Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Why I Teach Wednesdays: A "Beautiful" Story (And Catching Up on the Week)

Well I'm behind on my posts because I've had three LONG days in a row of professional development (yippee!).  So this is going to be a quick post to catch me up with Monday through today and then hopefully I'll be back on schedule.  

Musical Monday

I saw this on Pinterest and absolutely LOVE it!  It's not academic but it'd be a cute song to sing together for a brain break and/or to encourage a positive classroom environment.

Click here for the link to the YouTube video!

Teacher Tricks Tuesday

I love this vocabulary boosting activity.  Every day when I introduce a new vocabulary word from our read aloud, I put the word on a reward chart like this: 

Then every time a student says, hears, reads, or writes that word in the classroom we put a sticker next to the word.  Once the chart has a decided number of stickers (I usually put a star at 10 so it doesn't take too long), we do something to celebrate that word.  For example, one year we had the word "enormous." Once we filled up ten stickers next to the word, I had them come the next day ready to find all the enormous things I used throughout the day.  I wore enormous sunglasses to pick them up from recess in, I used an enormous dollar store pen to check attendance, I used an enormous eraser, etc.  They had a blast spotting all of the enormous things throughout the day, and it was a fun connection to the word so they hopefully won't forget it!  There's all kinds of things you can do with the different vocabulary words.  It's a great chance to be creative! If all else fails and you can't think of an activity to do, you can give them label stickers to wear that say "Ask me what _______ means today!"  I've really enjoyed this engaging method of teaching vocabulary, and I'd love to hear other fun ideas that you may have!

Why I Teach Wednesday
So I was working in my classroom last week, dusting the layers upon layers of filth that had built up, when I walked over to an area that used to be home to one of "those" students.  A student who required ALL of my energy and patience some days.  But those same students are usually the ones that hold the most special places of our hearts, aren't they!?  Ok, not all the time, but this was certainly true for this little fellow.  He drove me crazy, but he also had the sweetest heart and just needed love.  And I loved that boy as hard as it was sometimes.  Anyway, I was over in his "spot," which of course was in his own "special" area for behavior purposes.  Then I noticed some cut up sticky notes stuck to the wall in front of where his desk sat.  Three little pieces.  With three words.  "Mrs."  And that, folks, is why I teach.  No, not so children will call me beautiful (although I could certainly get used to that! ;).  But I choose to teach so that I can be there for a child, so broken and hard on the outside, yet God's child, craving love and acceptance on the inside.  I'll never forget the ups and downs I had with that particular student.  And in my 6 years of teaching there are so many that have touched my heart the same way.  Sometimes I wonder, as I'm sure you all do, if I ever make a difference in their lives.  Do they know I care?  Was I too hard on them?  Why did I get myself into this (and where's the Excedrin!?)  But then we get those little reminders that all those headaches and even tears are worth it.  Why do I choose to teach?  Because all children deserve a chance to know they're loved.  And I believe God has called me to show them that.

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