Skip to content

Positive Phone Calls Home: A Simple but Powerful Tool!

September 2, 2015

It’s September. (Where did summer go?) Most traditional schools in the United States are Back To School. Our local schools started yesterday. Some schools rolled out the red carpet to welcome students and others even had the band playing. It is truly a time to celebrate a new beginning.back-to-school-40597_640

Teachers have been in their classrooms over the last few weeks getting everything ready and organized for their new students. Effective educators know that the more planning they do now, the more time they will have later to work with students and meet their needs. They also know the importance of creating a safe classroom and learning environment.

Stressful school environments inhibit learning while positive classroom atmospheres encourage chemical responses in students that help them learn. Children naturally seek out and thrive in places where caring is present. Integrating emotional expression in a caring classroom atmosphere improves memory and stimulates the brain to learn. (Green, 1999, p. 684)

Providing a safe leaning environment goes beyond the classroom walls. One thing you can begin doing today that will build relationships with students and parents and pave the way for a more successful school year is to make phone calls home. As a young teacher in a middle school, I was a little frightened when my principal announced during our teacher workshop that his expectation was for us to make two positive parent phones calls each week AND turn those names in to him each Friday on a note card. His explanation was “you need to know the parents of your students” and “every parent deserves to hear something positive about their child.” “Call when you can, not when you have to.”phone

I made those calls initially because I had to, but quickly I saw the difference it made with my students and the richness it added to my partnerships with parents. Students look at you differently when they come to school the next day and that goes a long way in working with both students and parents when challenges arise.

Make a plan now. Call 2-3 parents each week until you have called them all. (You might want to try to call 1-2 each day during the first weeks.) Then start over.  Keep accurate records of your calls and make notes about your conversations. If you can’t reach them by phone, leave a message or try email. That works too. You will undoubtedly have to make calls about concerns, behavior, or grades later. Those difficult calls will be easier because parents and students will know you as a person who genuinely cares.

It is a simple but powerful tool.

Have a great school year.

Linda

 

Resources

 

 

Works Cited

Green, F. R. (1999). Brain and learning research: Implications for meeting the needs of diverse learners. Education, Summer, 119,(4)ProQuest Education Journals pp . 682-681.

End of Summer and Time to Get Ready to Go Back to School

August 5, 2015

It’s August, in a teacher’s time cycle it means end of summer work/break and back to the classroom soon for most of us. I’m actually already back to school. I know some schools are beginning in a couple of weeks and some will not begin until after Labor Day.

Anyway it’s time to start planning. Take care of all those personal tasks and appointments now and get as much done as you can for the coming year. The better organized you are and the more preparation you invest now, the bigger the payoff in more time and less stress later.

Over the years I have written a number of Back to School blog posts. They are still important reminders of what we need to do to be ready for our students…..They’ll be coming soon.

Back to School Precepts Blog Seriesbacktoschool

Working With – Back to School Advice

 

Preparing for Summer Learning during the Last Weeks of School

June 3, 2015

Linda C.:

Preparing for summer learning fun…..

Originally posted on From Surviving to Thriving:

Summer Learning

There is so much to do as we near the end of the school year: grades, field trips, cleaning, etc. One huge concern for teachers and parents is how to avoid “the summer slide.” What can we do to not only sustain learning, but expand learning and growth over the summer months?

Consider giving your students summer homework, not pages or workbooks of math problems, but hands-on, exploratory, and fun activities that will enhance thinking, problem-solving skills, and collaboration within families. Simple techniques that will remind students (and parents) about summer learning are summer reading lists and resources for fun summer learning activities. Create summer folders or packets that you give to students during the last week of school. One idea listed below is to make a Summer Fun Shine Can ( from Dr. Jean) filled with engaging learning pursuits. Some teachers include a self-addressed and stamped postcard…

View original 188 more words

End of the Year!

May 31, 2015

Quite possibly, May and June may be the busiest months of the year. In classrooms everywhere, teachers and students are frantically finishing projects, rushing to meet goals, and reflecting on past and future accomplishments.

While there is joy in the growth students and teachers have experienced, there is a quiet sadness and some fear of the unknown as students prepare to move to the next level and teachers gently push them on. Classroom teachers are also quietly preparing NOW for next year’s new crop of students.

At Thriving we are huge fans of lists as tools for organization. We strongly urge educators to begin the process of organization now, to end the year and prepare for next year with as little stress and as much joy as possible. Don’t forget to celebrate accomplishments, even as time is flying by.

Below is a sample”To Do” list for the end of the school year from our book, From Surviving to Thriving: Mastering the Art of the Elementary Classroom. Personalize it to fit your needs.

Checklist – Last Week of School

  • Clean out classroom files and piles.
  • Throw out old materials that have not been used for two years or more.
  • Discard old and tattered wall posters, borders, and bulletin board papers.
  • Make a list of everything that needs repairing, replacing, and/or removing.
  • Assemble student and teacher materials that need to be updated or revised.
  • Make a list of resources that will be needed to create units and lesson plans that need enrichment.
  • Write thank you notes to those students who brought gifts on the last day of school.  Maintain a list of students and their home addresses for future reference.
  • Write thank you notes to staff members.
  • Construct a school calendar for the upcoming school year.  Record dates for summer meetings and for the beginning of the school year.
  • Mark the date when final class lists of students for next year, with their home addresses, will be available.
  • Organize and clean off your computer files.  Move documents into portable storage devices and organize in folders by topic (parent letters, team building activities, science units, math units).

 

I highly recommend these posts about celebrating the end of the year.

Read, Write, Reflect: Celebrate this Week – Celebrating Endings

Joyful Endings: The Last Few Weeks of School

 

Linda

Updated from my original post May 2011.

Choose Kind and Thank you!

May 31, 2015

Update – May 31, 2015

 

Thank you to all who supported Ashley and her host family. Ashley raised $960 for Emily’s medical fund.

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.

Mother Teresa

 

May 15, 2015 Blog

May One of the greatest rewards of being a teacher is seeing our students grow and spread their wings as professional educators. Currently one of our students is completing her student teaching in Costa Rica. Earlier this week I received an email from her with a special  request. It wasn’t asking for anything personal, but it was a request for help for one of the children in her host family.

We know as teachers that our classroom communities include not just our students but their families and our school community. We know that it is a sign of professional growth when educators make every effort to support students and their school community in ways that truly make a difference.

In short, the relationships among the educators in a school define all relationships within that school’s culture. Teachers and administrators demonstrate all too well a capacity to either enrich or diminish one another’s lives and thereby enrich or diminish their schools.

(Barth, 2006).

Below is Ashley’s request. It is an excellent opportunity to choose to be kind and to help someone in need. It is also a way to support Ashley as she is trying to make a difference. Please consider a donation and help Ashley spread the word.

Emily is a little girl I’m currently living with while in Costa Rica. I cannot say greater things about this family. During my 2 months here, they have taken me under their wing and supported me in every way possible. From day one, they have gone out of their way to make me feel included. This isn’t easy, being that a language barrier is present. Emily, who is turning nine in two weeks, has a variety of medical issues and a week ago underwent a 6 hour heart surgery, from which she is still recovering. I want to support this family in every way possible, and I am hoping perhaps you do as well, so I am asking anyone who is willing to please consider making a donation to support this family. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and please share it and spread the word.

To help support the family’s  medical bills and other expenses while she recovers, I have created a gofundme page where individuals can donate money that will directly go to the family to help support their costs during this time. GoFundMe page: Emily’s Medical Fund Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please consider donating and sharing.

emily

 

Linda

Barth, R. (2006). Improving relationships within the school house. Educational Leadership, 63(6), 8-13.

Choose Kind

May 15, 2015
tags:

Update – May 31, 2015

 

Thank you to all who supported Ashley and her host family. Ashley raised $960 for Emily’s medical fund.

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.

Mother Teresa

 

One of the greatest rewards of being a teacher is seeing our students grow and spread their wings as professional educators. Currently one of our students is completing her student teaching in Costa Rica. Earlier this week I received an email from her with a special  request. It wasn’t asking for anything personal, but it was a request for help for one of the children in her host family.

We know as teachers that our classroom communities include not just our students but their families and our school community. We know that it is a sign of professional growth when educators make every effort to support students and their school community in ways that truly make a difference.

In short, the relationships among the educators in a school define all relationships within that school’s culture. Teachers and administrators demonstrate all too well a capacity to either enrich or diminish one another’s lives and thereby enrich or diminish their schools.

(Barth, 2006).

Below is Ashley’s request. It is an excellent opportunity to choose to be kind and to help someone in need. It is also a way to support Ashley as she is trying to make a difference. Please consider a donation and help Ashley spread the word.

Emily is a little girl I’m currently living with while in Costa Rica. I cannot say greater things about this family. During my 2 months here, they have taken me under their wing and supported me in every way possible. From day one, they have gone out of their way to make me feel included. This isn’t easy, being that a language barrier is present. Emily, who is turning nine in two weeks, has a variety of medical issues and a week ago underwent a 6 hour heart surgery, from which she is still recovering. I want to support this family in every way possible, and I am hoping perhaps you do as well, so I am asking anyone who is willing to please consider making a donation to support this family. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and please share it and spread the word.

To help support the family’s  medical bills and other expenses while she recovers, I have created a gofundme page where individuals can donate money that will directly go to the family to help support their costs during this time. GoFundMe page: Emily’s Medical Fund Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please consider donating and sharing.

emily

 

Linda

Barth, R. (2006). Improving relationships within the school house. Educational Leadership, 63(6), 8-13.

Another End of the School Year

April 29, 2015

Originally posted on From Surviving to Thriving:

Quite possibly, May and June may be the busiest months of the year. In classrooms everywhere, teachers and students are frantically finishing projects, rushing to meet goals, and reflecting on past and future accomplishments.

While there is joy in the growth students and teachers have experienced, there is a quiet sadness and some fear of the unknown as students prepare to move to the next level and teachers gently push them on. Classroom teachers are also quietly preparing NOW for next year’s new crop of students.

At Thriving we are huge fans of lists as tools for organization. We strongly urge educators to begin the process of organization now, to end the year and prepare for next year with as little stress and as much joy as possible. Don’t forget to celebrate accomplishments, even as time is flying by.

Below is a sample”To Do” list for the end of the school year from our book,

View original 197 more words

%d bloggers like this: