Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Student Achievement through Strong Relationships

A Post on Student Achievement Best Practices

by Amy Bainbridge, GT Coordinator, Campus Middle School, Colorado

This teacher discusses her student achievement best practices that help her focus on each student's needs.
To help reach my student’s full potential, I make a conscious effort to get to know each of my students.

I teach creative writing to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.  I have 25-30 new students every quarter in each class.  I realized after the first quarter that it is hard to build a relationship with my students in such a short amount of time. So, I started having the students fill out a questionnaire at the beginning of each quarter.  The questionnaire has basic information (name, if they have taken this elective before, etc) and asks them to tell me something about themselves that not a lot of people know, the last good book they read, and something they do outside of school. I use this information to help me talk to the students about their lives.

I target five kids a day.  I make sure I check in with those kids, talk to them about school and life outside of school.  These interactions help me build meaningful relationships.  The students are going to reach their full potential knowing that their teacher cares about them as a learner and as a person.  The connections I have made with my students has been powerful.  I would recommend trying it out in your classroom and see if the students effort improves.  It has in my classroom.

Along with the personal information, I also ask the students what they want to learn in my class.  I provide about twelve options and ask them to add an idea if it is not listed.  I use this information to help me plan my quarter.  The options that are the most popular are the ones I teach first.  If the students didn’t say they wanted to learn about how to write dialogue, then I don’t teach it!

I make sure the students are aware that I am teaching things that they wanted to learn.  I make sure to share the responsibility of learning and teaching with the students.  I make sure I value their voices! 

Amy Bainbridge has been teaching in the Cherry Creek School District since 2001. She is a dedicated teacher and always looks for new opportunities for her students. She received her Masters in Gifted Education in May 2011. She is constantly working on improving her craft as a teacher.

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