Posted in Announcement, TpT Dear Teacher Store

Motivational ABCs – The Success Mindset


(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)
(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

Dear Teacher,

“Brain-based learning” and “brain research” are some of the current buzzwords that I am sure you hear a lot of, and possibly use yourself. I have been on the brain-based bandwagon for the last year, and I have to say that understanding the teacher-learning dichotomy and how the brain fits into it has helped me become a better teacher, and I have done a lot of research and reading to keep me on that path to better teaching.

One of the concepts that keeps coming up the more I read, research, and experience in my classroom is that of mindset. Our students need to have the mindset of success and achievement so that they can push themselves deeper and deeper into understanding what we are to teach them. This kind of mindset helps them continue on when learning becomes difficult. It helps them celebrate small successes, and this helps them push even harder for more achievement.

This mindset is something we need to instill in our students.

This is a process that takes time and intentional effort, but it is worth every second of time and ounce of effort when you start to see your students take ownership and start learning on their own. It is a beautiful thing to watch and be a part of! I think we all love watching those light bulbs turn on for our students.

One of the things that we can do to help instill this in students is to surround them with success-minded thoughts and ideas. This year, in my classroom, I put up over thirty quotes based on this. The students have really been reading them and this has helped build some of that mind-set in some of them. I wanted more than just quotes. I wanted some little things that might get lodged in their brains and help them keep the mindset growing.

That is where the Motivational ABCs come in. I made these images to print as 8.5×11 sized posters to put up around my room (I print on colored paper to help them stand out). This is just one more thing to draw my students attention in and help them continue to foster the success mindset. I realized that other teachers may be looking for something similar, so I wanted to make them available on the Teachers Pay Teachers store.

There is a poster for each letter of the alphabet and two extra motivational posters. Each poster has a color and black&white version. Each word has a “definition” in the context of a success mindset.

A-Ambition
B-Belief
C-Certainty
D-Determination
E-Effort
F-Fortitude
G-Greatness
H-Heart
I-Integrity
J-Judicious
K-Kindness
L-Learner
M-Mastery
N-Noteworthy
O-Original
P-Patience
Q-Quality
R-Resourceful
S-Success
T-Tirelessness
U-Unrelenting
V-Vigorous
W-Wide-eyed
X-X-factor
Y-Yet
Z-Zeal

You can print these up as posters, as I have, or there are a number of different ways to use them. These are the jpeg files, so you can use a printing service to make larger posters. You can print them smaller and use them as notes you can write on the back of or hand out. There are a number of different uses that you can probably think of…I won’t limit your imagination!

(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)
(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

You are awesome!  I know that you do all you can to instill the mindset of achievement.  Your students will thank you later!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

Posted in Challenge, General Inspiration, Teaching Power, TpT Dear Teacher Store

The Power of Positive Words


(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)
(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

Dear Teacher,

How has your week gone?  Mine has been pretty good, just tiring.  I do think my students are learning, and that is the key to it all!  It helps me remember why I love being a teacher.  Has your week let you remember that?

Lately, I have been observing the power of words.  Words have power…both positive and negative.  Positive words can change your perspective on the world, and so can the negative ones.  Words change our minds, attitudes, perspectives, tones, and hearts.  They are, indeed, quite powerful.

I am seeing that I need to use my words more carefully.  I need to choose them with great effort and do so intentionally.  I need to do this at home, at school, with adults, but more importantly with my kids and my students…especially my students.  With my own children, I have the currency of time.  I can “undo” and “fix” issues that arise when I am not careful with my words.  This is not so much true with my students.

Do you realize that, if you are on a typical American schedule of a school year, we only get 36 weeks with our students?  That is not much time, if you really think about it.  We don’t have the time correct the effects of negative words constantly.  The time is just not there.  We need to be careful with our words!

We need to be precise with what we say.  We need to think through situations before they come.  We need to turn negative situations around in a more positive light, at least in the terms of what we say.  We need way more positive verbiage and a whole lot less negative!  We need more awesome and less awful!

We also need to take chances to use positive words when no words are needed at all.  I know, that is a confusing statement.  What I mean is that we do not need to wait for a situation to come up to use words, especially positive ones.  We should not wait for a negative situation to put positive words into, but we need to use every minute we can to fill the void of silence with as many positive words as we can!

Just in case that was not cleared up, let me give some examples.  When you pass students in the hall, find something positive to say to at least one of them, even if it is just, “I like your shoes.”  Find little reasons in your classroom to praise a student for something.  It can be as small as, “I liked the way that you got your book out without making a lot of noise, that was awesome!.”  Just tell a student they are awesome without a reason at all.  Last, but not least, finds some time to write some notes of affirmation and encouragement to students.  These are worth their weight in gold.

Handwritten notes go so far with students…well, they go far with all of us, no matter how old we are!  Everyone loves when someone takes the time to write something down about us.  I makes us feel better.  It affirms us.  It motivates us.  It moves us.  It is the same for our students.

I have written about it before, but I wrote a note to each of my students (85 of them) and each teacher and administrator at my school last year at the end of the year.  I had mixed responses from the adults, but the students were almost all the same.  They loved them.  The notes were all personal and the students knew that I took the time to write directly to them.  I did them in phases.  After the first phase, students that did not get one hounded me every day until they did.  Some students came back to me this year and said they still have them.  Words have power.

I am trying to do the same this year.  I am slowly trying to write to each student here at the beginning of the year.  Once a student gets a note, something changes between them and I.  They know longer work in my class just because they are supposed to, they work and learn because they know that I care about them.  Students need to know that we care.  They really do.

Do you let your students see how much you care?  How are you with how you use words?  Can you take the time to write some notes to your students over the next couple of weeks?  Try it.  I think you will witness the awesome power of words just like I have!

You are awesome!  I know that you care about your students.  Show them.  Tell them.  Write to them.  Keep on teaching, Teacher!  You are amazing!

Love, Teacher

PS…Another little plug.  Last year, I wrote the notes on quarter sheets of paper and note cards.  Over the summer and into the school year this year, I have been working on notes that I can print and write on the back of to give to students and teachers.  The students love them!  I have been giving stacks of them to other teachers to use, and they love using them.  I am sharing them in my TeachersPayTeachers store.  I am not asking for much.  The only reason that I am even selling them is because they do take a lot of time to make.  Please consider checking them out.  I am working on making the files more user-friendly, but they are not too bad now.  Thanks!  Oh, and the picture in this post is available as a printable note there.  Have an awesome day, week, and weekend!

Posted in Dream Big, Facebook Page, Thank You!, TpT Dear Teacher Store, Twitter Feed

Practicing What I Teach


(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use this picture if you link back to my blog.)
(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use this picture if you link back to my blog.)

Dear Teacher,

Good morning!  Well, last month and yesterday I encouraged you to celebrate the little things about your teaching and students to help you stay focused when the going get tough.  When I first posted about this, I celebrated some of the “little things” about this blog, but I did not yesterday.  I really need to.  Now that I am in the heat of planning some big dreams for next year, trying to find fresh ideas to write is not as easy.

As a teacher, I am encouraged and all but required to be a data analyzer (it helps that this a part of science, and I am a science teacher).  So when I look at the numbers for the blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and Teachers Pay Teachers store, I tend to get to discouraged when those numbers are not growing consistently…which is the same thing I feel about student test scores and grades throughout the year.  The lack of growth adds to the stress of coming up with new and innovative ways to spread encouragement and hope to you and to others through you.

I need to stop stress and remember why I started this whole thing and then take a look at the numbers from that perspective and start having some little (and big) celebrations over those things.  I have only been doing this for about six and a half weeks, and the growth of this blog and encouragement movement in that little bit of time is phenomenal!  I need to just keep doing what I am doing and not care about the numbers!

That said, let me celebrate some of the “numbers” and good things that are going on with Dear Teacher/Love Teacher…

The Blog:

  • In just 6.5 weeks (1.5 of them I was gone for), the site is approaching 19,000 views…that is insane in such a short time!  Thank you for reading and sharing!
  • The Homepage/Archives, along, has had nearly 3,000 views!  That is huge!
  • One post, Why (Did I Become a Teacher)?,  has had 700 views by itself!  It was one of the guest blogs during my sabbatical time from the site.
  • The Thank You Note You May Never Get is another post that is nearing 700 views (and growing a little more each day)!
  • Two other posts have over 550 views!  (Friday of Awesomeness and The Eye of the Teacher…er…Tiger)
  • The blog itself (not counting Facebook and Twittter followers) has 79 followers (33 bloggers and 46 through email).  This does not count RSS followers, because I am not currently tracking that.  This is an amazing number!  Thank you for following and thinking this is important enough to follow!
  • There have been 279 shares so far (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Email, and WordPress Blogs)!  That is a big part of the success of the blog, your shares!  Thank you so much for sharing the encouragement with others!  That is kind of the point of this whole thing!

Facebook Page:

  • In less than a month, there has been 133 Likes for the Dear Teacher/Love Teacher FB Page!  Thank you!
  • The number of likes almost tripled over the weekend because of people sharing!  Thanks so much!
  • The FB page has allowed me to share other forms of encouragement besides blog posts, and that has given me some freedom from the stress of new ideas for the blog.  This is quite great for me!

Twitter:

  • There are currently 61 Twitter followers!  Thank you for following!
  • Twitter has given me new ways to connect with you and for people to share what is going on here!
  • I have also been allowed to find a great deal of sources to share with you to help give you hope, encouragement, and challenges to make you a better teacher.  I have enjoyed getting to know Twitter a bit!

Teachers Pay Teachers Store

  • Getting this set up and learning the ropes has been a slight challenge for me, but I think I finally have it figured out!
  • The Dear Teacher/Love Teacher Store is now officially re-opened!  It is a place for you to get some real resources to help you be a source and conduit of hope for teachers and students at your school and where ever you go!
  • All of my picture messages up until Tuesday (I think) are now available as a free resource at the store!  They are the original images that you can use to print and share with other teachers!
  • I have created an “Awesome Note” that comes in a variety of sizes (both b&w and color, too) that you can print and use to send messages of hope and encouragement to those who need them.  This is on sale for $1 for a limited time!
  • These are the only two available items right now, but I am working on more!

Well, all I can say is thank you!  This has been an amazing ride for the last six and half months, and I look forward to many, many more!  Thank you, again, for supporting and joining this encouragement revolution!

You are so awesome!  I am honored to help encourage you as you give out your awesome to others!  You are an amazing teacher.  As always, keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

PS…

Here some quick encouragement for you, since my post probably encouraged me more than you!  🙂  Thank you, Teachers!

 

Grand Opening!


Dear Teacher,

Great Saturday morning to you!  This is just a quick post to announce the Grand Opening of the Teachers Pay Teacher “Dear Teacher” Store.  I have had many requests to make the picture messages available as printable posters, and I have decided that a TpT store would be the easiest way to do this.  I have also been encouraged to come up with some other materials and resources for teacher encouragement and hope, and I am working on some ideas.  These will be available at the TpT store, as well.

I promise, this is not about trying to make money off of what I am providing for free here at the blog.  This is a response to requests from you!

If you have any ideas for some resources you would like me to think about and work on, please let me know here or shoot me an email at dearteacher@outlook.com.

Have a wonderful Saturday!  You are awesome!  As always, keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

For more hope and encouragement: @DearTeacherLT (Twitter), Dear Teacher/Love Teacher Facebook Page, and the Dear Teacher TpT Store.