How do you reach THAT kid who is really struggling?

Day 3 of our week-long slow-chat about servicing students with special needs:

How do you reach THAT kid who is really struggling?

@informed_members @Certified_Educators

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I have several THAT kids in my classroom. :grin: The first thing I do every year is try to learn every student’s name so I can call on them and greet them at the door. It helps to open the door so I can get to know my students better. I figure out their birthdays, attend sporting meets/games, name math strategies after the students who are brave enough to share them with the class, and generate nicknames for some of the students who I think need extra attention. I tell my kids that they can always come to me to talk or to grab a hug.

All of this tends to meet students’ basic needs so I can actually teach them math. Once I figure out when a student is really struggling, I set them up to succeed. I might start them lower on my set of building Formatives so they get a ‘running start’ and see lots of green before they get their first red bubble. I try to cycle around to those struggling students more often, and even assign a peer tutor (usually another THAT student who has experienced some success) to guide them through a Formative.

I give positive praise A LOT. I send my students positive emails and CC their parents. When I have time, I call those parents to give the positive comments as well.

The most important thing I do is love THAT kid… and tell them that I love them. :heart_eyes:

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Building relationships is key! I try to talk to all my students , but I focus on THAT kid everyday! It can be a simple Hi, how are you? What are you up to? or What do you think about…? I may not understand their answer or agree with it, but I think it is important to listen! Information I gather is them used to tie into class lectures, discussions, examples etc.

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I love this relationship building strategy! It sounds like a great method for “speaking” directly to students and allowing parents to hear positive feedback about their children in a new way. I bet this supports students in taking greater ownership over their growth and learning.

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Relationship must be a priority!!

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It’s great to hear that you are building in time to talk them about their lives everyday. I am thinking back and wishing I made this a daily practice!

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I start the year off by trying to remember all my students names. I practice practice practice so the students know I am purposely making an effort to remember them. I try to have them all memorized by the second day. A tricky thing for 125=ish students. I would say all of my students are THAT student. My students live in a very violent neighborhood - double the nation in violence. Most suffer from CPTSD and are in crisis and trauma. My interventions don’t normally involve academics at first because that is not what they care about. They care about relationships and commitment. Once they know for sure I care and will be at school and love them unconditionally they will do just about anything for me. I give them as long as it takes to get to mastery if they want to. I also have about half of tasks me academic and the other half be demonstration. If students put in effort they should not get anything below a C.

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Me too! I try to call on students by name the first day when I call on them. I tell them to challenge me if I talk to them and don’t call them by name. Students love asking me if I remember their name. The next day, I say hello by name to as many students as I can as the enter the classroom. If there aren’t too many at one time, I ask the student to tell me the first letter of their name. Once I guess correctly (or they tell me) I right them in the eye and repeat their name three times. They usually laugh, but then it helps me to remember their name. I do little ‘happy dances’ in class when I remember a student’s name that I’ve struggled with. My first year at a new school, I had a huge class and since we were on block scheduling, it was taking me longer to learn everyone’s names since I didn’t see them every day. One of the students made it point to stop and tell me that I was doing a really good job. I was confused because I had only memorized about half the class. Then I was shocked when she said that most of her teachers from last year never learned her name. I worked extra hard to make sure I learned their names.

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