Work hard so God can say to you, “Well done.”
Be a good workman, one who does not need
to be ashamed when God examines your work.
Know what his Word says and means.
2 Timothy 2:15 (TLB)
Prayer and Meditation
My students are already operating in the vacation mode, but I will not despair. I will continue to honor God and my calling by increasing my efforts to motivate my students to learn. Guide me as I search for ways to continue to inspire my students. You are my partner as I wind up my time with students.
The Actions of Prayerful Teaching
- Introduce reward cards. Give out a limited number of “reward cards” at the end of each day as positive reinforcement. How the reward cards are earned is up to you, but make it viable for everyone to be in the running as often as possible. You need not announce ahead of time what it takes to earn a card. If you notice one child being kind to another child, that could be the basis for a reward card. Maybe someone who normally has problems cooperating has cooperated. Perhaps you noted improvement in behavior. Earned reward cards can be used in numerous ways. They could entitle the students to a grab bag. Maybe the student can staple it to a minor homework assignment which he does not have to complete. Perhaps he will be entitled to become the class errand runner of the day. Maybe she is the official teaching assistant of the day--collecting and handing out papers. Telling the class a preapproved joke at the beginning or end of the day is a treat for both the joke teller and the class. The earning of “reward cards” and the privileges earned are determined by teacher wisdom. Solicit ideas (in writing) from the students for really creative, unique, and useful ideas.
- Photograph students and place their pictures on a “Wall of Honor.” This is a strategy akin to reward cards. Each day one student earns the honor of being chosen to be photographed. The picture is posted on a big star and prominently displayed in front of the classroom, outside the classroom door, or in another place where everyone can see it. Privileges determined by the teacher’s might be bestowed on the day’s star. Each day a new student is the featured star. After the day is over, the photograph will join others on a “Wall of Honor.” To keep everyone alert, students may be the featured star more than once.
- Reading marathons and sharing sessions are a good way to end the school year. With the ritual of standardized testing over and seemingly endless hours of vacation on the horizon, students should be allowed to read books of their choice just for sheer pleasure and enjoyment of it—regardless of level. Through sharing sessions, they should be encouraged to compile a list of books they want to read or have read to them over the summer.
- Provide students with as much control as possible over which type of assignments they do or what problems they answer. The teacher should definitely assign half or most of the assignment and then give students several options for the rest of the assignment. This is also a great time to experiment which ideas you have, but did not want to try out on a large scale. This is an opportunity to tweak an assignment before using it big time in the future.
- Consign pacing guides, curriculum manuals, and even textbooks to a storage closet. Come alive and break free of the “must do, must cover” mode. All teachers have pet projects ready to emerge from their dreams and bounce into their classrooms. This is the time. Your enthusiasm and passion will be contagious. Allow hands to get dirty, rooms to get noisy, and messes to cohabitate alongside order. (Perhaps a reward card could allow for a clean-up master.)
Challenge of the Week:
Think back to when you were the age of the children you teach. What is the one thing your teachers could have done to make the waiting more bearable for you?
God Bless and Prayerful Teaching,
Elizabeth A. Wink