Saturday, September 6, 2014

Celebrating My Students

Thank you Ruth Ayres for providing this space to celebrate!

I love the first week of school. I love the newness and the setting up of routines & rituals in class. I love getting to know my students and letting them get to know me. This week I shared my goals for the year with my students. I want them all to know that they are important. My goal is for each of them to know that YOU MATTER. I'd seen a tweet about it and done some research and read a little by Angela Maiers who has a YOU MATTER Manifesto and I decided to share this message with them. 

How did I work towards my goal this week?
1. Every morning, I made sure that the board had a message of YOU MATTER as each class walked in. 
2. At the end of each class, we'd share about the best part of class or something they learned about someone in class. 
3. On Friday, our exit ticket was about YOU MATTER. 

I knew this was working on Thursday. The students were logging into an online class that I had set up. I used a very easy password to get into the class, so I was joking with them about being able to crack my "super secret password". (It was my name...too easy.) When someone in the class figured it out and announced it, another boy quietly said to me, "Oh, I thought it might be YOU MATTER."

I realized that the message was getting through. On Friday, the students had three questions to answer for their exit ticket. How had they experienced YOU MATTER this week? What had they done to make someone else feel like they matter? What's their plan for next week? The answers took my breath away. Here are some of them...

How have you experienced YOU MATTER this week?

*the teachers care that I'm their student
*teachers try their hardest to remember our names even though they have a lot of students
*people have asked me sit with them at lunch
*when my teacher said it doesn't matter what my reading level is
*my friends saying hi to me in the hallway
*someone helped me open my locker
*people say excuse me when they accidentally bump into me in the crowded hallways
*every teacher I've met makes me feel special

Kindness matters. I've always known that and worked hard to practice that. Gratitude matters. Again, this practice guides my life! Sharing these ideas with the students and involving them has given them an opportunity to see how they can help and how they create community and it shows them that YOU MATTER. WE ALL MATTER. 


  1. On the way into our school there is a rock with a quote from Winnie-the-Pooh to remind us of our actions: " A little Consideration, a little Thought for Others, makes all the difference". I love your description of what you did this week, Michelle, and it seems that the students loved it too as I read their responses. It sounds like a great week! Good for you. Have another next week!

  2. You have made your message visible in many different ways. I hope that this message helps with building relationships and creating a supportive learning environment. You know that the message isn't just for the students. You matter too!

  3. I love Angela's "You Matter" campaign. Have you seen her speak? This little tiny woman with an affinity for shoes is a powerhouse. She has done PD in our district several times and I always leave inspired.

  4. This is such an inspiring post! I love all that you are doing to help your students feel that they matter and starting the year off creating a positive learning environment for them. The comment that stood out for me was "the teacher said it doesn't matter what my reading level is" - how wonderful that this child will now begin their reading year feeling so confident!

  5. What a positive place you have created for your students! They are SO lucky they have you as their teacher. You're doing for them what Ruth has done for us - created a space to celebrate the good stuff and notice the good things that happen.

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    1. I love this post. What a fantastic beginning. It's great that you shared the ways your students experienced You Matter this week. How fun to involve them in creating a community where YOU ALL MATTER.

  7. Love this. What a wonderful beginning for your and your students. I love how you reinforced the message throughout the day. This will make a difference for them this year and beyond.

  8. We are also using the "You Matter" manifesto this year. I love how you had your students reflect on Friday about how they experienced the You Matter movement or made someone else feel like they mattered. That is really empowering for students to realize that they can share this responsibility. Have a great week!

    Sweet Writing Life
    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  9. I love your post and went to each and every link in it. And that led me to other links- like the TED talk in your Butterflies post. Thank you for sharing so much.


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