Nurturing Kindness in Today's Classroom

                           
In the stressed out climate of today's world, it is more important than ever to find ways to start nurturing kindness in today's classroom! Today's blog post has a few suggestions for you, so let's get started!

KINDNESS IN THE CLASSROOM


BOOKS, BOOKS, and MORE BOOKS!


                                                             

I bet you have some of these texts in your classroom. My two faves are the newer one Be Kind and the lovely, wordless picture book I Walk with Vanessa. I also have learned a lot from the Berenstain Bears since I was a child myself in the 80s! Which one is your favorite?!  (Clicking on any bring you to Amazon to get more info).


RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS



Here's a fun way to get your class organized and start a random act of kindness, and its a freebie! Click here to grab it from Teachers Pay Teachers.

VIDEOS TO SHARE

In this cute video, young kids explain what kindness is and give some examples. I find sometimes children listen more to other children so it may be worth a watch.

This is a fun song that students created for a Kindness Matters challenge!

Adorable song called Kindness is a Muscle!

This is a lovely read aloud from Story Time Family of the book Be Kind.

WRITING A CLASS BOOK

I have loved writing class books with second graders. Often we do something like choose a topic, say kindness, and each student illustrates a pictures and writes a sentence or two about the topic, then we put it together into a book. We also have created books where each student picks a different topic and we combine it into a book about "How to be a Good Friend" (or something similar).

Want more ideas? Check out my blog post called 10 Ways to Help Kids be Kind.  Do you have another suggestion for nurturing kindness in today's classroom? Comment and let me know!





Management Tips for Interactive Notebooks

 
Blog post - Management Tips for Interactive Notebooks

Hey teachers!! Are you using Interactive Notebooks or planning to? I used them for years with my second graders so I definitely developed some management tricks for interactive notebooks over time. Here are some tips for you! (and if you're wondering why you should try INBs check out my blog post here on how they keep kids engaged)!

Interactive Notebook Management Trips

Materials

The most common materials to use for INBs are composition books (the old school black and white ones)
or spiral bound notebooks. I prefer composition books because they are sturdier. Some teachers prefer to have everything independent (not in a book) so that students can turn in individual assignments so they use lined paper. This would, however, prevent students from having the resources in one place to refer to later.

Glue

I prefer liquid glue over glue sticks. Glue sticks can be wimpy and pages peel right off. But you have to train your students use use dots of glue, NOT rivers of glue! Remember the mantra, dots, not rivers.

Storage

There are several choices as to where kids can keep their notebooks. Traditionally, my students kept mine in their desks and when we transferred to flexible seating, in their cubbies. Some teachers also like to have all the INBS in a bin in a single spot for everything!
Here are some bins that I love! Clicking on the image will bring you to see them on Amazon.
  

Organizing Inside the INB

Table of Contents

For tables of contents like those I have in my own INBs, the very first thing my students do after they write their name on it, is cut out and glue down the table of contents, or at least some of them. You want to leave a certain number of pages free for them. I think we kept about 12-14 pages free.

Tabs

table will help your students keep their INBS organized and may be a quicker way to find things than the table of contents. I don't have any but you can find them on Teachers Pay Teachers!

Page Numbers

Label page numbers in advance. I would have students work on page numbers when they finished other work, or sometimes as morning work , or if we had 3-5 spare minutes.

Resources 

There are tons of interactive notebooks out there; however, I ended up creating my own because none of the ones I saw met my needs. I was looking for a simple design, easy to read fonts, clip art that is not distracting and  simple borders. I wanted my students to focus on the content and their thinking, not the cute or distracting clip art or wiggly and wavy borders.

Check out the ones I have below! Clicking on any covers will bring you to them at TPT. the last one is a freebie!

Math interactive notebook cover

ELA interactive notebook cover 

Reading interactive notebook cover

Spelling interactive notebook cover

This one is FREE if you want to just try out some INB writing activities!

Freebie interactive notebook cover

Be sure to comment and let us know if you have your own management tricks for interactive notebooks that I can add to this post!

Blog post - Management Tips for Interactive Notebooks


Building Home School Connections During Remote Learning

 
Building Home School Connections During Remote Learning
It's tough to do everything else you're supposed to be doing as teacher right now, as well as building home -school connections during remote learning. Here are some ideas that you can implement. They will help to nurture relationships and connections with students' parents and family members/guardians when you don't see them in person.

Building Home School Connections During Remote Learning


1. Have a Meet the Parents Session

If you have already had Open House Night, you can still try this. Plan in advance a half hour Meet or Zoom session and tell students they have to bring their parent(s)/guardians, and introduce them. Students love this (my friend who teachers remote third grade had a very successful time doing it) and you could have them tell a fun fact about their parents or a reason they love them.


2. Provide Important Information in the Home Language

Yes, we all know official school correspondence and special education documents need to be provided in home language, but if you are teaching fully remote, there is ton of info for parents that go home in emails or is posted on Google Classroom or websites. Consider providing these in home language too, to support parents and strengthen their trust in you.


3. Consider Having Parent-Teacher Conferences 

Maybe your school is not doing parent conferences because of the pandemic, but you may want to have them anyway, even you do 10 minutes each. Parents will be very, very appreciative.


4. Assignments that Involve Family 

You can create or use assignments for which students need to get family or household members involved. Check out this Family Interview, or students can choose a family member for the Interview an Immigrant Activity from my Immigration Resource on Teachers Pay Teachers.

5. Digital Newsletter 

When we are teaching in person, many of us sent home paper newsletters weekly or monthly. If you are all remote now, consider doing a weekly newsletter such as this one from The Tuf Teacher! You can find several other digital newsletter templates that are free around the web.

6. Use the Remind App

This would be great to share helpful reminders with parents or to send home "positive notes" for a student or two each day. On Remind, you can select one or more parents , or the whole group, to text message!


7. Create a Class Cookbook

Invite students and their family to share recipes and create a class cookbook that all can enjoy with an app such as Book Creator.


8. Invite Parents for a Career or Special Talent/Hobby Day

Our school used to have a career day/week. You could still do something like this virtually! But, perhaps to be more inclusive, if all parents are not currently employed, you could have parents share a special talent or a hobby. Students will be really entertained! Parents will feel like they contributed to the students' experience, even if they can't do so in person.


If you also want some advice on strengthening your parent communication routines, you may enjoy this blog post.

I hope these tips for building home school connections during remote learning are useful and helpful! Please comment and let us know what is the most helpful tip!

Building Home School Connections During Remote Learning