If You Build It, THEY Will Come

I enjoy gardening and this year I decided I would really learn about each plant and what their special needs are. I created a chart for what to plant when and any special quirks that apply to each plant. I am currently making a google doc for each item I grow so I can keep track from year to year what works and what doesn't.  I want to be a better gardner and apparently the biggest dork on the planet.  I think I am close.  I tell you that to tell you this:

I was turning over the garden the other day and I was feeling anxious because I knew it was time to really start getting some things planted.  I started thinking about the things I was going to plant.  It dawned on me that plants are just like kids in your classroom.  They all have different needs, for example different plants need different times to start.  Some like it colder and some need it warmer.  Some can't grow in hot weather at all.  Some need a lot of care and attention, some need very little but still need tending to.

Our students aren't any different.  Some need constant attention.  Some just need a push here and there.  Some just like to learn and are easy.  Some are stubborn and you really need to trust you before they buy in and work in your class.

Before one to one I was a factory, every kid did the same lesson as everyone else.  It was like herding cattle, get them all and move them along at the same pace.  Now that we are 1:1 I feel like I can really give each kid more personal one on one time, more than I ever have in the past.  They even get to choose their own learning path by math journals and projects.  We call this layering your class.  It is where the kids are busy working and as the teacher this creates time for you to answer questions, ask questions, and have conversations.  I have heard the words "ohhhhh.... I get it" more this year then all my other years of teaching put together.  I can see it in their faces and hear it in their voices when it clicks. The reason for this is I am free some days to help who needs it when they need it and I don't have to worry about the other kids and getting them to the next problem.

Your classroom needs to be a learning environment where you develop personal relationships with the kids.  Whether you are one to one or not, the key to having your kids grow at their greatest potential is to talk to them one on one.  This relationship builds a trust and and gives the kids a sense you really care about them.  It is easier if you are one to one but it is not a necessity.

I have seen more kid's self confidence grow this year from giving them choice and really building a personal relationship with them.  One of my favorite lines in any movie is from the movie Field of Dreams, "If you build it, he will come".  If you create the correct environment and foster strong relationships your students will grow and bloom to their fullest potential.  If you build it, THEY will come!

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