There is a lot of hate in our world today, and many of feelings and situations can manifest themselves in our classrooms. It can seem hard to combat at times. This past year at my high school was rough. I won't go into detail, but after multiple tragic events parents were scared to send their kids to school. As teachers we had to make sure our classrooms felt like a safe and inviting place to be. There are multiple ways to accomplish this. First, don't be afraid to have the hard conversations. I couldn't get caught up in the fact that I was falling behind in my curriculum, and absences were through the roof. It wouldn't do me any good to keep on teaching without taking a time out and discussing what was going on with my students. They want to know that you understand what they are going through, and that we were going to all get through it together.
Another thing that I have found to be helpful is to find a service related project that all the students can rally behind. As students work together on a project that is meaningful to them, they will be strengthening relationships between their peers and building a classroom community. I was inspired by the Mr. Rodgers quote that I kept seeing on Facebook: "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my Mother would say to me, look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." I wanted to find a way for my students to feel like the helpers and not the victims. One project that I'm going to have my students work on next year is centered around the website water.org. They are a non-profit organization that helps bring clean water and sanitation to people in countries that are in desperate need. I'm having my students get into groups and create a fundraising proposal on how they would like to raise money that can be donated to water.org. They will have to come up with an idea that is feasible (for example, they can't decide to sell t-shirts when we don't have the money to get them made in the first place). Classes will vote on the best proposal and then put it into action. Check out the lesson plan I have created for FREE available in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.
Becca of Science Rocks
Hi, I'm Becca! I've been teaching science for 10 years at both the middle and high school levels.