Duck into Third Grade

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Mountains of books have been written on the subjects of good teaching and good parenting. Instead of making it simple many of these written wonders leave me with a couple of questions:
1. Has this author ever been in a classroom? (or even driven by a school?)
2. Does the author have any children (or any interaction with a child in the past 20 years?
Don’t get me wrong I value ‘expert’ advice if it is genuine. Over the past 3 decades I’ve taught and parented for using these three simple R’s.
Rapport-build it, labor with it, toil, toil, toil. Know your kids, inside and out! Read them like you read a book. Stay focused! There are no shortcuts around this one. Discover what they like and don’t like, where they’re coming from, and where they want to go. This step must come first because it is the foundation for the next R. They have to know you want to be with them, that they are valued, and that you are invested in them as a person. Ask yourself, “What makes this kid tick? What drives this kid?” Never talk down to a kid, most are smarter than adults! They can spot a fake a mile away, be REAL!
Relevant-After building rapport comes the easier objective of making your teaching or parenting pertinent. Make real-world connections that are up close and personal. This will be a walk in the park if rapport was established. Remember their world is not your world. Teach them where they are, not where the manual says they should be. See them as a tourist going from point A to point B and you are the tour guide. Make sure to guide with gusto and purpose. Let them know their destination, most folks like to know where they’re going and kids are no different, except for being brutally honest.
Read-Aloud-DAILY!!!I know, I know, most would put reflect here but believe me if your teaching is relevant you are going to be a reflecting rock star. The read-aloud must be golden, picked out with the listener in mind not randomly chosen at the last minute. Would you grab a pair of shoes off the shelf and pay for them without opening the box or trying them on? There is always a right way and wrong way to do something, choose wisely. There are many resources to help busy teachers and parents, don’t feel like you have to read every book in the library. Check out Jim Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook it goes from toddlers all the way to eighth grade or take a gander at Mem Fox’s Reading Magic for the small fries.
Three Rs is simple to say but tough to do each and every day. It is so worth it when your grown children tell you thanks for reading to them when they were young and receiving papers from students like the one I got this week, talk about warming the cockles of my heart:
“Learning is awesome. My favorite hero is Mrs. Barnes. Who is your hero? Is it Superman or Iron Man? Yep mine is a techer not not a normal teacher. I love this techer. She is my third grade techer. We do science experiments we do all kinds of things. It is awesome to have a techer like her.” My husband loved the part about not a normal teacher : ) I think he’s a bit jealous that I made it in the same paper as Iron Man!”


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