Sunday, August 19, 2012

Soccer Sunday and Happy Notes

I don't know about you guys, but I don't sit still....like ever. The closest I get to being still is typing away on my laptop. I love to get up and move. I also need a reason to take my mind off teaching junk or I'll get sucked into teacher world forever.

I play soccer every Sunday and today was the first game of the season. I was wishfully thinking that my 10K training this summer would have me still in shape. Sadly, no... the 2 1/2 weeks of lazy and eating some junk food since my last race ruined it! Oh well, it was a fun game and we won! Plus I got to see my soccer buddies. We have at least 4 teachers on our soccer team, so we are all in the Back to School frenzy now. Plus I've played with the ladies on the other team for tournaments and I know there are at least 3 teachers on their team too, so school came up often before the game and at half time. None of us can think about anything else! Even at our own soccer game!

 Flaming Soccer Ball Clip Art

Are you a sporty teacher? How do you burn off some steam? In Arizona, a few of us went hiking together after school. It made it so much easier to wind down when we got home. Plus we could vent or brag about our classes!

Today I was emailing a parent (school hasn't even started yet!) and I'm already happy with our little dialog. I do not run a "traditional" class so I can brainstorm with parents and create lessons, behavior plans, and general teaching strategies for specific students. The wonders of a tiny class of 5-6! Today's email was a good one! I always love when the words "If you have any thoughts or recommendations I would love to hear them." are included in an email. She's already on my HAPPY LIST!!!

Speaking of happy... One of my favorite things is "Happy Notes!" I write them any time a student has a particularly wonderful day! I HATE to only write to parents when I have something bad to say, so I make a point of sending happy notes whenever I feel like they are warranted. Sometimes it's something academic like when the kid who hates to write suddenly writes a super duper story with zero prompting. Other times, it's a behavior accomplishment such as a "perfect day" when a students get ALL of the points on their behavior points sheet (these are school wide for our special ed school and go with a colored level system). Sometimes I write by hand, but I actually really like to do emails instead. Then if the parents respond with how proud they are, I can instantly let the kid read what their parent wrote. It just adds a whole new level of positive reinforcement! This is especially important for the "tough kids" whose parents are used to only hearing about the terrible things their kid did. I actually had a mom cry (happily) when she got one last year! Something disastrous happened every day for a week, and she was ecstatic to finally hear her child had a good day. My plan for the year is "Focus on the Positive" and Happy Notes are a huge part of it. I even put it in all caps in the email subject line to the parents know I'm about to tell them something great, not something that's about to ruin their day or stress them out.

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