Book Study Part 4: Communication

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Welcome back! I don't know about you. but for me it's the first day of SPRING BREAK!!! I'd like to say I have great plans for rest, relaxation, and a new adventure, but no. Not really. We're taking a few day trips, but nothing spectacular.

Anyway, I've been reading You Can't Teach a Class You Can't Manage by Donna Whyte and I've been posting a book study on each part I've read. If you haven't read the first three parts, you can check them out herehere, and here

Today's post is about Cornerstone #3: Communication. Let's first go over the basics:

Lots of great points, but my favorite is teach them when they can talk. It does feel like they never get a chance some days. They have to sit quietly in the hallway as soon as they come in, they are quiet during announcements, during instructions, during transitions, during daily 5...when can they talk? If you're not sure, then they for sure aren't sure. Children need to hear when it is okay to talk, not just always no.

Label the child, not the behavior. He is lying, not he's a liar. She is telling others what to do, not she's bossy. He hit someone, not he's a bully. By labeling the child, he/she will live up to that label. It's who the child will think he is.

Turn negatives into positives: If he is just a barrel full of energy, put him to good use! Have him run errands (well, not RUN), help clean up, lead the dance party during the wiggle break, etc. If he loves to be Mr. Funny Man, have him be the class mood booster by telling (appropriate) jokes when the class needs a pick-me-up, or have him channel that energy by writing and illustrating comics for the class library. If she always wants to help, let her! Find ways she can be in charge by taking care of the class plant/pet, monitoring supply cleanliness, etc. 

And manners must be taught. That was a HUGE eye opener for me my first year. My personal children would get compliments from strangers when we were at restaurants because they always used their manners and sat nicely in their seats. As a young mom and teacher, and being born and raised in the south, I expected others to do the same. Boy was I wrong. Practicing manners is now a daily routine in our class. Rudeness is a pet peeve of mine. I work hard to show my class how to be polite.

This goes back to "Talk with them, not at them." When someone talks AT you, you tend to tune them out, and you don't learn much from them. When you talk WITH your students they are taking an active role in their learning. 

Children need to be taught the words needed to express themselves. They need to know that it's okay to say what they think and feel as long as it's done respectfully.

This relates to the turn negatives into positives above. Whyte writes about how have tons of energy as an adult is viewed as a strength, but as a child in a classroom, it's viewed as a weakness. It doesn't have to be...

This is perhaps one of the hardest things to teach. Just because you say you're sorry, doesn't mean you're off the hook. And the other child doesn't have to say, "It's okay." Sometimes it's not okay. Sometimes the other child can and should make it up to the hurt child. My son seems to think he can say, "Sorry" and go on about his business. We've been working long and hard to get him to see that his actions tell us whether or not he is really sorry. If he says it, but continues to do whatever it is he says he's sorry for, then he's not really sorry. Actions speak louder than words, no matter what age you are. 

I hope you found something in here that you can use in your classroom or with your own kids. Next time, I'll be posting about Cornerstone #4: Community. Look for it on Monday. Until then, I hope you have a great week!


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