Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Morning meetings making a BIG difference

Morning meetings take time, I will be the first to say it! Teachers have so much on their plate, and the work continues to trickle down from administration to grade chairs to the classroom. When I first learned about morning meetings, I have to admit, I wasn't sold. Teachers spending 15 minutes each morning with their students not doing true "academics"? I don't think so...

BUT then I sat in on a morning meeting and saw the difference it makes. Each morning the students gather in a circle on the floor and begin their day. While each classroom is a little different, they all share the same 4 components:

  1. Greeting Students and teachers greet one other by name and practice offering hospitality. They may use an object to pass around as they speak. Some teachers use funny accents, high fives, fist pumps, etc. 
  2. Sharing Students share information about important events in their lives. Listeners often offer empathetic comments or ask clarifying questions. They may also ask a question and have the whole class answer:  How do YOU show the character virtue of the month at recess?
  3. Group Activity Everyone participates in a brief, lively activity that fosters group cohesion and helps students practice social and academic skills: dancing, singing, or playing a game that reinforces social skills. 
  4. Morning Message Students read and interact with a short message written by their teacher. The message is crafted to help students focus on the work they'll do in school that day. They might go over the schedule or say what special class they have today. 

What was most shocking to me was how engaged the students were and how much they look forward to this every morning. It is the highlight of everyones day because it gives the students an opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings. 

Even if your entire school does not do morning meetings I encourage you to share it with a few teachers and start seeing the results! 

Learning social skills every day, 
Your Floridian chick!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Character Education: Ideas to make your program grow!

One of the bulletin boards in our school
The foundation and tag line for our school is "Nurturing minds. Building character." While some organizations/companies have a tag line, but rarely enforce it--this school is the real deal! I feel like it's a building FULL of school counselors!
Each month we have a virtue of the month the entire staff and students work on. In each classroom, a bulletin board and other signs hang all around the room that focus on our character education program. Each morning, they speak about the character trait of the month, and its importance during morning meeting (another post about that in the weeks to come!). An assembly is held every month for the entire school, and one grade is responsible for running it. 
FULL House at character ed assembly!

This month was our early learning team-ages 3-4 year olds, they made a movie clip of how they demonstrate the trait in their classroom (SO cute, I couldn't stand it!). 

The student council starts the program and does the pledge of allegiance, followed by singing a birthday song to all the children who celebrated a birthday during that month. This is a great way to make people feel special!

It is an opportunity to get the whole school together, and I have a strong feeling it will be my favorite day of the month! 

What does your school do for character education? Would love to incorporate more and more of your great ideas!

Building character every day,

Your Floridian Chick

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Public Speaking Tips!

Back to school night can be a knee shaking, teeth chattering, scary night for some teachers. Administration asked me to share a few tips and tricks on public speaking and ways to help teachers make the most out of their Back to School Night!

I did a Prezi on Public Speaking that you are more than welcome to check out! The tips/tricks are as follows:

The real deal: Statistics: 74% of people are scared of public speaking, it is the greatest fear that people have, even more than death!

Before the hellos: 
  • Play Music to ease the otherwise stale environment.
  • Stand by the door and greet people before they approach you.
  • Use name tags! Everyone feels more welcome when you call them by name.
  • Proximity Control with your audience
  1. Involve your audience (using technology or a game).
  2. Use your strengths, play to them, and move away from your areas that need improving. 
  3. Command control & power of the room. This can happen through a variety of ways- what we wear, our tone, our body language. 
  4. Keep it simple
  5. Take-aways are important, for some reason, people like leaving with a tangible object. 
  1. Use too much text
  2. No agenda
  3. too much detail. Parents are there for the overview, not every detail. 
Please feel free to use this Prezi with your staff as they prepare for their back to school night! 

Publicly speaking away,

Your Floridian Chicka!