2nd grade is now deep into the curriculum and the “honeymoon stage” of the first couple of weeks has worn off. Things are starting to get busy and the pressures mount to get everything done and pack learning into the day. While this stress may have good intentions behind it, it is important for teachers and parents alike to remember to slow down and take time for what is actually important, not just what we think is important. For Mrs. Morner’s class, this includes spending positive moments together as a class.
Mrs. Morner has created “Question of the Day.” It is a simple presentation filled with simple questions, but the result has been wonderful.
In addition to beginning our morning with the pledges, a devotion, and prayer, we now also open with the “Question of the Day,” which ranges from questions as common as “What is your favorite food?” and as creative as “If you were given 1,000 acres of land, what would you do with it?” None of the questions are academic (on purpose) and it has so far allowed everyone to start the day in a relaxed way that also allows knowing each other better as a class. It’s a period of five minutes where students can talk about their interests and use their imagination a bit. It opens us up on a positive note and reminds us that, while the day may get busy and our work is incredibly important, spending some time together as a class is just as important and we can still make some time for the fun stuff too!
Have you ever thought about your own organizational style in comparison to your student’s? Are you more of a list person, while your child tends to have a photographic memory (at least they think they do)? Or maybe you’re more of a go-with-the-flow type of personality, while your child is more concrete with their routines? Whatever your style may be, organizational skills play a large role in our everyday lives, so starting to develop those abilities at a young age is important.
Below you will find some helpful tips on how to foster your student’s organizational dexterities:
Routines are key – Morning routines, nighttime routines, after school routines, and the list goes on. Children thrive off of routines because it allows them to feel safe and unwavering. Even though at times they may push back and want to adjust their routine, they more than likely will resort back to what they’ve been originally taught.
Sorting/Categorizing – Something so simple, but incredibly beneficial. Sorting can include anything from their toys or clothes at home, to their school papers and supplies. Sorting gives students the chance to arrange the things they use most often and take ownership of those items. A lot of the time this skill comes in the form of completing chores or organizing their school binder or locker.
Checklists – Introduce checklists early on. Keep it basic and start with a checklist that focuses on things like their nightly routine before bed or what to pack for a family vacation. And eventually when students get older, checklists can be used to help them prioritize their time with school, sports, social outings, etc. Checklists may even start to take the shape of a planner.
Letting them clean-up after themselves – This may be easier said than done sometimes, especially if you are like my mom who liked her household in a specific order. However, something as simple as putting their clothes in a hamper, their shoes by the front door, washing their plate after dinner, or putting their toys away in their room is teaching them how to be responsible. That responsibility leads to independence and eventually the drive to complete tasks on their own without being asked.
Cook together! 🙂 Adventures in the kitchen are memories children never forget. Learning techniques like measuring ingredients, kitchen safety, making a grocery list, and healthy eating habits are essential. Organizational skills are needed in the kitchen, and what better way to teach those techniques than to have a little fun baking or meal prepping with your student 🙂
Of course, there are many more tips than just those listed above. Each household is different from the next, so find the strategies that work for you and your family. In fact, comment below about some of the organizational techniques that work for your family or even those that you have tried and didn’t work.
Last week at St. John’s was one of the highlights of each school year – Expression Explosion and V.I. P. Day. It was a week to celebrate our students’ talents and hard work throughout the year. Our 2nd graders have been working hard on their writing skills the past few months and got a chance to share them with our Expression Explosion guests and V.I.P.’s. They had persuasive letters to their parents with very convincing arguments. They created their presidential profile with campaign promises if they become president someday. Their sincere hopes and concerns for our country and its citizens is very inspiring. They’ll have my vote someday! April is poetry month so they wrote Haikus and Couplets to work on their descriptive skills. Jack described a leopard as a “slinky animal” and “hunting predator” and Slater described a viper as a “ terrifying slitherer” in their Haikus. Working with rhyming in couplets was a challenge, but Autumn wrote that “Monkeys swing to trees on bendable knees” and Emily wrote, “Listen as the donkey brays. If it’s hungry, it will graze.” It’s so fun to read all of the wonderful poetry the 2nd graders wrote!
The week ended with classrooms packed with V.I.P.’s. Our 2nd graders practiced their public speaking skills by presenting one of their writing projects to our guests, working on reading with expression. They were very polished and definitely impressed their audience. What a blessing to have so much loving support through these special V.I.P.’s, including grandparents, parents, older siblings, and family friends.
The greatest reason we all have to celebrate as a family of God is coming up – Easter. As we journey to the cross throughout Holy Week, we focus on the loving sacrifice our Lord made for all so that we can have new life in Him. We have so many blessings at St. John’s to celebrate, but that is the greatest one of all!
The Compliment Project is to help promote positive interactions between each student and to build the habit of giving and receiving compliments to and from their peers. Each student in class takes a turn being in the “hot seat.” While the hot seat student sits, facing away from the paper, their classmates take turns writing positive statements about them on the paper behind them. When they are all finished, the hot seat student stands and reads what has been written about them. That students gets to keep their compliment paper and take it home to remind them of the nice things their classmates said about them. It’s amazing what a little kindness can do and the difference it can make in anyone’s life.