Making Sure Each Child Is Known

>>Roberta: Every student walks through
the door wanting to feel valued. Every child deserves to
have at least one adult in this building who knows them by name. We want a hundred percent of our
students to feel connected to a teacher in our building and that’s our goal. It was just a matter of
how do we measure this? Early in the year, we conduct a
teacher-student-connection poster activity so that we can determine
which students we’ve connected with and which students we need to
work toward connecting with.>>Teacher: Delaney is
allergic to red food dye.>>Teacher: Yeah.>>Teacher: And she also has
a pond that she swims in. [ Laughter ]>>Roberta: We take their whole roster
of students, we put it up on a wall, and we ask teachers to go
through by name and face, “Yep, I know this one, this one, this one.”>>Teacher: Know them all?>>Chris: All by name and face. I think that was a team goal
by the end of the second week.>>Teacher: What?!>>Chris: Yeah.>>Teacher: End of week two?>>Chris: The activity was based around
how well do you know your students, just through the simple, you
know, adding a check mark next to the kid’s name that you
know them by name and face, and then the other categories,
academic status, and then the more in-depth
personal story about them.>>Chris: She’s one that
slips under the radar though. She is pretty quiet.>>Chris: You look at a lot
of kids and you go, “Hey, this student has one check mark. I know them by name and face,
but other than that I don’t know where they’re at academically. I don’t know anything
about their personal life.” It’s probably harder for them to
feel valued in a learning environment without that connection to the teacher. So, to me, that’s what this was
all about, a reflective process. How well are we getting
to know our kids?>>Teacher: And, so, you don’t
get to know those students.>>Teacher: The stones in the river. That’s what I like to call them.>>Teacher: Right.>>Teacher: They’re just letting
the water wash over them. We’ve got to go pick up
that stone, turn it over.>>Roberta: We want them to reflect and then it’s time to
develop an action plan. What are we going to do to make sure
that these students are taken care of?>>Teacher: We have personal
conversations with our students in the hallways during passing time.>>Teacher: We also do things
like “Thumbs Up Thursdays” or “Feel Good Fridays” and
we just take a few seconds to have kids share things
that they’re proud of.>>Chris: To get to know the kids a
little bit better on a personal level, just asking them a simple
question as they come in the door. Example, last week I started off by just asking kids what their
favorite food or fruit was. And then those questions can get
deeper to try and get, you know, a little more personal with them.>>Chris: Winter.>>Student: Winter.>>Chris: Winter?>>Student: Summer.>>Chris: What is it? Summer?>>Student: Yeah.>>Chris: Nice.>>Student: Fall.>>Chris: The students here should be
seen as people and not just pupils. The more valued they are for their
individuality the more successful they’re going to be in the classroom, the more risks they’re
going to be willing to take. And that’s awesome.>>Roberta: We have seen a huge increase
in our students’ connection to school, with their connection to the teachers, and I think that’s probably the most
joy teachers have in their profession. Then the real work can begin.

5 thoughts on “Making Sure Each Child Is Known”

  1. Good idea. There are always some kids that you just can't remember their names. It's not fair. Doing something about it is really relevant. Relationships, classroom management, teaching, it changes everything.

  2. There are two things I do to make sure each student feels valued, and acknowledged. On the first day of each semester, I have the the students fill out a "Personal Interest Survey." I pasted the link below. This allows me to get to know them on a personal level. It has questions such as, "What is your biggest inspiration in life?," and "Where do you see yourself ten years from now?" I tell my students that they and I will be like family before the semester ends. I tell them that they'll be spending more time with me each week than their closest family members. Also, everyday they walk in my classroom, I give them a hearty greeting. I look them in the eye and acknowledge them.

  3. I love this. What a wonderful way to help teachers and staff gain some perspective on which students are flying under the radar.

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