#RelationshipsMatter by Marilyn McAlister
It’s an honor to be here today. Thank you so much for the opportunity to share a topic that I’m passionate about. The Better Together Teacher’s Summit is a great place to learn, share, and grow.
This year’s theme, It’s Personal, is near and dear to my heart. You see, both of my parents were educators and administrators. I learned valuable lessons from both of them about the importance of relationships. Back in the day, when my dad was an elementary principal, he would drive students down to our local Circle K to pick up a soda. Boy, I bet those teachers were mad at him. They sent a student to the principal and what did the student get, a soda!! My dad was onto something. He knew the importance of relationships. Join me this morning as I share #RelationshipsMatter.
As we start to think about the new school year, we put up bulletin boards, review our pacing guides, and set up our new lesson plan templates. I’d like you to consider this quote by James Comer as we prepare for the new year, “No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.” Take a moment. Let that sink in. “No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.”
But that’s not really the story. The story is that from that year on Albert has come by my classroom during Open House every single year. He opens the door, I’m giving my presentation, and every single year I walk over and give him a big hug. Right in the middle of Open House. Everything and everyone pauses for that moment. You see, Albert and I have a relationship. It was nurtured 10 years ago.
I’d like you think about your Albert. Each one of us has one. Picture that student in your head and close to your heart.
This morning I’d like to share 3 ways we can connect with our learners. Get to know your students, offer voice, and provide choice because #RelationshipsMatter.
Last year, I started the year by asking my students six questions. These questions allowed me to get to know my students, but also allowed my students to get to know themselves.
- I found out that I had a lot of gamers. One even wants to be a gaming YouTube star. This inspired me to ramp up my use of game based learning.
- I found out that I had students that love sports. From gymnastics, travel softball, to BMX racing. This helped me weave these activities into my math lessons.
- I found out that many students felt confident in language arts, but revealed signs of math anxiety. This encouraged me to approach our math lessons with a bit more empathy.
- I found out that some students preferred to work alone. This assisted me in supporting those students during collaborative work time.
When we offer students a voice in their learning, relationships are built not only with the teacher, but also their classmates. Many of you probably already know about Flipgrid. But did you know that it’s now free? The power of Flipgrid is that students are able to record their thinking, reflect on their learning, and respond to each other from the Flipgrid dashboard. Let me tell you, this would have been a perfect tool for Albert. I’ve found that my shyest, quietest students are the ones that enjoy Flipgrid the most. I just smile when students post video reflections from their bedrooms and even funnier from their bathroom. Hey, it’s a quiet spot. Giving students a voice in their learning is effortless with Flipgrid and connects students to each other and their classmates. Give it a try, because #RelationshipsMatter.
- April is a very talented artist. She researched the psychological effect of art.
- Danica had a champion pig at the fair. She researched bonds between animals and humans.
- And Rhiannon’s passion helped teach others of the importance of beach clean-up.
Our Passion Board is our 6th grade version of Show and Tell. Yep, Show and Tell. We’re bringing it back! Providing choice allows learners to have agency over their learning. By honoring the interests of each individual student, they feel valued and respected, which nurtures the relationships in the classroom. Give it a try, because #RelationshipsMatter.
As we embark on a new school year, think about your Albert. We all have one. Who’s your Albert?
Make a commitment to get to know each learner in your classroom, offer voice, and provide choice. May you have the best school year ever! Give it a try, because #RelationshipsMatter.
I’ve gathered some resources for you to continue your learning with the topics I’ve shared. Feel free to snap a picture and log into the link on the bottom right. I’d love to continue the journey with you. Because . . . #RelationshipsMatter.
#MuchLove . . . Marilyn