Via ABC News:
This Florida Special Ed teacher, Chris Ulmer, starts the school day with uplifting words to his students.
In his first year of teaching, he said, each day had a theme, like
"Monday Funday" and "Toast Tuesday," which is when the affirmations
began. "I noticed the kids were always more motivated, happier and
better behaved on Tuesdays. So we started doing it every day."
"They all came from a segregated environment [from general education
students]. Now they're participating in school activities, dancing in
front of hundreds of other kids and in the debate club." And while Ulmer
agrees academics are important, he thought it even more important to
reverse the psychological damage that came from being made to feel like
Is this possible in every class every day? Maybe not. But it is my experience, just as a mom, that it's just as important to point out the good in children as the not-so-good.
(Sometimes when I'm grocery shopping and I see a mom with little kids who are being helpful, I tell the kids how lucky their mom is to have such great little helpers. Kids never fail to smile. It's also a nice thing for moms to hear.)
There's also this story about a third-grade Colorado teacher, Kylie Schwartz, who started an action in her classroom. She had the kids fill in this sentence, "I wish my teacher knew...." and invited kids to fill in the blank. (#iwishmyteacherknew)
"Ninety-two percent of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch,"
Schwartz tells ABC News. "As a new teacher, I struggled to understand
the reality of my students' lives and how to best support them. I just
felt like there was something I didn't know about my students."
"I let students determine if they would like to answer anonymously," she
says. "I have found that most students are not only willing to include
their name, but also enjoy sharing with the class. Even when what my
students are sharing is sensitive in nature, most students want their
classmates to know.
"Some notes are heartbreaking like the first #iwishmyteacherknew tweet
which read, 'I wish my teacher knew I don't have pencils at home to do
Building community in my classroom is a major goal of this lesson. After
one student shared that she had no one to play with at recess, the rest
of the class chimed in and said, 'we got your back.' The next day
during recess, I noticed she was playing with a group of girls. Not only
can I support my students, but my students can support each other."
Teaching kindness and empathy - just one more value-add from these teachers.