementary students and unsure where to start? This resource is designed with explicit, research based lessons, activities, anchor charts, and an interactive bulletin board to help your students distinguish between growth and fixed mindsets, how the brain learns, goal setting, and much more!

Are you ready to start fostering a growth mindset culture with your elementary students and unsure where to start? This resource is designed with explicit, research based lessons, activities, anchor charts, and an interactive bulletin board to help your students distinguish between growth and fixed mindsets, how the brain learns, goal setting, and much more!

Are you ready to start fostering a growth mindset culture with your elementary students and unsure where to start? This resource is designed with explicit, research based lessons, activities, anchor charts, and an interactive bulletin board to help your students distinguish between growth and fixed mindsets, how the brain learns, goal setting, and much more!

Are you ready to start fostering a growth mindset culture with your elementary students and unsure where to start? This resource is designed with explicit, research based lessons, activities, anchor charts, and an interactive bulletin board to help your students distinguish between growth and fixed mindsets, how the brain learns, goal setting, and much more!

Research shows it is crucial to involve and educate families about the growth mindset culture you will establish with your students. They need to hear consistent  messages at home.  To help you with that, I have included an editable letter to send home with your students.

Are you ready to start fostering a growth mindset culture with your elementary students and unsure where to start? This resource is designed with explicit, research based lessons, activities, anchor charts, and an interactive bulletin board to help your students distinguish between growth and fixed mindsets, how the brain learns, goal setting, and much more!

This work is so important to build a culture of success and student achievement in our schools. I feel so lucky that my school has embraced the Mindset culture and there are visuals to reinforce their thinking.

Are you ready to start fostering a growth mindset culture with your elementary students and unsure where to start? This resource is designed with explicit, research based lessons, activities, anchor charts, and an interactive bulletin board to help your students distinguish between growth and fixed mindsets, how the brain learns, goal setting, and much more!

You can access these resources {HERE}

Are you ready to start fostering a growth mindset culture with your elementary students and unsure where to start? This resource is designed with explicit, research based lessons, activities, anchor charts, and an interactive bulletin board to help your students distinguish between growth and fixed mindsets, how the brain learns, goal setting, and much more!

Recently, I made this bulletin board after seeing a similar idea on Pinterest.

Are you ready to start fostering a growth mindset culture with your elementary students and unsure where to start? This resource is designed with explicit, research based lessons, activities, anchor charts, and an interactive bulletin board to help your students distinguish between growth and fixed mindsets, how the brain learns, goal setting, and much more!

If you'd like these printables to make your own bulletin board you can grab them for free {HERE}.

I promise you, if you start teaching your students about the malleability of the brain and emphasize the process of learning over perfection you will see your students grow a love of learning. You can find the Growth Mindset Lessons {HERE} if you are ready to change your student's thinking and empower them to achieve!

Are you ready to start fostering a growth mindset culture with your elementary students and unsure where to start? This resource is designed with explicit, research based lessons, activities, anchor charts, and an interactive bulletin board to help your students distinguish between growth and fixed mindsets, how the brain learns, goal setting, and much more!

I'd love to hear from you, have you already started incorporating growth mindset into your classroom community? What improvements have you seen with your students? Have parents been receptive to the culture?

Thanks for stopping by and letting me share my passion! :)




Saturday, February 25, 2017

Writing Picture Prompts

Hello Friends!

Is writing a struggle in your classroom?

Do students have a hard time choosing a topic or getting started?

Is it hard for them to write multiple details about their topic?

Do your some of your students feel limited in their vocabulary about their topic?

Are your students apprehensive about writing due to their knowledge of spelling words?

If you can relate to these writing roadblocks, keep reading and grab a FREEBIE at the end of this post to try!

So many of my first grade friends have STRUGGLED with these things in the past. Not anymore. Nope. Not at all. My first graders are eager to write independently and even my low babies are successful and confident! My students LOVE writing with Picture Prompts. I LOVE them because my students are WRITING and this resource meets the needs of ALL levels of writers in my classroom. Oh, and they are virtually NO PREP!

Writing Picture Prompts~ These picture prompts naturally differentiate your writing center. Each page has key vocabulary to support kindergarten, first and second grade writers. These are a perfect addition to your work on writing center!

Scaffold of Support
The picture prompts have vocabulary words printed right on the page as a support for writers. I have taught my students that the first word names the picture and the rest of the words are words I predict they may need while writing their story. This support has made a huge difference. Not only are the words accessible for spelling but some students will read through the list as a brainstorm of details before writing.


At the bottom of the printable is a student editing checklist that I teach my students to use to check after they finish writing their story. It was important in order for this checklist to be valuable that I explicitly taught what each part of the checklist means and modeled using it in my own writing. I have a large poster of this checklist and small copies as a tool for my writers.


This resource can be used while teaching narrative, opinion and informative writing. The prompts can be used as a writing center, morning journal work, homework... I had a teacher share how she used the prompts in her classroom on my Facebook page: "This was our latest writing about polar bears! We did research all week and on Thursday and Friday they use that research along with the word bank on the paper and wrote about what they learned. Then they created their own polar bear!" 

Writing Picture Prompts~ These picture prompts naturally differentiate your writing center. Each page has key vocabulary to support kindergarten, first and second grade writers. These are a perfect addition to your work on writing center!


Here are a few samples. The first picture is a sample from special ed student, she was so proud to read her story aloud to her classmates. :)
Writing Picture Prompts~ These picture prompts naturally differentiate your writing center. Each page has key vocabulary to support kindergarten, first and second grade writers. These are a perfect addition to your work on writing center!
Writing Picture Prompts~ These picture prompts naturally differentiate your writing center. Each page has key vocabulary to support kindergarten, first and second grade writers. These are a perfect addition to your work on writing center!

Writing Picture Prompts~ These picture prompts naturally differentiate your writing center. Each page has key vocabulary to support kindergarten, first and second grade writers. These are a perfect addition to your work on writing center!

I have included these student writing tools in the Picture Prompts resource:

Writing Picture Prompts~ These picture prompts naturally differentiate your writing center. Each page has key vocabulary to support kindergarten, first and second grade writers. These are a perfect addition to your work on writing center!

Writing Picture Prompts~ These picture prompts naturally differentiate your writing center. Each page has key vocabulary to support kindergarten, first and second grade writers. These are a perfect addition to your work on writing center!

I am in such awe of the sweet feedback I am getting from other teachers, this resource has helped so many children. Look what other teachers have shared:


"This has been a helpful addition to my writing intervention small groups. I teach special education K-5. I use these pages in small journal type packets. The word banks, picture prompts and even the single page of commonly used words have all been extremely useful for my students. For my oldest but most challenged, the scaffolding means the difference between independently writing and being "stuck" waiting for help. This may be the single most helpful new item I've used all year!" ~Tracey

"I was hopeful, but I really didn't expect to come across visual writing prompts with word banks AND a checklist on each page! It's like my wildest dreams have come true for less than the price of a Starbucks coffee! The addition of the sight words list is just the whipped cream on my latte! I am hoping this is the solution to helping my class of VERY diverse learners become more confident writers. If this works out, I will definitely be back for the bundle! ~Alyson


"I have a lot of different writing prompts, but these are my favorite due to the partial picture and the word bank. It helps to guide the students yet still gives them freedom so they all do their own writing rather than everyone having basically the same exact written response. Love these!" ~Laura

If you'd like to try these prompts out in your classroom, you can grab this FREE sample {HERE}. 


If you are interested in checking out the resource in my TpT shop you can find the Yearlong bundle {HERE}. 

Writing Picture Prompts~ These picture prompts naturally differentiate your writing center. Each page has key vocabulary to support kindergarten, first and second grade writers. These are a perfect addition to your work on writing center!


Thanks for stopping by and reading! Happy Teaching :)