Happy New Year everyone! Here’s to the hopefulness that 2017 brings. For me, the New year starts in August (the beginning of the school year) a time for new ideas, new organization strategies and new students! I consider the Holiday break my “Second New Year”. During the second half of the school year, I take time to think of a new project/theme/motivator for the students and re-decorate my room. This year, I love my room and decided to use a the good old “Dollar challenge” for motivation courtesy of Jenna Rayburn on Teachers Pay Teachers (the worst site ever created for my wallet).
Here is a sneak peek at my room this year! (Ps. That’s brick bulletin board paper! Thank you Lakeshore!)
Before we get to some of the great new things to try, let’s take a look back at 2016. The student’s are still trying to figure out how we can keep the Christmas tree out all year and what the New Year’s theme should be for the 5th grade hallway. I feel so incredibly lucky to work at a school that not only allows me to be creative, but encourages it!
Above: Happy Holidays from the 5th grade hallway! –“The four-hour-Holiday-Tree”–“Origami tree gone’ right”–Our new amazing learning lab our principal let me paint–and my ugly homemade sweater/sweat-pant combo. (I am still healing from 2nd degree hot glue gun burns).
Now as for 2017, I plan to make improvements in self-esteem and success in my students. I want them to believe in themselves! That’s the first step of course: Believing you can accomplish anything! This requires not only my students and I, but teacher and parent collaboration. I’ve just gathered some new and exciting materials to share and help promote carryover that I’m getting ready to share with my colleagues.
Here’s a great one for the iPad users out there! :https://omazingkidsllc.com/2016/12/31/the-ipad-the-slp-in-2017-app-list-for-slps-sorted-by-goal-area/
So often I find that students will give up if they don’t feel successful. Also, they don’t have strategies for when things seem difficult. That’s my goal this year: to give them better strategies for getting “stuck”. I decided to make every student write down something they are very good at and something they consider a weakness.
One of my students wrote:
“Strength- Playing basketball/ Weakness: Math”
When I asked him why he was so good at basketball he responded by telling me he wasn’t good at first and that it required an intense amount of blacktop time before he could shoot as well as he does now. Understood.
Then I asked him why “he thought” he was bad at math. He responded with something I didn’t expect. He told me that the instant gratification wasn’t there. He could shoot a basketball and see right away if it went in or not. Math required time and energy and the pay off wasn’t immediate. Well, well. Talk about honesty! In a time of iPads, tablets, phones and all sort of electronics, instant gratification is required. No, it is expected. So how can we get our students to realize that it’s about the journey and not the end point? That the idea of failure is to try again?
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. ”
“You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.”
That’s my goal this year: to make the journey worth it. To make “trying again” a new fad. Are you with me?!
Happy New year!
Samantha Kessler, M.S., CCC-SLP