Tip # 2

Setting the Tone For the Rest of the Year

Show How Much You Care From the Outset

If you ask students what their greatest fear is for the new year, often they will respond that they do not want to get a teacher who yells or embarrasses them in front of others. Imagine how reassuring it would be if you would pledge on day one never to yell at or embarrass a student.

Have you ever heard the expression, " Students' don't care how much you know until they know how much you care?" Taking the time to lay the foundation for success means that you model how much you care through conversations, body language, and activities designed specifically to learn about each and every student as an individual.
In Classroom Habitudes: Teaching Habits and Attitudes for 21st Century Learning, Maiers shares that if we want to improve students' reading, writing, and critical thinking skills, we must help our students become more self-aware.

She suggests the following activities to improve self-awareness:

Conversations That Last: Continuing the Dialogue

My best trait is...
I struggle most with...
My favorite learning environment is ...
Something that gets in the way with my learning is...
I learn best by...
I am interested in...


The Story of Me: Heart Mapping

Consider having your students place their thoughts on a heart to begin organizing their thoughts.

What has really affected your heart?
What people have been most important to you?
What happy memories do you have?
What things are important to you?
What is at the center of your heart?
Could different colors represent emotions, events, or relationships?


Exploring Uniqueness With a Partner

My Special Thing!

Have your students work with a partner to explore further what makes individuals unique. Set the stage by sharing that the questions partners will be asking are intended to help you identify the things that make you stand out and special. Knowing your talents, passions, and gifts will help you work as a productive community citizen because you will know exactly what you have to contribute to the world.


Reflections on Self-Awareness

You may consider asking students to respond to the following prompts as a journal entry or a Ticket Out the Door.

My greatest strengths as a learner are...
When I evaluated my learning today, I found that....
When I am successful in my learning, I feel...
I am aware of how others describe me as a learner...
These are the things that I take more care doing...


Reproducible

Click the link below to access the handout: Reflections on Self-Awareness to see additional prompts to help you understand how students assess themselves.