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Rapport With Your Students

There is a chapter in Dave Burgess’s book, Teach Like A Pirate, that is all about rapport and building a relationship with students.  I am a firm believer that the most important thing I do as a teacher is build a classroom environment where my students feel safe and are willing to take risks and be silly!
Treat your students like humans and not people you’re in charge of.  Talk to them.  LISTEN to them.  Get to know them.  What do they like?  What are their hobbies?  Learn about their families.  Share with them.  I think this is so crucial aspect of building rapport.  My students need to see me as a human.  As a real person and not just the mythical, legendary TEACHER!  I share a lot with my monsters!  I always shared with them what I did on the weekend, I let them know if I am having a good day or if something upsets me or makes me happy.  They knew my favorite foods, my favorite color, and they even know of my love of Sonic.  And I even tell them when the principal calls me to the office and I get into trouble.  The point is that we must see our students as little humans and we must let them see us as a big human.  Once you know their interests, hobbies and what excites them, you can more effectively engage them!
I love the quote from Dave Burgess because in my classroom, we do silly very very well!  Have you seen our silly hats?!  Seriously, once Mr. Greg puts on his silly hat, we all want to wear our silly hats.  Dancing?  I can’t dance.  But we dance a lot.  One of the most talked about events of our school year was the visit of Debbie Clement.  At one point during Debbie’s amazing presentation, Mr. Greg danced.  People, do you know that my kids talked about that moment everyday for the rest of the year.  They begged for me to dance.  Why was that moment so powerful?  They saw me be completely goofy and silly.  AND THEY LOVED IT!  And guess what?  They felt more comfortable dancing.
So, with that said, how do we build rapport and create a classroom where silly reigns supreme?
One of the first things I do in class at the beginning of the year is friendship salad!  This activity is a fun and very powerful illustration of what we want our classroom to be like!
The salad illustrates how awesome our class is and then a rotten banana shows up and we talk about what rotten bananas will do to our salad/classroom.   Trust me.  Throughout the year your students will respond to bad behavior with “No rotten bananas!”
A Fun Country Music Themed Math & Literacy Center Creation
 YEE HAW!  It’s a country music set of math and literacy centers designed for back to school!  Hello Nashville, this one’s for you!
And here is a freebie, of course!
Treasure Hunter Calendar Cards!

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