Hi again. I hope you are all enjoying your week and are ready for more tips to help you during the month of February.
Last week I had the opportunity to work with a new behavior support team at one of my schools. We had a lively discussion regarding strategies we use to build relationships and establish rapport with high-needs students. You know the ones –- they don’t trust anyone, have low self-esteem, have endured years of school frustration . . . and they just don’t feel like they fit in.
When you have new students entering your special education classrooms throughout the school year, it’s vital that you build relationships with them as quickly as possible. And we all know that a lack of solid positive relationships can really influence your classroom management plans. Our goals should always include building positive relationships with each of our students and teaching them how to build relationships with their peers and the adults on campus.
Working toward these goals will help us establish a supportive community in our classrooms. Here are a few of my favorite ways to do this:
- Sponsor after-school activities: Try board games, a gardening club, recycling activities, or homework help.
- Walk and talk: Take a break with a few students and walk around campus. Even 10 minutes of listening and conversation paired with physical activity can mean so much to them.
- Class meetings: Choose topics from a list of student interests (but carefully screen that list). This shows that you care about what matters to them.
- Interest inventories: Get to know a new student through class assignments, peer interviews, group share, or another fun activity.
- Celebration time: Spotlight achievements by student choice or teacher choice, bring in special guests, or offer special recognition through notes, e-mails, or phone calls home.
- Meal with the teacher: This one-on-one time can be such a special treat for the student –- and it may be the only time he or she receives positive attention from an adult that day.
What do you do to build relationships and social skills in your classroom? Send in your ideas and we’ll post a complete list at the end of the month. THANKS for sharing your wonderful ideas — I look forward to reading them all!