Monday, October 24, 2016

Kids Deserve It! Week 4: Chapters 10-12

How are you a cheerleader for your students? How do you work to maintain a positive attitude and share a positive message?

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Next week we will read and discuss chapters 13-15.

75 comments:

  1. I think my best cheerleader moment for my students is when I give them a well deserved compliment. Sometimes I think we throw around compliments too much and therefore their worth is downsized. My students can tell by my body language if I’m super impressed by their awesomeness :)

    As for being positive, I think all educators would agree that some days are easier than others…..especially if you have kids of your own! I try to take advantage of our school’s moment of silence before the pledge and say a quick prayer to keep me motivated in the right direction. I try to surround myself with other staff in my building that also have a positive light, especially when I’m having one of “those days”. It is easy to jump on the bandwagon in the teachers’ lounge when people are venting about this and that. Those repeat offenders I try to put some distance between so that I don’t flip to the negative side. I also try looking at a situation from the other person’s perspective before always thinking the worst.

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    1. Amanda- I think one of the best ways to cheer students on is to notice and compliment a job well done, and students know when it is truly earned; I agree that the worth of a compliment is often downsized, due to over-use.

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    2. I agree with the over compliments and the emptiness of them at times. I recently listened to a podcast about kiddos and education and even relating to our own children. That we often compliment them on "how smart they are or how much you like their shoes...but compliments should compliment on how hard the kiddos work in the education environment...Such as..."Wow...you did a really great job on this test...I can tell you worked really hard to get this score!" A compliment like that shows a kiddo that they are smart...but also that they worked hard to get there. A great way to be their cheerleader!

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    3. Yes!! We want to build them up, but there are complaints that society tells everyone that they are special (and everyone is!!) but a sincere compliment, or true accomplishment from our students, means so much more.

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  2. I would say that I'm a cheerleader for my kids everyday by welcoming them with a smile, always being upbeat (no matter the circumstances), playing music in my classroom while they work on their artwork, and always being there for them with a hug. I try to remember that I don't know what their home life is like and I want them to always know they can enjoy and hopefully look forward to coming into my classroom. I also use the 3 R's in my classroom...Respect, Responsibility, and relationship. I always talk about treating others the way you would want to be treated & have them lift each other up. I often have them ask their "shoulder" buddy first and tell them that they are each others teachers. I want them to see their table as teachers, friends, and work as a team. I always try to have a positive attitude and with everyone. I don't sit in the teachers lounge to eat instead I work in my classroom during lunch. I have had previous experiences with lounges where they become the place to dump on kiddos and I don't like it. I know it is a time to be with adults, but I would rather stay in my room and work. I do still have social time when I have recess and cafeteria duty. Showing God's love is what I try to remember. We all have days, and moments where we need a redo. I try to remember this with my students and lead by example.

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  3. I try to be my student's cheerleader everyday too. I encourage them to do their best and to work hard. That some days may be harder but if they are trying their best then they have done well. I give them smiles and pats on the back for doing their best. I send out post cards to parents to let them know if their child had done something well, even if it is getting most of their homework done, or asking questions in class.This makes the student feel very good to hear praise from their teacher.. through their parent. I like to play music in my class when my kids are hard at work on homework, I too let them use a partner to ask a question first if they don't understand something. This makes them feel good knowing they can answer some of their own questions.
    I do not eat in the teachers lounge either. I am usually working during my lunch, or I take a 20 minute walk around the school, enjoying the fresh air, the outdoors, or maybe even just a 20 minute mindfullness moment for myself.

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    1. I like the idea of sending post cards to the parents. It is such a great way to build a teacher/parent relationship! I know that the students are going to be proud to see that as well!

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  4. As far as cheerleading goes, I praise my kids often. Even today, a student told me that I have to say they are doing well, because I'm their teacher. I reinforced that I mean what I say when I encourage them, or tell them what they do well. I ask them about their extracurricular activities and wish them luck at upcoming events. I check in with how it went, or attend the event. I have ALWAYS graded with a "c" for correct instead of an "x" if something is wrong. I emphasize the plus # instead of the minus.

    As far as staying positive - I distance myself from negativity and tend to change the subject or not engage in negative comments by others. I try to avoid any negative conversations or get out fast. For me, it's pretty easy to leave the bad thoughts at the door as soon as I see the first face of a student.

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    1. Grading with a "C"...I love that! Something so little but encouraging! Good job!

      I too try to leave negative conversations...I think those conversations are what allows the day to be less than it could be...and my mind wonders and my focus is off. I have learned to walk away.

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    2. That is so nice to hear those things directly from the students. I had one last year that told me I am a good teacher, because I actually care about how well they do in school. :) I just assumed that was all teachers!

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    3. Love the idea of grading with a "C" instead of an X. I also like to use the # right instead of the minus.

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  5. I am a cheerleader for my kiddos when I take notice and follow up on my observations. I have kept a journal of observations for many years. I note their interests, stories they tell me, topics they enjoy, etc. I challenge them to continue learning about those things. When I see a positive behavior or character trait I publicly recognize the student. The positive recognition spurs others to "do right" too. I am also a cheerleader by being an advocate. I make sure that I get students the help they need and in a timely manner; inside my classroom and within the school.

    Staying positive can be tough but I try to focus on the blessings in my life. If I am spending time on things to be thankful for, I don't have much time to grumble. I also pray with a coworker each morning before school starts. As some of the other posts mentioned, it is important to surround ourselves with positive people who will help encourage us and be our cheerleaders.

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    1. I agree that counting my blessings and always finding things in my life to be thankful for helps me keep a positive attitude. Another important point you mentioned is surrounding ourselves with positive people. This does help with our attitude because it is easy to find fault especially when others around us keep pointing out the negatives.

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    2. :-0 A journal? That is genius! I have a horrible memory when it comes to those conversations, that would be such a good way to keep track and connect with students!

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  6. I am a Special Education teacher and when I enter a child’s life they have already encountered many academic failures and usually have struggled socially. So when these students enter my classroom I always try to point out any and all improvements!!! I also have many conversations with the general education teachers, thinking of strategies to come up with ways to help our students achieve some success. I do get discouraged some days, as we all do, especially when one of my students makes a really inappropriate choice again and is suspended again! I just wonder if I’m really making any difference!! Then I remind myself that this is just one student and many of my other students are making progress. Additionally, I will have another opportunity when the student comes back to encourage him to make better choices.
    I guess if I would try to explain how I maintain a positive attitude it would be that I choose to be happy and enjoy life rather than concentrate on the negative. (Being happy is more fun)

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    1. I feel special education students have experienced a lot of failure as well. I really focus on the positives and improvements and giving them a next step.

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  7. My students can often become discouraged at the difficulty of assigned tasks that other students can handily accomplish. Although my students do not always comprehend a task, they do know that they struggle, and because of this, I have often heard a student demean him or herself. Sometimes, the only thing I can tell a student to encourage them is to remind them that tomorrow is another day.

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  8. I think one of the ways I act as a cheerleader is by noticing when students are doing well and encouraging when students are not doing so well. Smiles and you can do it's go a long way.

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  9. This year especially needs me and others to be.a cheerleader for my students with a new digital curriculum and attempting new and innovative programs online to increase their engagement. We are also on multiple classroom management systems. We use one for the district, my classes are piloting a new one, and we use Google Classroom for our collaborative work. As we are all uncomfortable with new things, I really need to encourage them along the way. I continually tell them that we need to move forward one small step at a time; it doesn't have to be perfect the first. As most of their work is being done collaboratively, I am able to walk the room congratulating them often as I see their efforts. Sharing their work with other classes is another way to cheer them on.

    I'll be honest, there are a few kids in one class making this cheering very difficult. I start each day with another attempt to form a relationship in hope that we all can enter that class enjoying it. I do not give up in reminding myself, as the book states, "why I became an educator.... to help kids thrive" (loc 1019).

    I am reading in your posts so far that staying positive has not been an easy task. We are all in the same boat. We so desperately need to work on this one for our health and for the sake of our students. It seems that the only forum we have to talk out concerns is with each other, so it is difficult to escape it. The most successful way I find to stay positive is looking at Twitter feeds for at least 5 minutes a day. I am connected with the positive educators celebrating their students and being excited about being an educator. For example, there is a #celebratemonday PLN where people are celebrating each other or sharing motivational memes. That is why it is so important for us to celebrate our student successes with others.

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    1. Yes, if we are having trouble with positive in our environment, it is great to be able to find it in PLNs or social media! It is great to hear/share our successes with other educators!

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  10. Being an honest cheerleader for my students is important. I let them know when they've done something noteworthy, and when appropriate, I share that with the rest of the class,too. I especially try to find something to compliment or just notice and comment on with struggling students. Just a brief comment on an improvement in performance, attitude, participation or effort goes a long way.

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    1. I love the idea of sharing noteworthy accomplishments and compliments with the rest of the class! It not only reinforces the behavior and work ethics that we are looking for to that particular student, but it also shows the rest of the class what we would like them to strive for.

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  11. One way I'm a cheerleader is I try to celebrate successes of my students. If I hear someone's name on the announcements I'll be sure to congratulate them when they come to class. If they're in my class during announcements I'll point out to everyone what we heard and we'll give the person applause. I also use schoology to send them messages of congratulations or great job for things like classwork, tests, projects, etc...
    to maintain a positive attitude I try to just focus on the good happening. For example, when someone is purposely disrupting I ignore it as long as it isn't something serious that need immediate attention and I pull the student aside later to ask what's going on, if anything is wrong, etc because they know that behavior is unacceptable. Another way I try to keep a positive attitude is celebrating good things whether it be something personal for a student, our schools attendance rate, the fact we've made it to Wednesday, whatever!!!

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    1. I agree that celebrating the "little things" is an encouragement for the students! It doesn't always have to be something big. These little celebrations are what puts a smile on their faces and refreshes their minds to continue on the journey....possibly encouraging them in a way we don't even expect.

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    2. I too enjoy acknowledging my students success in other classes. A lot of time they are surprised I know. But most are ore than happy to answer questions or explain further. :)

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  12. I only mark positive points when grading, and I use all kids of colors of pens to do so. The infamous red pen is sometimes used in the mix but it never is the only color used. Both of these are simple and subtle ways to promote the positives for the students.
    I have found that lunch time with colleagues can be sometimes challenging especially on "tough" days where events do not go well. Lately, our lunch group has adopted a plan to allow for venting but we must all end on a positive note or a solution to resolve the problem. What teacher wouldn't want problem solving to be the end result.

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    1. I do the same thing of marking the points or putting the percentage. I like to use a lot of colors, but yes, red finds its way into my grading as well.
      I like the idea of ending on a positive note or a solution to the problem. Some of the teachers at my school have created a quarter jar when we are negative about colleagues! We then use the money for good things, such as donations to families in need.

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    2. April...I like the idea of the quarter jar.

      Pamela...I like that your lunch group ends on positive notes and solutions. Sounds like a great idea to promote positives for students and colleagues.

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  13. I think I am their cheerleader making our classroom environment a happy one. I smile...which often makes the kiddos smile. If we have a happy environment then the kiddos will want to be there. I make the kiddos feel smart and excited about learning...I often tell them how proud I am of how hard they work. I teach preschool so building this type of environment is crucial to build a love of learning. Just last week I did an activity with staircase counting 1-5...Going into this activity I felt that it was going to be challenging for many of the kiddos...Much to my surprise they rocked this activity. I was sure to let them know how smart they are...and I know they are getting so smart because they are working so hard with their numbers at school and at home. I could tell my words made them feel proud inside and that spark of learning was set off!
    I love the story Todd tells about his home and how much he loved going to his grandmas house because she was his cheerleader...We often don't know what goes on behind the school walls...so this is a great example of why it is important to make those kids feel special/important every day. Give them a place they want to go...I absolutely love the quote, "We have the power to tear down or build up the children who walk into our lives every day." That statement couldn't be more true...I think about my own child who goes into his class everyday. He has a wonderful teacher...but I have yet to see how she sets him aside to make him feel important. He lacks that passion to learn and to go to school. He is an excellent student (academically and socially)...so I feel that sometimes because he is so great he often is in the shadows. Just this year he had an issue with another kiddo who wasn't kind to him...He and I worked on ways to solve the problem and after about a week we had to go to the teacher. She had no idea what was going on.
    Lastly when I taught kinder/first grade I didn't hold just parent conferences...I held parent/student conferences. The kiddos got to celebrate some of their work and their scores. They kept a data notebook and each week that had to write down what they did that was great and what they wanted to improve on...this was a great way to celebrate their learning.

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  14. http://home.edweb.net/webinar/kids-deserve-it/

    Free webinar from the principal of the book we are reading! Not my post for the week, but I just had to share! Enjoy!

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    1. Thanks for sharing! I have participated in quite a few webinars through edWeb.net. Great resource for Professional Development. Will be signing up for this one!!

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    2. Thank you for sharing. I am looking forward to attending this webinar.

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  15. I too love to cheer on my students. They love it and it really motivates and encourages them to do their best. Being a happy, positive, motivating role model is so important. Whether it's cheering them on to have a great day, to cheer on good effort or a good grade, being a good helper or friend, whatever the encouragement is will only build up and motivate the kids to want to do more.
    I love this quote from the book, "I'm starting to think of success is not so much about the fear of failure, but more a lack of encouragement."
    I know I love to be encouraged because it empowers me to go the extra mile and do my absolute best. I'm confident that kids want this too.
    Staying positive isn't easy in a world of such negativity. Above all I rely on my faith in God to keep me positive, encouraging, and empowered. really have to work at it and ask myself "What do you want others to say about me?" I try to surround myself with positive influences and stay away from those who bring me down. #KidsDeserveIt

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  16. Being a cheerleader to my students is what actually makes my day fun. With so many negative things going on in our days and of course, in society, it can get exhausting and negativity can work its way in. I have my days but I definitely try to stay positive and surround myself with positive people. One way I try to be a cheerleader is to remember things my students tell me and follow up with them on the days that follow. This shows I was actually listening and care about them. When they do something that has shown they have grown as a student or as a person, I am there to jump up and down and give them a hug or a high five. Their smiles say it all! I also love the quote about us having the ability to tear down or build up...I want to help build up!! I do also try to not let school take over my mind 24/7. Having come into teaching and starting from scratch that has been hard to do. I try to use my time wisely so that I can use my time out of school to reboot and refresh. I agree coming in with a positive attitude makes the day go some much smoother. If others are having a rough day, I try to find the positives with them, because sometimes lets face it...we need cheerleaders ourselves. When we are encouraged, we perform better. Encouragement gives me a boost to continue being able to keep in the race and cheer others on. It is the same for my students!

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  17. Teaching middle school general math and Spanish, every day offers a cheerleading opportunity. When students are in a competition, a class game, or anything that I can participate along with them, I join. I enjoy competition, and my pure pleasure lets them know that I do not hold back the part of my personality that hates to lose. It can be inspiring or fascinating for them to observe this. I am not a great singer; however, I do love to sing. I have found a song to correlate with about every math topic (and many Spanish songs that teach more Spanish). I sit beside students while singing, further emphasizing not all singers have to sing well; they will usually start singing so that I go sit by someone else.

    At other times I reveal to them how capabilities within the content area are going to apply to their careers. Nothing gets their attention like telling them knowing Spanish can save a life when they are later working in a hospital where the patient speaks Spanish only. They can also relate to about a 100 stories I have for ways that math has boosted someone’s ability to control a situation in her or his favor.

    My first task every year is to find out what makes a student tick or what plans she or he has for a career. This gives me an entry way into students’ personalization of the content area and a multitude of ways to relate to their world.

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  18. I always try and say hi to each student entering my classes. I also often bring them in treats and try to be as positive as possible. I try to link my classes to what the students are facing today in a positive way. I think students get way to much negative from everything else in the world and I work hard to be a positive influence in the classroom. I also seem to tell them funny stories that can possibly make them smile a little. I learned a long time ago that teaching is content yes but more about connecting with students and being positive.

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  19. I absolutely agree with the author about being a cheerleader for my students. I like to do this by creating a positive environment for my students. I start off each year discussing how we can be "Bucket Fillers." I spend a lot of time ensuring the students know how to be a Filler and not a Dipper. I also have a positive behavior system. Students can clip up or down depending on their behavior. Maybe a student makes a mistake in the morning, but has a great afternoon and clips up. The student gets to end the day of a positive note.

    I also think all the little things all of you have mentioned are really important. Just being an active listener to stories or exciting things happening makes a difference to them. Even when they are no longer in your class to give high fives, say hello, and ask how they are or encourage them to have a good day helps them know you still care about them.

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    1. I love the bucket filling program! I think the students feel good about themselves when they receive special notes from their classmates! I have even had students write them to kids in other classrooms and other teachers!

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  20. I agree with a lot of the other bloggers above. It is sooo important to say hi to our students when they come in in the morning.
    The students that have "troubles" as well. It's good to have them know that you are happy that they are here at school today.
    I try to be specific with what I notice in my students; in writing I like how you used a capital here or in the hall (a random child in line, not in my class) that is walking quietly, they light up when you recognize how they are doing their best especially since you aren't their teacher.
    It's hard, we get caught up in our more challenging high need/impact kids and forget there are several that are doing their jobs and their best.
    I try to let them know that they are great and I appreciate them every day!

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    1. I agree! Students love to hear from other teachers in the hallway. You can make a small difference in a lot of students that way.

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  21. I try to be a cheerleader for my students every day! I encourage them to take risks, cultivate a growth mindset, and have a lot of positive interactions with them throughout the day. We have been working on long division the past week and a half, and this is ALWAYS a difficult part of the math curriculum. Even though we review the steps each day, there are a few students still struggling. One way I can make the students feel positive, is to have them teach each other. They feel accomplished because they are helping others, and I have chosen them, which in turn makes them feel good about themselves. The students receiving the help then feel more confident in their math skills, because they are getting one-on-one assistance.

    I also give a lot of praise throughout the day. Even saying things such as "good job", "I like your idea", "I didn't think of that", etc. is a way to give them a positive push. I have found that even a thumbs up can be encouraging!

    Maintaining a positive attitude/message is easier with the students. I find the struggle to be with colleagues. When sitting in the lunch room, teachers tend to share what is happening with the students in their classrooms, and I feel bad for those kids. I know that I have my moments of frustration, but I either keep it to myself or speak to a trusted colleague. I don't want to demean my students, even if they cannot hear what I am saying. If I am thinking it and saying it out loud, then I fear that I may in turn act in a different way to that student. I like to have my class encourage each other and tell them that they are doing a great job or sharing their answers, so we have discussions to encourage this interaction. One thing I want to implement are more positive messages to their peers (writing a post-it note about good things).

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  22. I walk through our building giving high fives and fist bumps to all the students at my school. I know most of the kids at the school and often times they run down the hall saying my name looking for that high five. Many students come to my room between classes to get attention. I take pride in caring for our kids. I want them to have a positive experience at our school and I believe I have an important role in making that happen. I stand outside my door in the morning and between each class period welcoming students with an intentional smile to let them know they are welcome. I often tell them I'm glad you are here. I agree with the book in the kids knowing if you want to be there and if you care about them. Kids need a cheerleader even if they are not in your class. All of our kids are important and the reason we are there.

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    1. I think that our teacher coaches have a great opportunity to cheer on and connect! You can motivate on the field and in the classroom. I like how you said "welcoming students with an intentional smile." It really is important to be intentional in our encouragement and cheering on.

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  23. We need to be positive, as our attitude will rub off. I really dislike teaching one particular unit, but I smile and try to find new ways to teach it. It's hard some days, so mixing things up helps.
    The students will be more positive with positive reinforcement. Being "in the trenches" daily, it can wear on a teacher....but if we recognize their positive behavior and positive contributions, it not only cheers them on, but it keeps us on a positive note. The students recognize when a teacher is "done" and not loving what they do. The kids start to feel the same.
    Every kid learns at different paces, and even the smallest gain from a struggling student deserves encouragement. It's about creating a safe learning environment that they feel comfortable in to make mistakes and learn from those.

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  24. I feel the biggest way we can expect positive behavior from our students is to model by examples ourselves. One way this has really been a huge factor in my classroom has been through previous technological issues within our building. For a time span of a few weeks last school year, we had inconsistent gradebooks and WIFI connection. It was both frustrating and a huge challenge to remain positive. Everyday, I told myself that I could teach without that technology, and I wouldn't let it disrupt my day to make a difference. My students seemed to really follow my lead on that, and didn't seem bothered by the technological issues, at least in my room. In that situation, it would have been simple to roll my eyes or even make a snide remark. Instead I found myself making jokes like, "Who needs internet anyway?" and my class went about business as usual.

    Being a cheerleader for my students is my favorite part of being a teacher. Attending their events, noticing the small things, and being happy for their achievements, big and small, are the highlights of my day.

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    1. I also try to recognize administrator and staff positives and compliment them accordingly. They need our support just as much as teachers and students. I am guessing their days can sometimes become very stressful and tedious when "discipline issues" or "classroomcafeteria messes"arise. A smile or hello to them is often rewarding 10 fold. I often find myself sharing a fun anecdote of the day or a student success story throughout the week. Sometimes just acknowledging the behind the scenes work and teacher support is all that is needed. The school is a family who cares about all its members.

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  25. One of the biggest ways we can be cheerleaders for our students is by showing them we notice when they do something outstanding. Whether that be acing a test, making the track team, reaching a goal, or comforting someone in need. Sometimes just telling them we noticed and congratulating them will do it. Someone mentioned in another post in previous weeks about writing notes to students. I really want to start doing that for kids I see a positive change in, or to let them know I noticed something positive they did. At the high school level, all of my kids have laptops, so it would be so easy to just email them a quick note such as, “Thank you for reading all of your assignments this week! You rock!” We expect students to just know how we feel, but the truth is, many of them don’t. Another way we can be a cheerleader is by showing up to support students at their after school extracurricular activities. Cheer in the stands at the big game, go to the speech team meet, etc. Kids notice when you are there. Showing that you care about their interests outside of your classroom is a big way to show support. They will ultimately feel a better connection with you, and in my opinion, kids that feel a supportive connection with a teacher, will do better academically for that teacher; they will try harder for them.

    I try to maintain a positive message by not being a “Debby Downer” and constantly complaining about issues I face. I will ask for help from my fellow teachers, but not in a complaining way. I’m sure we all have known a teacher who is known for being a “Negative Nancy.” They are exhausting to be around! I also try to be a problem solver. A lot of times we get stuck in a cycle of complaining about things, but not thinking about how to solve the issue. Students who are greeted by a teacher with smile, in my opinion, will be in a better mood during that class period. If they are greeted by a grumpy teacher, that negativity will spread.

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  26. I went into this year really focusing on this cheerleading aspect. I do want to provide my kids with a positive learning environment every day. I have found somedays this is easier said than done, but I feel this year so far has been one of my best yet. I am trying to encourage and never let some of true feelings show when I am starting to get frustrated. I am a big believer of surrounding myself with positive people and I do my best to stay away from the negative lunchtime conversation. It is easy to get sucked in, but I never feel any better after.

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  27. I encourage my students to challenge themselves and not to be afraid to try new things. If they succeed, I give them high fives or tell them I am proud of their achievement. If they don't succeed, I give them encouragement for trying. In teaching physical education, I try to provide the kids with a safe, caring environment in which they can feel comfortable participating whether they are good at what we are doing or not. Another thing I like to do is when I have small jobs that need to be done, I will have a few of the kids come down from their study hall and help me with them. It helps me and they love doing it. It makes them feel important and they feel good about helping out.
    I try to be positive every day, it helps set the tone for the class and the students need and deserve that from me. Yes, it is easier some days than others but there is always something to be positive about, we just need to remember to look for it. Greeting students as they enter the room, offering them a smile, or a high five are simple ways to show our kiddos we care about them and what they are doing.

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  28. I feel like I am a cheerleader for my students simply because they know how much I care about them. They know that we have a mutual respect for one another. I am constantly asking their opinions and engaging them in their own learning processes. I share with when I am struggling as well so that they see that I am only human too. This allows me to connect with students on a different level instead of them looking at me like some sort of teaching robot that has mapped out all daily plans ahead of time and does not really care what they feel is important or interesting. I am also a cheerleader for them as I am constantly setting goals for and with them that are realistic and motivational. When they reach the goal they are given some sort of positive reinforcement and of course praised for their achievement. For example, in my weight lifting class we have lifting goals that are sensible for each person. In gym class we often have tournaments in which the winning team will receive extra credit or candy of some kind “badminton”. I maintain a positive attitude honestly by keeping coffee on hand and keeping my energy up. I know that if I am not positive it drags the whole class down so I try not to over think lessons and do some things on the fly. This way the students stay much more engaged and it seems to be a better learning environment. The moment that I try to map everything out, nothing seems to go like I planned it in my head where as if I go in with a more general idea of what I would like to accomplish and I allow things to flow, the class responds in a more positive way as well. Although I know the reality is that not every lesson can be perfectly positive and I want students to have feelings about what they are learning rather than be blandly learning from a book and worksheet. I want them to share their experiences and feelings towards the subjects we discuss. This seems especially true in health class when we have free writing and students have shared some very personal things that I, and the counselor have been able to help them work through.

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  29. I try to find something positive to say to every student daily. Whether it be a good job on an assignment, encouraging volunteers to read aloud and praising their effort, a comment about what they are wearing or a new haircut. Every student needs to hear something positive everyday. I praise effort and accomplishment of whole class and individually. I do joke around a lot with students, some students are fine with it and others tend to be more serious. Giving high fives and fist bumps are some ways that students say hi going down the hall…sometimes I will play around with them…miss their hands and I say.. oh, too slow. This gets a chuckle out of them and next time they try again. Just an ongoing game with some!
    I try to stay away from negativity. I generally do not go into the teacher’s lounge during lunch. For many years, there were several teachers that only would talk negatively about students during this time. I do believe that this has improved over the last few years, but I usually work during the lunch time.
    I try to start each day on a positive note. I have great classes this year so it is pretty easy to stay positive during the day. Talking to co-workers in the hallway in between classes is also a way to stay motivated and positive. The ladies in my hallway are very positive people. Kelli W., Tammy F, and Michelle S. are three hallway colleagues that are participating in this book club. All three are very positive people and they are all cheerleaders for their students and co-workers!


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  30. When working with students, I always welcome open dialogue. I find that students have a lot of questions about filtering but usually haven't thought of all of the decisions that go into filtering.

    In my role, I am a cheerleader for teachers. I try to celebrate the efforts of the teachers I work with. I also try not to focus on the "high flyers" too much. Sometimes I leave a handwritten note for teachers or admin in their mailbox sharing something positive or thanking them. Sometimes I leave little goodies, such as a Redbox code and popcorn to thank them for their hard work. Some of it may be cheesy, but I know that little things such as this can go a long way.

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    1. You are right. Thank you for being positive and a good listener, especially when we staff members might be going through a hard time. You've made me feel better when I felt like I was drowning in a sea of technology, and you make me feel like what I have to say matters. Thanks.

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  31. I try to be a cheerleader to all the students that I see during the day. If a student did something different to their appearance, I try to say how nice it looks. If they did well at a band competition, athletic event, or even received their license I make sure to say something because they may not be receiving it at home on a daily basis. Around the holidays I make treats for my elective classes to just let them know I appreciate all of their hard work they have been doing.
    I have great classes this year so it is easy to stay positive. If I do need to vent, I have people at the school that will listen to me and will not judge me about what I say.

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  32. I try to start every day with a positive attitude. The comment earlier in the book about leaving outside drama in the car is very true. You can choose to let things join you in the classroom or you can leave them in the car. Students make mistakes. I think it is important for students to know that adults make mistakes too. One part of becoming an adult is forgiveness and the ability to start fresh the next day. If a student knows that he screwed up the day before but has a chance to make it better, they will try harder on day 2. If they think they are sunk before they even begin the day, they will continue to display negative behaviors. Connecting with your students through non-educational activities (sports, books, etc.) also helps you create a positive climate where students will believe that you want to help them.

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    1. The ability to start fresh is very much upon the shoulders of the teacher as I have noticed that students generally return to school after a bad day in a much better frame of mind the next day. In fact, I have been surprised at how many times a student has left the tracks one day to come back the next day and act as if nothing ever happened. When I continue the next day as though I don't remember what happened, it amazes me how willingly students go forward in a cheerful manner. There have been a few exceptions to this over the years; however, in those cases there was a lot more going on than whatever skipped the tracks in my class or within my ability to make it right.

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  33. Since I am not a classroom teacher, it is hard for me to be a cheerleader on a daily basis. However, I do administer a lot of tests including Dual-Credit Accuplacer frequently. I try to always encourage the students before they start by telling them to believe in themselves because I believe in them. I also make it a big deal when they pass!

    In my Book Club, I always recognize the students during club time when they finish a book and at the end of each nine weeks we have prizes not only for the top readers but for anyone who read a book during the grading period.

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    1. The environment you create when you administer tests is extremely important. As you would know, the importance of test scores has increased anxiety in students at a young age. Some push for passing tests is quite necessary as most students eventually want to pass their driver's exam, fair well on college entrance exams, and/or certifications that are necessary for a job. Your encouragement can be a start to some good results.

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  34. I encourage my students in a variety of ways. I try to praise work well done. I like to squat and have private conversations with students sometimes. I have a crier this year (in 6th grade) who needs lots of additional encouragement. I try to make some sort of comment to him daily . . . whether it is in the classroom or in the hallway between classes.

    I also like to make students experts at times. We are in the throes of 1:1 this year and I am not afraid to try new things, but I don't always know how it will look or work. I like to ask my students to help me out. I also like to turn to them for ideas or to see if something is going the way I want it to. It seems like when they know something I don't, they shine a little bit more. :)

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    1. I think when students get to share or teach something to others, that's how they learn best. You are right that it makes them feel pretty special that they are able to help out their teacher and have their ideas heard.

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  35. I think that maintaining a positive attitude is so important, and playing the part of the upbeat cheerleader that never gives up has become a habit. It’s in my nature to use movie quotes like, “Never give up! Never surrender!” and silly phrases like “You dazzle me with your Spanishness.” (High school Spanish teacher here.) I get a laugh, or maybe some rolled eyes, but the message comes through. Probably this is why I am so tired at the end of the day, but I think that if I don’t show enthusiasm for learning, and if I’m not excited about my subject, how can I expect my students to be? I do whatever I can think of to show how much I love what I do and that my students are important to me. Sometimes I say, “I love you guys!” and “I love my job.” They know I do.


    I praise students for their hard work, I am very open telling them when I think they are doing something good or improving, and I try to be specific so they know exactly what it is that I’m praising. I love it when I catch someone doing something good and I mention it. And it’s someone who doesn’t often get praise, their reaction is surprise. Pleasant surprise. Love it!


    Also, I try not to let anyone pop my bubble, but if someone does, the show must go on. Just because someone gave me a hard time doesn’t mean I have to spread it around. On with the show! And that cheers me up too. Besides, every day is a clean slate with new possibilities. I don’t carry grudges.

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  36. I'm sure most of you hear this phrase often, " I can't". I can't put my coat on by myself, I can't count to 20, I can't read, I can't skip. I tell my preschool students every time I hear that phrase, "You can't yet". I tell them if they keep practicing and working hard that they will be able to do that skill but that word "can't" hurts my ears. When I ask the students why we are learning our letters and sounds, they know how to respond, "so that we can learn how to read and write". I try my best to teach the student to be more independent so that they can build confidence in themselves. Once a child has mastered a skill, I really celebrate with them, telling them how proud I am and I knew they could do it.
    I try my best to stay positive because I know that most of the students in my class do not always get that at home. I want school to be a place where they can enjoy and get that positive attention. Sometimes the teachers lounge is the hardest time of my day because I hear a lot of negativitity from others. I get that everyone needs to vent and I'm guilty of it myself but when it gets to be a daily thing, it brings the mood down. I try and talk about something funny one of my students did or something positive going on in my life.
    I always start off saying something positive and listing the students strengths during parent teacher conferences. Once I've done this, then I will talk about areas for improvement. I've found that it's easier for parents to hear the areas where they might be struggling, once they've heard the many positives I have noticed with their child.

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  37. I try to be a cheerleader for all the students who visit me in the library. Every morning, there is a group of kids who hang out before the school day starts and I send them on their way with a “HAVE A GREAT DAY” and big smile. This sets the idea for everyone that this day WILL be great!!

    All students are encouraged to join my library “Rosie” reading program. Those students who participate receive little prizes and incentives for every book they read. We celebrate every time they turn in a new “Rosie” book and everyone knows about our big year-end reading celebration. The “Rosie” program has grown over the years and up to 25% of the student body participates in the program. The students, staff and I love to celebrate reading successes throughout the year.

    As far as how I deal with doubt and negativity, I’m going to recycle a post I made in a previous book group: Several years ago, I adopted a philosophy that has helped me decide when to speak up and when to just sit back and listen to the voices that surround me. I always ask myself…”is this something that you can do something about?” My philosophy goes something like this…”life is too short to worry about things that you can’t do anything about”. If I can make a difference, I will speak up and fight the fight, but if I don’t have a chance of making a difference, I will step back and let others make decisions. This philosophy has served me well…and I will keep following it throughout my career.

    When I begin to doubt if I am making an impact and if I should be doing something differently or when I find myself surrounded by negative energy, I ask the question “can I do anything about this” and if the answer is “NO”, then I let it go. If the answer is “YES”, I do everything I can to make the changes needed to leave the doubt and negativity behind. Sometimes it is hard to let go...but this philosophy has saved my sanity many times over.

    Everyone can fall into the “negativity” hole. Where we find ourselves complaining and whining about life and work. One of the worst “negativity zones” at my school is our teacher’s lounge. Some years, all I hear in the lounge is how “bad” something is or how “awful” a student is… In those years, I avoided the lounge at all costs. I learned a long time ago that I can’t change these attitudes, but I can avoid them. That said...one of the most “positive zones” at my school can be that same lounge. With the right mix of people and attitudes, the lounge lunch period can be a sanity saving, joyful time. The trick is to surround yourself with a group of like minded people who are positive, happy and refuse to the “negativity” monster rule their lives.

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  38. I try to be cheerleader for my middle school students in a variety of ways. When we grade assignments in class students use my special purple grading pens and they count how many they got correct. If they miss a problem it's a +0 not minus 1. They count up how many they got correct. When I can, I try to make positive comments on their assignments or journal writings. Students also love it if I ask to keep their work for a future example or display it in the hallway. I always try to encourage and be positive to students during class discussions. Since I teach health, when a student gives a good answer sometimes I'll call them "Doctor." they really love that. If they give an answer that is a bit off the mark I'll try to help curb embarrassment by saying it's good thought/idea and when I call on someone else I ask if they can add to the previous answer.

    As for negativity, we all have bad days. However, I will try to distant myself if possible from someone who is constantly negative. I have a few teachers that I'm close enough to that I can vent if needed. My husband will also get an earful at times as well. Just having an empathetic listener can go a long way! I also use that drive time to and from school to work through some of those negative emotions. I find that having supportive people both in and out of school is very helpful in maintaining a positive attitude.

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  39. I believe that the best way to be a cheerleader for our students is to create a positive and inviting learning space that they look forward to coming to. Too many students don't have any sort of home support, and we have to be mindful that we may be the only positive role model in their life. Teaching is such an awesome responsibility, sometimes overwhelmingly so. It's so important to help the kids understand how important education is, and we can do that in so many ways. When the kids see that we value education and can have fun learning, they will follow. I always try to compliment good behavior and compliment effort for tasks.
    Everyone has different abilities, so we must look at each student individually to make them feel special.

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  40. I believe that it is important to do everything we can to help support our students. I find that small things go along way with most students. High school students want to act like they don't need teachers giving them praise, but when I did "Smarties for Smarties" which was simply a pack of Smarties for a 90% or higher test score, these same high school students became ultra competitive about their test scores. Going to a student that has been trying hard to raise their grade and acknowledging the work pushes them to continue working hard. Giving students five minutes at the end of the day to vent their frustrations lets them know that you care about more than just the letter grades, but about them as people. I believe you have to remind students that you are there for them as both a teacher and a trusted adult.

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  41. Supporting our kids inside and outside the classroom is so important. Supporting our kids outside the classroom, I believe, leads to better motivation inside the classroom and the ability to build connections with kids. I do love attending kids extra curricular activities (sports, drama, music etc...) When I was student teaching and my first year teaching I would cut the photos from the news paper out and put them on a STAR STUDENT board. I really need to bring this idea back. I just didn't think kids noticed so I stopped doing it. Its important to cheer students on academically too, even when it wasn't A+ work. I use stickers and stamps and wild colors to grade in. I hated getting papers back that looked like a teacher bled all over it. I try not to grade in red for that reason. Red in our society means STOP....I don't want their mistakes to be a red flag to stop.
    Part of my classroom rules are to "have a positive attitude and willingness to learn". I have many signs in my room about attitude and how important it is. For example: "attitudes are contagious, is yours worth catching"? I think if a student has an open mind, and the teacher has an open mind so much more can be accomplished. We all have that one person on staff that is always negative and it brings down the atmosphere. I try really hard not to be that person in meetings and I try really hard not to be that person in the classroom. I try to find the positive in everything-even when its hard to do. I have a faculty member that sends out a "Motivational Monday" and I really look forward to reading it every week. It really gets my mind in the right place after a long weekend!

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  42. I try to be as positive as possible around my students because you just never know where they're coming from. I try to step inside their world for a minute and think about all that they have going on. It's easy to say, as an adult, "I'm busy, I work, I have kids, I pay bills, I do laundry and dishes and everything else", but sometimes we have to think about what our students are doing, too! They work, they pay bills, they cook and clean, and sometimes they're helping to raise siblings, too. Just understanding that they aren't always "just kids" and greeting them with a smile, a hello, and a "have a great day" can make all the difference.

    I also try to be a cheerleader in the classroom by encouraging them on their work. Not letting them say "I can't" or "it's too hard" or "it's good enough". Encouraging them to give it their all and then push to give it just a little bit more! Sometimes, we may be the only person in their day that actually did PUSH them to try harder and give a little more. While they may see it as us nagging them, in the end, hopefully they'll see it as us cheering them on and seeing the potential that they have!

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  43. I am a cheerleader for my students by getting to know them. Not just who they are but WHO they are. Sometimes I find out more than I really want to know, but to know how to help a student you need to know the whole student. I supervise lunch duty everyday so I can be in the cafeteria with the students. High fives, hugs, handshakes...all that goes a long way towards letting students know you care about them for more than the grades they earn in class. I like to think that by the time our students graduate, I not only know who they are, but I know quite a bit about them as well.

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  44. I have a health class of 30 7th grade boys. Even if directions and a bell ringer are on my front screen, it is not likely that a good chunck of them are not on task. When I walk in the room, I always try to start by recognizing my students who are doing right, instead of doing wrong. For example, "For those of you working on your journal without me having to tell you...Thank you, that does not go unnoticed!".
    Also, I make sure to I try to motivate and encourage my students by building relationships with students that seem quiet or more distant. This can be a challenge, but the reward is so great when I get a "Hi, Mrs. Bushee" or a smile from a student that never would have made eye contact with me if I would have not put effort into that relationship.

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  45. I walk around the room and praise the students for doing the right thing. Their names also goes into a LEAD bowl and they get an award every 9 weeks. It is important to let the student know that you care because they will work harder for you if they know you want them to be successful.

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  46. One of my favorite way to cheer lead my students is by posting on our "Wisdom Window". All students who achieve a specific grade (normally A or B) on a quiz or exam are allowed to post a special award on the Wisdom Window. We change out the themes each nine weeks, and the students really strive to get the opportunity to post their name on the window. This gives me the opportunity to recognize the students who are working hard and doing well in the class. It also gives other students a goal to strive for.

    I also strive to keep a positive attitude and environment within my classroom. I focus on the topics that students are excelling at and use the topics they struggle on as learning opportunities. I want students to know that they can be successful if the work to achieve it. I think staying positive and working as a team within the classroom can help them reach their goals.

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  47. One of my favorite way to cheer lead my students is by posting on our "Wisdom Window". All students who achieve a specific grade (normally A or B) on a quiz or exam are allowed to post a special award on the Wisdom Window. We change out the themes each nine weeks, and the students really strive to get the opportunity to post their name on the window. This gives me the opportunity to recognize the students who are working hard and doing well in the class. It also gives other students a goal to strive for.

    I also strive to keep a positive attitude and environment within my classroom. I focus on the topics that students are excelling at and use the topics they struggle on as learning opportunities. I want students to know that they can be successful if the work to achieve it. I think staying positive and working as a team within the classroom can help them reach their goals.

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  48. One way I am a cheerleader for my students is to spend time making sure I am always prepared to teach. If I put effort, thought, time, and planning in what I am teaching, I believe my students see it and know that I am invested in their learning. I think that when they see me as a "good" teacher, they feel confident being in my classroom and know that I truly care. Being prepared also allows me the time to make sure my students are learning and recognize their successes.

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  49. I consistently find the good in things. I am naturally a very positive person, and try to be even more so in my classroom. I find myself telling students how creative they are or what great ideas they have. Many teachers I know like to focus on the negative. . . I am not one of those. I distance myself from any negativity that might be in the school building and refuse to listen when other teachers begin talking about how "bad" kids are.

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