The Power of One
Never underestimate the power of one caring adult in the life of a child. That power can help a child see over his horizon and glimpse his destiny. Never underestimate the power of one caring teacher whose heart is on fire with the character message. The character message can change the life of a classroom and a school-- and can forever change the students within its walls!
The Power of Words
Words have power! They can build up or tear down. So, think about the words you use and ask yourself: Are you an architect and builder of human potential, or are you part of the demolition crew?
I keep a sign on my desk that says I love you enough to listen. It's the first impression I want to give the students in my life!
Read the Room
Use your walls to post character quotes, success strategies, and uplifting messages. Your students will always learn something new when they read the room!
Read All About It
Keep a basket in your classroom filled with success books. When you have a minute between classes, pick up a book and dive right in! When your students enter the classroom, they will notice what you are reading. It provides a conversation starter with your kids and it models the importance of reading, learning, and growing. It will inspire your students to do the same!
Effort vs. Excuses
What's it going to be? Effort or excuses? Excuses lead to failure, while effort leads to success. The choice is yours!
Think of your own school days. You worked hard on a paper or a test. You really did do your best. But then, when you got your paper back from the teacher, the grade was a 91%. You didn't even notice the 91%. You noticed only the 9% missing from the score. You didn't focus on the good parts of your work. Your focus was on the parts marked up and highlighted with red pencil.
In my second year of teaching, I learned to tune in to kids, then threw out my red pencils, and put a new blue Flair marker in my pocket. It has since become a permanent part of my pocket-- a part of Deb. I don't mark things wrong with my blue pen. I mark things RIGHT! I make lots of blue stars around the things I choose to celebrate. The response from my students has been magical! The result? Increased student confidence, higher achievement, and a strong desire to learn!
A great morning poem with which to start the day is this one by Emily Dickinson. It imparts your expectations of personal and academic excellence for your students and helps them to embark on a journey to become better students and better people. It is a teacher's duty to call students to excellence, and this poem helps!
Called To Rise by Emily Dickinson
We never know how high we are
'Til we are called to rise
And then if we are true to plan
Our statures touch the skies.
Repeat After Me
This strategy is an opportunity to make a big difference in the character development of your students-- without spending time or money. Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Several times throughout the day, I just say Repeat after me! And then I select a character axiom for intentional learning and reinforcement. I use only one each day, such as Be in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing. I say the words of wisdom once, and the students repeat it. I do this first thing in the morning, when we are lining up for class changes, when we are lining up for lunch, when we are getting our books out of our lockers, and at the end of the day when we are packing our bookbags for home. Without using an instructional time, we have repeated our character message five or six times during the day. Meanwhile, the students have committed the wisdom to memory. No cost is involved; all that is necessary is the commitment to do this each and every day. The kids are excited to see which message is next; they even start searching for character quotes to bring to class! During the school year, students will learn 180 of these important axioms. Hopefully, they will internalize the wisdom and use it in their lives. It is a small thing that repeatedly reaps big rewards!