Nurturing Relationships: Teaching Kindness

Nurturing Relationships: Teaching Kindness

I love the saying, “Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness.”  People who are kind can be perceived as weak and naive. However, showing kindness is a sign of strength, and there are numerous reasons for teaching kindness in school.  The physical, emotional and mental benefits can transform a classroom.  Lisa Currie (2014) summarized a few key outcomes associated with teaching kindness  including decreased bullying and increased peer acceptance.   I came across this site, 12 Kinds of Kindness, and thought it would be a great model for  defining examples of and practicing  kindness. It takes practice you know….

Nurturing Relationships: The Power of Words

Nurturing Relationships: The Power of Words

I mentioned before that I am from a big, Brooklyn family. I have six siblings (love them all to pieces).  When I was young we didn’t have a car.  We had to walk with my mom to the grocery store. Yes, my mother would take seven children into a grocery store.  She would calmly push the cart up and down each aisle, scratching items off her list as we gathered what was needed.  When it was time, she would walk us to the checkout line where we knew to place…

Nurturing Relationships: How Will You Embody Respect?

Nurturing Relationships: How Will You Embody Respect?

What does respect look and sound like in a classroom? It is easy to define or capture disrespect, but how can we highlight those examples of respect so that they become more prominent? It begins with acknowledging that students need to feel and believe that they are valued in the classroom for who they are and that their unique identities and perspectives are appreciated.  In like manner, understanding and accepting that teachers nurture relationships and build respectful communities in different and unique ways is important. Last week, I walked in a fifth grade classroom where students were reflecting on…

Walk in the Light Wednesday: Dance! Dance! Dance!

Walk in the Light Wednesday: Dance! Dance! Dance!

There are days when I have to remind myself, “Self, don’t be the wallflower at the dance.” Wallflowers watch from a distance as everyone else is dancing, singing and being free. They want to be on that dance floor so badly, but can’t bring themselves to do it.  They spend the majority of the time  thinking about what everyone else is thinking and doing. Each time they hear the beat of a song they love, their heart wants to be more and more on that dance floor, but they stay tied…

I See You: The Power of Affirmation

I See You: The Power of Affirmation

My husband Eric is the inspiration behind this post.  He said something to me that I knew I had to share with everyone. I’d be selfish if I didn’t. Recently, he made an area of our home into an office. I wanted a place just for Dr. Joy.  When we talked about it I wasn’t sure what it would look like because we had limited space.  The outcome was absolutely gorgeous.  He framed my academic degrees, a few special photos of the children and one photo of a much younger version of the two of us. He hung them on a solid black wall. When he was finished, he brought me to that…

Count Me In: Using Icebreakers to Build an Inclusive Classroom Community

Count Me In: Using Icebreakers to Build an Inclusive Classroom Community

One of the essential components of a positive learning environment is the establishment of positive relationships. Creating a classroom tone that is friendly, supportive and invites opportunities for connected modes of learning, can enhance the learning experience for all students. Incorporating icebreakers can help create an environment where all students feel safe sharing. Icebreakers not only encourage student voice, they can support students in making meaningful connections to content. My experience with facilitating icebreakers with students and adults has taught me a few tips and tricks. I’ve had some great…

5 Muhammad Ali Quotes Every Teacher Needs in the Classroom

5 Muhammad Ali Quotes Every Teacher Needs in the Classroom

As a fan of boxing, it’s easy to compare the world of education to this fascinating sport. Educators, regardless of their role, have ringside seats to a main event focused on transforming education. There are always competing initiatives (going toe-to-toe), which can be difficult to navigate. Despite the constant battles,  those who want to make a difference never throw in the towel. Teachers and students hit the canvas each day. Teachers work to create independent learners who can get themselves out of a clinch. When a student gets knocked down, a…

Does your Face and Space Encourage Risk-Taking?

Does your Face and Space Encourage Risk-Taking?

I took Erica and Chris to a birthday party at an adventure park last weekend.  Treetop obstacle courses and zip lines make for an adrenaline boosting experience! However, it was the first time for all of us and it was quite intimidating in the beginning. I watched intently as the park instructors and staff prepared my kids for their adventure, strapping on their harnesses with pulleys and providing an overview and safety briefing…and they were off.  My mom senses were well aware that wrapped in my children’s excitement was a…

Say Cheese: It’s Okay to Smile at Students

Say Cheese: It’s Okay to Smile at Students

Okay parents, how many of you practice the “picture day smile” with your kids?  Well, if you won’t admit to actually practicing, you at least ask your kids to show you how they intend to smile for the camera. I absolutely ask!  Here is one of my favorite pictures from back in the day. I wonder how often students and teachers are smiling in school, beyond picture day.  Some believe the old adage that a teacher’s smile is a sign of weakness and an invitation for behavior management issues.  Teresa…

Caption This: Student Engagement is Not a Guessing Game

Caption This: Student Engagement is Not a Guessing Game

Caption this photo. What does your caption mean? Is this student extremely bored, highly focused, or just a little tired?  How do we know when students are truly engaged in learning? Don’t leave it to chance!  This is the time of year when teachers have to change things up a bit to keep students engaged. There are numerous videos, websites, books, and articles on this hot topic.  Edutopia recently compiled a list of resources that include specific tips for keeping students actively engaged in learning. Check out their Student Engagement: Resource…