Connecting with Students:It starts from Day 1. The connection you make with each student will set the tone for the whole year. Talking with each student, learning what they like to do outside of the classroom, and knowing their strengths & weaknesses can help you as a teacher make the best learning experience for each student. Students want and need to know that you care and that you want them to be a part of your classroom family. Each student brings something unique to the classroom and it's our job as teachers to help them find their special spot in our year together.
Connecting with your Team:Over the years I have had 6 different teachers as a part of my (3-classroom) 4th grade "team" and am welcoming yet another new team member this fall. I am fortunate enough to have worked with energetic, supportive, and creative team members that have collectively helped create a positive atmosphere in which to work each day. Through many meetings we've shared ideas, worked through student struggles, analyzed mounds of data, planned great lessons, and supported each other personally as well as professionally. It has been such a comfort to know that there are such great teachers right next door, as well as in my building that are all working together to make it the best school it can be.
Connecting Beyond our 4 Walls:
After participating in my first Google+ Hangout (GHO) with instructors from other states last evening, I was so excited to dream of how I could use this technology in my classroom next fall. I guess I must be living under a rock since I didn't even know this was possible. Using GHO or Skype would be a great opportunity to connect my students with other classrooms, authors, organizations, and more. With the connections I've already made across the country and the world, I'm sure there will be some great connections we can make to allow our learning become more real, authentic, and memorable. Now, I just have to work on brainstorming some wonderful ideas. :)