Happy Tuesday everyone! I’m just going to take a moment to boast about my class again because we had yet another excellent day in grade 8 today (yes, two consecutive days of awesome…I could get used to this!) I had a few moments in my day today where I really was reminded why I adore my job. Allow me to share with you: 1) Three engaged French blocks where all students were on task most of the time (and we were studying “er” verbs…) 2) Several visit from a student, who has become my little shadow, throughout the day. This student just likes to come say “hi” and I really appreciate that. 3) A moment of gratitude a student expressed toward me that totally hit me off guard. Warmed my little teacher heart to the core. 4) Play time. I’m not sure if I’ve shared this with you before, but I am a blessed teacher because I have a rockin’ EA (Educational Assistant) in my class. Sadly, we don’t get her in our class full time, but when she’s around, our whole room lights up. We played a math game during last block today (and our EA played with us) and I’ll have you all know that my class came up with the strategy after playing for only 20 minutes. I have smart students in my class!
Now for Teach it Tuesday. This communication based strategy I’m going to share is not my original idea. I learned about Communication Calendars from a brilliant teacher friend of mine and I am not sure where she learned of it from, but I will say this strategy has worked wonders in my class thus far. Communication Calendars are a method of communication between teacher and student. I’ve organized a calendar for each student in my class with the week’s dates, a space for the student to write and a space for me to reply. The calendars look something like this:
Every morning when I get to school I put the calendars on my student’s desks. My students arrive to school anywhere between 8.20 and 8.40am; having the calendars ready to go for my students forces them to find a pencil first thing in the morning (a chronic issue with my class). Some of my students adore writing little notes to me every single day…others absolutely loathe the fact that they have to participate in this activity. I’ve been doing Communication Calendars a few weeks on and a few weeks off since early November so that we don’t “overdo” it. Once our morning announcements are over I collect all the Communication Calendars and store them on my desk until the end of the day. Every day after school I read through the calendars and I reply to each and every student. Yes, replying takes some extra time out of my day, but I’ve found having this additional method of communication with my students is entirely worth the time. I have 27 students in my class and it is a challenge to genuinely connect with every one of them each day; the Communication Calendars give my students and me a chance to “chat”, even if it’s just on paper. So far I’ve learned all kinds of things about my students via Communication Calendar conversations, including, but not limited to: new family pets, favourite birthday presents, requests for a desk change, questions about PE and shared opinions about Korean Dramas (certain kind of soap opera-esque TV show). If there is one thing I totally know and understand about teaching it is that good teachers know their students. Communication Calendars are essentially another way to get to know your class…try it out with your students and let us know how it goes!