Archive for the ‘Kindness’ category

C is for Colleagues

May 9, 2017

C is for colleagues, those persons with whom we share our professional and personal lives. I have had two experiences working with colleagues that almost seem like Camelot. At Burlington High School I worked with Carl, Patti, and Judy. I learned more about my own teaching from Carl and Patti than any other colleague—we teamed taught, experimented with block scheduling, and established site-based management. Judy was my life-saver when I had to call in sick because one of my kids was sick. But, more than that she and I shared our ideas about how high school English should be taught. Judy was innovative and supported my own innovation—gave me courage to go ahead and try it.

At Cadinal Stritch University, I worked with Linda and Jennifer, among others, to develop a Masters of Arts in Teaching program, designed for people who had a non-teaching degree who wanted to teach. I’m very proud of the teachers we turned out and to this day, those teachers are making a difference for kids. Linda, Jennifer, and I published two books together on classroom management, one for elementary and one for high school. We presented together at national conferences and area school districts—what fun! Today we are partners in Surviving to Thriving LjL and continue to create teacher materials that engage kids and are easy to implement for teachers.

When we presented, we always had give-aways which included bookmarks with inspirational quotes for teachers. So, we decided to offer those bookmarks to teachers free of charge. This product includes 16 reproducible bookmarks with directions for 7 Ways to Use Bookmarks with your colleagues. Each bookmark has a graphic and teacher quote. As you think about your own colleagues, think about how much you appreciate them and their role in your professional life.

16 Free Bookmarks

Building Positive Relationships with Support Personnel

August 19, 2016

Schools would not run smoothly without the secretaries, custodians, bus drivers, security team, or 728d6ee6ea0b81a533d0f45ed29dae10food service staff. Often their support is so seamless, we almost forget that they exist and we often take for granted, all the glitches they unglitch. So, as you are thinking about building a classroom community, take a moment out to think about how you might build positive relationships with your building’s support personnel. Here’s a few suggestions from our books, Thriving in the High School Classroom and From Surviving to Thriving: Mastering the Elementary Classroom.

  • Acknowledge support personnel with a smile, a nod, or short conversation.
  • Turn in paperwork on time. If it’s going to be late, let the secretary know.
  • Communicate with the custodian when a class event is going to result in extra trash or your classroom furniture arrangement may impede cleaning.
  • Don’t forget to let the food service staff know when your students may not be dining in the cafeteria.
  • Take time out to introduce yourself to the security team and find out what you can do to make their job easier.
  • If you have bus duty, connect with the bus drivers.

And, as we all know, it is the school secretary who really runs the school!

Check out our new products at Surviving to Thriving LjL:

mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine Discussion and Activity Guide

Homework: Show What You Know

FREE Teacher Bookmarks with Homework Quotes

FREE Bookmarks with Quotes for Teachers

Lesson Plans for the First Week of School: The Crayon Box that Talked

Spread a Little Kindness and Avoid Teacher Burnout

April 6, 2015

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According to Ben Johnson, author of 10 Steps for Avoiding Teacher Burnout, making someone’s day by extending a small kindness is another step to avoiding teacher burnout. His suggestions include calling a parent or guardian to share something good about a student; complement a struggling student on something he or she is doing well; or just show gratitude to a staff member with a note, hug, or even a small gift. Here are 11 more ways to spread kindness for you and your students:

  1. Set up an appreciation day for custodians, school secretaries, bus drivers, or administrators.  Ask your students to write a thank you statement.  For example, thank you Mrs. Smith for keeping our classroom clean; thank you Mr. Brown for getting us to and from school safely; thank you Miss Thomas for saying hello to us when we come to school, etc.  Place all the thank-you statements in a large envelope and deliver them.
  2. Bring treats in for the staff on a Monday morning.
  3. Buy a dozen roses from the grocery store and give 12 staff members each a rose.
  4. Send a note to someone on your staff that has shown you kindness or has helped you.
  5. Surprise your students with a fun activity.
  6. Explore the resources listed below and commit to doing some of the acts of kindness with your students.
  7. Smile at your students and your colleagues.
  8. Organize your professional books and materials and give a new teacher books or materials you no longer need, but still have professional value.
  9. Leave a generous tip the next time you dine out.
  10. Call someone who has been in your thoughts.
  11. Watch the movie, Pay It Forward.

Below are some excellent resources and ideas for you and your students to consider when choosing kind. Wonder is a great novel that deals, among other things, with the power of kindness. Consider it for a read-aloud for your students. Check out our unit and read-aloud guide on Teachers Pay Teachers.wonder book bites

Resources for Spreading Kindness

15 Random Acts of Kindness

The Great Kindness Challenge

Conspiracy of Kindness

134 Random Acts of Kindness

Acts of Kindness Student ActivitiesSurviving to Thriving TPT

50 Random Acts of Kindness


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