I just have to get this off my chest. I have the most amazing, unique students this year in fifth grade. They are a mashed-up, crazy mix of the most unique personalities and I love them dearly. My class reminds me of the movie, “Little Miss Sunshine.” So many quirks, but we stick together and make it work through trial and error.
I love my class this year! They are an amazing set of individuals who have lived and gone through more than any of us could imagine. They are opening up to each other and supporting each other in so many ways.
It is important that each child know they are unique AND special. This class alone reminds me how important it is. How to recognize the talent in your class:
- Morning compliments: Have students meet in a circle and state a compliment to someone in their life. This helps to build a positive culture and recognize individual talents.
- Genius Hour: Let students have time to learn about and share their passions. This builds a sense of community and recognizes individual strengths.
- Time to Read-Foster the love of reading: Give students time to read books of their choice daily. Students learn so much about themselves through reading. They discover who they are as readers: what kinds of books they enjoy, recommending books to each other. Give them time to talk about books. We do class book-talks once a week to add books to our someday lists.
- Give Students a Voice: Survey your class on anything from how they feel about grades to what they would love to learn about. It is amazing what you learn about your students when you ask them intentional questions.
- Nobody is Perfect: Discuss this often. Model this often. Sometimes it is hard to be a person. Sometimes we deserve a high five for getting out of bed! Recognize struggles and celebrate diligence. Focus on learning as a journey. The process is the important part, not the product.
The inspiration for this post came from my own reflection as to where I am this year as an educator, and as a mentor, to all of my students. They each share their own unique individual needs and are the most amazing, inspiring group of students.