Monday 9 September 2019

Keeping the Conversation Going

There has been lots of buzz on Twitter around Name Tents (Feedback Forms) and rightfully so. I love using them and wrote about the tweaks I made to Sara Van Der Werf's template last year here. This included adding a picture of each student and finding out about their siblings. I have since started asking for pronouns, though I tell the class that this is optional as I do not want anyone to feel uncomfortable with what they share. I learn a lot about my students and they get to know me a little along the way.

At this time a year ago I felt really strongly that I wanted to keep these conversations going throughout the semester. I needed to work harder at fostering a positive relationship with all of my students so I created "Just Checking In..." sheets. I gave my first one at the end of the second week of school. Here is what it looked like:

This gave students an avenue to tell me if things weren't going well or if everything was just fine. It gave me a way to start a new conversation and to connect with all my students.

I continued checking in every few weeks. Here are some samples of questions/prompts.

If you haven't jumped on the "Two Nice Things" bandwagon yet, read more from Elissa Miller here

I never required students to complete these, but they did. And at the end of June last year I had a student write me a thank you card that included "I loved when you asked us how we are doing. No other teacher has done that and it made me feel very good." Sometimes it's the little things we do that have a large impact.