How I Build Relationships with My Students in Just One Hour

January 20, 2019 No Comments

How I Build Relationships with My Students in Just One Hour

January 20, 2019 No Comments
My absolute favorite part about being a teacher is the relationships that I get to build with my students.  Strong relationships are something that I pride myself on as a teacher and I am constantly working on building those relationships.  At my previous school, it was super easy to build those relationships.  I lived and worked in the same neighborhood, so volunteering after school was an activity that I did often and I was able to spend tons of quality time with my students (and coworkers) outside of the school day.  In addition, I saw my students out of the school building all the time.  I would run into them at the grocery store, parks, and restaurants and I absolutely LOVED hearing my name being yelled when I was out somewhere.

Since I moved schools and I live almost a half hour from my current school, building relationships with my students and their families have been more difficult.  In fact, it has made teaching almost unbearable, though I’ve made a strong effort to change that this year.  The first step that I took was moving from teaching third grade to fifth grade.  I knew that I would have many of the same students for a second round, so I was ecstatic to make the jump and continue building those relationships that we started in third grade.  That move was only the tip of the iceberg, however.

At the beginning of the school year, I told my students about how my husband and I enjoy playing table-top role-playing games (RPGs) like Dungeons and Dragons.  While some of them laughed at my nerdy-ness, more of them were intrigued about what roleplaying games were and how you play them.  I’m not going to lie, I indulged them every question because I absolutely LOVE talking about it!  Soon after, they started begging me to teach them how to play during our short 20-minute recess block.

If you know anything about table-top RPGs, you know it is impossible to play during a 20 minute period, so I recruited my husband we started an after-school RPG club for 4th and 5th-grade students at my school.  We spend an hour a week playing a watered down version of the Pathfinder game.  We use a simplified character sheet that I found online and spent a couple of sessions introducing races and classes, as well as building characters before we split the 24 kids into two groups to start campaigning.

One hour a week has made all the difference.  For the last 4 months, I have been spending time with my students – inside and outside of the school day – discussing and playing a game that we both love.  I get to use my creative juices as the game master (which I’d never done before!) and my students get to build their critical thinking, imagination, and teamwork skills.  It has changed the way that I interact with my students the classroom, it has changed my enthusiasm for going to work, and it’s given my husband a chance to feel connected to my work as a teacher and spend time with the students I can’t stop talking about.  It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Maybe table-top RPGs are not your jam and, maybe, you struggle to find the time to volunteer after school, but I challenge you with this:  Find something that you and your students can connect through.  Maybe it’s an afterschool art club or board game club.  Maybe you want to have a short before school coffee chat (with hot chocolate for the kiddos, of course!) or a writing club. Find something that creates a true, genuine connection and builds lasting relationships with your students, so that when they look back on their time with you, they remember how much they enjoyed being with you.

sherylwoods

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About Me

Hi! My name is Sheryl and I am so thankful you've found your way to the TeacherLadyKY blog! I'm an elementary educator from Louisville, Kentucky who is passionate about building relationships and literacy skills with my students, as well as empowering teachers around me to be leaders and rockstars. I've taught everything from kindergarten to fifth grade and I can't wait to share my experiences with you! Enjoy! Read More

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  • Anyone else read two books at once? I keep switching between the two of these. They both started out slower than I wanted, but are starting to pick up.

Brave, Not Perfect is about learning to combat your inner perfectionist and focusing on being brave instead.  It’s a powerful message that more people need to hear and take to heart, myself included.

Everything All At Once is the story of Lottie, whose very famous writer aunt recently passed away, leaving her with 24 letters that includes directions for accomplishing specific tasks. It’s starting to get really good!

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  • Ten years ago, I brought a little hound puppy home from the Kentucky Humane Society after begging my mom for YEARS for a dog. I knew Annabelle was ours the moment she bit my ear.

From there, Annabelle ruled the house. She sat co-pilot in the car. She was the absolute best snuggler. She loved wearing clothes. She could smile bigger than any dog I’ve ever met. 
She was also a mess and a half. She stole food from wherever she could get it. She was jealous - of other dogs, of Justin, of my new nieces. She plopped herself in my lap anytime she could to claim her territory, but when she was mad at me, refused to turn her face to look at me.

She was the leader of the pack, the first of four. 
Today we had to do the hardest thing I, personally, have ever had to do. Having a dog as an adult is way different than having a dog as a kid. My heart is broken into a million pieces. Mama loves you, Belly girl.
  • I took a trip to the library yesterday and gobbled this one up in a couple of hours. I picked it from the shelf on its name alone and it did not fail to disappoint. Audacious is a novel written in verse from the perspective of a girl who has a knack for pushing the boundaries in every way.

It was a beautiful reminder of the beauty - and the chaos - that comes from walking the unknown, just because you felt like it.

@gsprendergast 
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Up next on my summer reading list is #bravenotperfect by @reshmasaujani.

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It’s my first official day of summer break. I’ve already slept in, written in my #starttodayjournal and read. What else is there to do?

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I don’t know if I love this angle quite as much.

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  • I needed to read this today.
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I’m often frustrated with what I feel is a lack of progress. I feel stuck. I want to move forward faster. I know there is work to be done and it must be done soon - or every child that leaves our schools and our classrooms will be another that we’ve failed.
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We DO have work to do. But small steps create big impacts. I can do a little today and, one day, I’ll see those ripples.
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The TeacherLadyKY blog header and logo were designed by Sheryl, using fonts from A Primary Kind of Life and Brittney Murphy Design.  Clip art is courtesy of Irina Bandyk, whose Etsy shop is WatercolorCliparts.  The blog theme used is Emilia by Georgia Lou Studios.

 

 

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