Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Making a few more Connections (finally)

I have been asking students in 3rd-8th grade to blog. Knowing that they may not have Internet access, I have not asked them to work from home. This particular student, who at times needs a lot of attention, took it upon himself to write from home. I DIDN'T ask him! It made my day to wake up and see that he connected with what we did in class and wanted to work from home. I have written about my challenge in connecting with students because I see them once a week for 45 minutes. Not an ideal amount of time for building relationships. What I learned from this 4th grader doing this is that, I have connected with him. I printed a copy of his post last Friday, wrote a note to him about how proud this made me and hand delivered it. I loved seeing his smile as I walked away. Small moments. Small moments. Small moments.

Last week also marked an interesting event during 8th grade. I am still working to engage some of the tougher kids. I asked the class to evaluate a few of the tools I've used with students in previous years. Eventually I hope to get them working on a project, but I wanted to see which of the tools engaged and excited them the most. One particular student (Barb- it was the one you saw challenge me when you visited), seems to be big in to music so I helped him get started with Garageband. He fiddled around with it and as we were cleaning up I asked him what he thought. He said, "I didn't get to finish." I told my AP about this event and he smiled and said- "What?? He actually wanted to finish something?" I'm not sure I fully connected with him, but it is hopefully a start. Funny side note about this kiddo- at the end of each class, he always visits amazon to find a 'lovely' song clip to blast as he leaves. This day, instead of being annoyed as before, I said "Hey, I really appreciate how you leave me with a song every time you're here." I'm thinking he does the song blast to make sure I acknowledge him?

Yesterday marked another interesting event in the 8th grade world. A young lady who is challenging to connect with for most teachers actually said, "You are my favorite teacher." WHAT?? I have her in a small math intervention group at the end of the day and the first few days, she wandered around instead of coming down to my room. She now comes down with the group and works. 

I am realizing I have made connections with two challenging 8th graders. Next steps will be to work on building a relationship with them. I have made it clear that 8th graders are my biggest challenge and I struggle each time they are in my room. However... Small moments like these two make the challenges a bit easier to work with. I wrote about a Starfish and how you can't possibly throw them all back into the ocean to survive, but helping just ONE makes a difference to that one. Here's to making a difference with two in the past week. 

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