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Friday, January 30, 2015

Helping Students Have a Fantastic Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day is the perfect time to let students know how much you appreciate them and their unique abilities and traits. As a former secondary teacher now community college instructor, I see students try their best to avoid Valentine's Day and its celebrations. This makes me wonder what past horrific Valentine's Day experiences caused these reactions?  

In elementary and secondary schools, Valentine's Day often becomes popularity contests. Some students Valentine's sacks are overflowing with goodies while other bags are half-filled. Of course, elementary students are often required to bring one card for each of their classmates to avoid this situation. However, this is not the case for middle and high school students. In secondary schools, balloons, candies, and flowers are delivered in haste before the end of classes on the special day. If you are one of those students leaving campus empty handed then Valentine's Day is suddenly disappointing and stressful!  

As a teacher, what can you do to make a difference in students' lives on Valentine's Day? Be aware of students' emotions and feelings on February 14. For elementary classes, bring extra cards and goodies to hand out to those doing good deeds for the day. Secondary students are just as sensitive, so bring extra goodies for them, too. Individually wrapped candies or flowers, such as a single carnation tied with ribbon, can be placed anonymously in lockers or delivered by school aides so older students are unaware of the donor, which could cause embarrassment. One of my favorite memories is of some of my female seventh grade students being handed carnations I supplied anonymously. The best part? They never discovered I was the donor! 
As an educator, you can make sure students have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Have a Happy Valentine's Day!

For Valentine's Day fun, enjoy some freebies from my TpT storefront then click here for more engaging Valentine's Day products:

 Valentine's Day Comics: Working with Inference, Dialogue and Symbolism

Monday, January 19, 2015

Getting to Know Students the Easy Way

A new semester means new faces and new names. What are some favorite activities and strategies to match faces with names? First, try Find Someone Who...Bingo to get students to engage with one another:

Elementary Edition

College Edition

Another great activity is comprehension postcards! Take any postcards, write introductory questions on the back, then cut in half using different patterned scissors. Pass out the separate pieces to students and ask them to find the other half of the postcard. Have students discuss their question that is on the back of the postcard then introduce their partners answers during whole group discussion. 

A favorite activity for getting to know students is the notecard method. Use a regular size notecard and ask students to record their: 

Email (working and you check it)
Phone (working)
What other courses are you enrolled in?
Is there anything your instructor should know?

Collect the notecards and when class is close to over position yourself by the exit door. As students leave the room, match the notecard with the face and name. Make a point to say each student's name and talk about one item that is listed on the notecard, such as a hobby or other courses enrolled in. This helps build face and name recognition. 

There are lots of fun other get-to-know-students activities, such as Personality College and Rock Star Name that can be downloaded. 

One final option is to print a class roster that includes students' names and their pictures, such as through Peoplesoft or WebAdvisor. These software programs are time savers when getting new students each semester!

Good luck on matching faces and names at the start of a new semester!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Celebrating a New Year

Wherever you live, it's time to celebrate a new year! Resolutions abound and traditions are followed as we ring in 2015. One of the largest New Year's celebration on earth takes place at Times Square. However, most of us view the Big Apple's ball drop from our television screens. 

Remember when we were kids the excitement of staying up until midnight? We tuned the tv channel to Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve, popped corn, played board games, and waited for the magical moment of midnight to arrive. Then, we blew paper party horns and drank sparking apple cider that made our nostrils tickle. Fun, cheap, simple entertainment that kept us laughing as the countdown began. 10...9...8...7...6...5...4...3...2..1...
May 2105 bring peace and prosperity!

Happy New Year to all my followers and patrons! 
From The Educator Helper

FREE Materials to Celebrate the New Year: