Ways to Collaborate With Students For Student Advocacy

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Students are most successful when they have the proper support to ensure their needs are being met so that they can perform their best. As a worker in the educational field, you are in the position to acknowledge what needs to be done to ensure students’ success. This is why advocating for your students is so important. Here are ways to collaborate with students for student advocacy.

Be an active listener

This is the most important thing to remember above all. You can’t actively help students with what they need if you aren’t fully listening to these desires. It goes above listening to needs though; take note of what students are interested in. Notice what they’re good at. Observe what they struggle with and consider alternative ways to teach these subjects. Let your students know that you care about them.

Be vocal

As an educator, your voice will most likely be the thing that pushes for change on a larger scale. We are lucky to live in a time of technology, where it’s simple to connect with others whether it’s lawmakers or peers. The National Association of School Psychologists has a guide for how to educate lawmakers on your advocacy.

Know laws and policies

It would be difficult to advocate for students’ rights without knowing what these rights are. Educate yourself on accommodations on your students’ plans. Familiarize yourself with your school’s anti-bullying and harassment policies so you can learn how to properly approach these situations if they occur.

Get support from others

As we’ve discussed in other blog posts, it’s impossible to do everything on your own. It’s important to recognize that you may need to reach out and get support from principals, parents, your special education staff, and any community members. An example of this would be if a student is struggling with their mental health. You would need to collaborate with the school counselor/psychologist to ensure this student gets proper support.

Final thoughts

Student advocacy is extremely important in ensuring success in your school. The most important thing to takeaway from this article is to always be open and willing to listen. You can’t help a student if you don’t know what’s wrong. If you’re unsure where to turn in your student advocacy, any of our programs can help you on your journey to helping your students succeed. Contact us today to learn more.

Why Post-Holiday Gratitude Still Matters

why post-holiday gratitude still matters

The holiday season encourages many people to reconsider how they practice gratitude in their lives. However, we think it’s important to be grateful beyond the holidays. Practicing gratitude can help in both your personal life and professional life–especially when you are working with and influencing children and teens. Let’s take a look at how gratitude can help you both inside and outside of the classroom.

Benefits of practicing and teaching gratitude

Gratitude can have a larger or smaller impact on our daily lives. Generally though, it makes us feel more optimistic, positive, and enthusiastic about our lives. It encourages us to be passionate, kind, and forgiving. 

This extends to students, too. Gratitude lessons can help students become kinder in situations where they may have typically lashed out before. For example, if students are in a group activity gratitude may remind them to be kinder to their group members.

Gratitude can also lead to becoming closer with your students. Showing them kindness can lead your students to appreciate you more.

However, gratitude is something that should be practiced without an expectation of something in return. True signs of gratitude happen because they are genuinely thankful. It’s important to remind your students of this.

Practicing gratitude in your personal life

Here are some ideas of things to remind yourself to be thankful for:

  • “I have a job.”
  • “I helped ___ (student’s name, or even coworker) today.”
  • “I have a home.”
  • “I had a lovely dinner.”
  • “I have colleagues I get along with and can laugh with.”
  • “My friends are there for me in my times of need.”
  • “The weather was nice today.”
  • “Today was better than yesterday.”

Gratitude can be as basic as enjoying a cup of your favorite brand of coffee, or as significant as good news after hearing about something tragic. Anything significant to you is something you can be grateful for.

Teaching gratitude in the classroom

There are many projects you can ask your students to do to encourage gratitude:

  • Ask your students to share something they’re thankful for. This can be in either a journal entry or round robin session.
  • Model gratitude for your students. Examples: thank them for being kind to one another, for persevering when they struggled with a project, etc.
  • Implement gratitude into your lesson plans. This can be in a way where you ask your students whether a character was showing gratitude or not.

You can encourage your students to practice gratitude in any way that you feel fits best for your students. We’d love to hear if there are any ways you practice gratitude with your students.

Final thoughts

It’s important to remind students that gratitude and kindness matter all year long, not just around the holiday season. Programs like our Onspire C3 can help you implement more lessons about compassion, civility, and cultural awareness. If you’d like to learn more about us and our programs, contact us today.

How Teachers Can Help With Holiday Mental Health

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Some students rely heavily on school to take a break from their home life, and during the year of remote learning, these students may be struggling. Even students who don’t have rough home lives may also be struggling this holiday season. This season is unlike any other. Children may be unable to see their grandparents, and their parents may not have had the budget for Christmas shopping. 

As a teacher, you have the chance to help them emotionally as best as you can. It may be a bit trickier to help your students’ mental health over Zoom or Google Meet, but you can still help. It’s important to remember to take care of yourself, too, though!

Know the signs of a distressed student

Sometimes, a student will hide their internal crises really well, making it almost impossible to detect. Other times, it will be plain as day that they are going through a rough time. Regardless, it’s important to watch for even the most subtle of signs. We have a blog post about student referrals that also includes signs to look out for, but we will include a list here as well:

  • Frequently thinking/talking about problems
  • Change in personality/actions (a quiet student becoming loud, or a louder student becoming quiet)
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Speaking as if no one cares for them, nobody will notice if they were gone, etc.
  • Threats of suicidal and other self-harming behaviors
  • Sudden change in social life (not being with friends, for example)

Your gut reaction to these behaviors may be to reach out to family members, but it may be better to reach out to the student themselves. It is possible that you’ll get some pushback, but in many scenarios the student will be happy that someone noticed their struggle. Reaching out to a student first may also build some trust, which is crucial in scenarios like these.

How to help their mental health

When this trust is built with your student, they are more likely to come to you for help. You will want to help them as best as you can, but it’s important to remember that you’re not a counselor; there’s only so much you can do. Here are some tips for how to help your student without burdening yourself too much.

  • Show that you care and are willing to give them time and attention
    • In many situations where a student is struggling, all they want is to simply be heard and cared for. 
  • Be non judgmental, calm, and accepting
    • It’s important to listen when they come to you with their problems. They will likely be reluctant and scared to reach out because they don’t want an overreaction. Show them that you just want what’s best for them without any judgement.
  • Identify how and when to reach out for more help
    • You can do this by encouraging the student to reach out to a guidance counselor, welfare advisor, or even a friend if the situation is less severe. Remember that you don’t have to deal with the situation alone; if you feel like your student is in danger, report it to the principal so the school can intervene.

It can be easy to feel guilty after referring a student, but remember that you are referring them for not only their wellbeing, but yours too.

Other ways to encourage wellness in your students

You can help prevent extra stress with some of these ideas:

  • Take pressure off your students if possible
    • This means refraining from big assignments close to the holidays. 
  • Reward your students for reaching milestones, or finally figuring out an assignment they struggled with
  • Encourage breathing exercises, especially during stressful situations
  • Give time for your students to talk (and remind them to ask for help)
  • Emphasize helping others
    • It’s amazing how much an act of kindness can help your mood!

Final thoughts

Your students’ mental health is important. Flourishing in school is difficult if your mental health is suffering. As their teacher, you have the ability to help, but you should acknowledge your own limits. It can be overwhelming to take care of your students’ assignments, help them when possible, keep up with your own deadlines, and of course, manage your own life. That’s why we have a post detailing some self-care tips for teachers

If you are looking for a way to easily and efficiently refer any struggling students, you should take a look at our Student Assistance Program, aSAP! This program allows you to streamline the entire student assistance process from start to finish. It’s completely electronic, and allows you to easily collaborate with your team.

How To Teach Good Social Media Habits

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Whether we want to admit it or not, social media is a huge part of all of our lives–and that includes our children’s, too. While there are supposed to be age limits on some social media sites, such as Instagram, children below this age can work their way around it by using fake birthdays or a parent’s email. So, as a parent, how can you ensure that your child is being safe online? Let’s explore how we can teach good social media habits.

Educate Yourself First

The first step in teaching good social media habits is knowing which social media accounts your kids may be using and what platforms are out there. There is a large variety of different social media sites out there now, so it’s important to know how they are used, how they work, and the like.

Here’s a list of the different sites and apps your children may use:

  • Twitter
  • Tumblr
  • Snapchat
  • Instagram
  • Reddit
  • WhatsApp
  • Kik
  • TikTok

It’s important to note that WhatsApp and Kik are apps specifically for messaging. While other apps have the risk of predators pretending to be minors online to prey on your children, messaging apps can be dangerous because they have more one-on-one private access with children’s messages.

Establish a Plan

If your child is asking to use social media, it’s imperative to start a dialogue and ask them questions (and let them ask you questions back!). Let’s say that your child wants to join Instagram. Ask them why they would like to join Instagram, what they plan to do if something goes wrong, and teach them of the risks of joining Instagram, such as being targeted by predators. Develop a plan together involving different scenarios, let them know what to look out for, and keep an open line of communication.

If your child is unsure about how to approach a situation that makes them feel uncomfortable or upset, remind them to practice good etiquette, and if all else fails: tell someone.

Instagram (and many other apps) can negatively impact someone’s self esteem, so it’s recommended to start the conversation about how people will post things on social media specifically to make themselves look perfect. By doing this, you can help teach your child early on to remember how selective people are with their posts before feeling as if they are not adequate enough. It can be hard to be on social media without having your self esteem affected, but these reminders may help in the long run.

Limit Screen Time

It’s always important to practice taking a break from social media. Many of the social media apps have options to limit screen time within the app, and there are also settings on some phones. Talk with your children to determine a time limit that works best for both of you.

Encourage Privacy

Privacy is important for children on social media. Like screen time, apps like Instagram and Twitter have the ability to make your account private. The classic “don’t befriend strangers” also applies online. Tell your children to never share information publicly or with someone they don’t know.

Teach Accountability

Lastly, it’s important to let your children know that what they say online matters. Many platforms can allow anonymity that makes people feel like their words aren’t connected to them. But practicing good manners and etiquette is especially important online. 

Have a conversation with your children about the worst outcomes of what could happen if they engage in cyberbullying. It can be hard to hear, but it’s important that they know that their words have consequences. Teaching your children about the severity of cyberbullying can help encourage kinder behavior as well.

Our Onspire PD3 program can help any parents who want to encourage their children to learn the importance of taking accountability for their actions. The course “Cyber Safety for Parents” is perfect for teaching your children about their behavior online. 

Each course is divided into micro-chapters that can be completed over multiple sessions, allowing flexibility to complete lessons over time. Some course chapters are as low as five minutes in length.

Conclusion

Social media has its pros and cons, but having the conversation with your children as early as possible can ensure that they will be safe online. It’s also important to exhibit good social media habits yourself since children tend to follow the behaviors they know. 

If you are interested in using additional resources for teaching your children about social media, a documentary on Netflix called “The Social Dilemma” has been a popular resource on the topic. It explores the dangers of social networking and how it has impacted us. If you take the time to watch it, especially with your children, we’d love to hear your thoughts and how you handled the discussion with your teens in the comments below.

Signs It’s Time For a Student Referral

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Most school faculty and staff members enter the career not only to educate children and shape the future, but also to provide them with support. Since staff members at schools interact with their students so often, these daily interactions can be very important to identify when students need assistance. 

It’s important to listen to students when they say upfront that they would like counseling services or other help. It’s a very brave step for students to come out and specify when they need help. But sometimes, it’s not that simple. Let’s discuss the signs you’ll see when it’s time for a student referral.

Identifying when it’s time for a student referral

Some signs may be more subtle than others, and if you are noticing that the behavior in a student is off, it’s important to keep monitoring them to see if their behaviors improve or worsen. 

These signs include:

  • Decreased quality in schoolwork, tests, and participation
  • Increased absence from class
  • Appearance changes such as: depressed appearance, weight gain/loss, visible exhaustion, changes in personal hygiene 
  • Nervousness, agitation, aggressiveness, non-stop talking
  • Strange behavior or speech
  • Violent outbursts
  • Dependency on faculty or staff (ie: spending significant amounts of time visiting during office hours)
  • Signs of excessive alcohol/drug use
  • Evidence of self-injury
  • Binging/purging of food
  • Changes in social circles (withdrawal from friends; isolation)
  • Physical or sexual assault
  • Indirect or direct mentions of suicide 
  • Uncharacteristic and concerning comments in a student’s papers or schoolwork

It may be difficult to monitor these things during remote learning, but if you still notice something concerning, it may be best to reach out to the student.

Student referral process

When approaching a student about counseling, it’s important to remember that not every student will be receptive to the idea. The best way to combat this is to encourage them that counseling has helped other students in a similar situation, and that counseling is a safe and confidential place to explore their feelings.

At the end of the day, you want the student to decide themselves that counseling is a good decision for themselves. Forcing a student into counseling will not have positive results in the long run. 

If you and your school are concerned about how student referrals will work during remote learning, our Student Assistance Program aSAP! will be helpful for you. This program allows teachers and staff members to electronically refer students to your Student Assistance team when concerning behaviors arise. aSAP! also provides team planning, intervention, and support, so it is beneficial during the whole referral process. To learn more about this program, visit our website.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, you want to observe any student with concerning issues as closely as possible. Not only that, but you want to ensure that they feel safe and comfortable. This allows them to be more willing to consider the student referral and counseling process. 

How Teachers Can Prevent Cyberbullying

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In today’s world of social media and frequent Internet usage, cyberbullying is more than just a myth. And of course, with the enforcement of remote learning, the risk of students being cyberbullied is even more prevalent. It may feel difficult to monitor and educate your students about digital citizenship, so here are some tips we have on how you can prevent cyberbullying in your school district.

Cyberbullying Statistics

Unfortunately, cyberbullying is often taken less seriously compared to physical harassment or teasing. However, cyberbullying is a real issue that is plaguing our children and teens. A study from Pew Research Center conducted in 2018 found that 59% of teens in the United States have been cyberbullied. Their study also found that a majority of teens are online almost constantly, and those teens are the most likely to get cyberbullied. It’s also important to note that teens from lower-income families, girls, and LGBT teens are considered to be more likely to experience cyberbullying.

Identifying What Cyberbullying Looks Like

What does cyberbullying look like nowadays? Here are some ways that cyberbullying occurs:

  • Harassment and/or cyberstalking: “lurking” on someone’s profile and constantly harassing them
  • Account hacking/creating fake profiles to spread misinformation
  • Doxing: spreading personal information without consent)
  • Swatting: calling emergency responders such as the police to someone’s house)

Signs that these types of bullying could be occurring:

  • Seeming anxious when using their phone or computer
  • Sudden change in friend groups with little explanation
  • Hiding tabs on computer/phone
  • A general shift in emotions (seeming depressed, withdrawn, anxious, etc)

It’s important to monitor your students as closely as possible to notice signs like this. If you feel something is off about a student, consider reaching out to them or their parents/guardians to see what’s going on.

So now that we know a little more about cyberbullying, what can teachers do to prevent it?

Educating on Digital Citizenship

When students learn about digital citizenship, they will learn to appropriately and responsibly use the Internet and other technology. Educating your students on what impact their actions can have online is extremely important. 

While teaching digital citizenship is helpful for cyberbullying prevention, it has other uses too. Students can understand hacking, piracy, viruses, information literacy, and also how to take care of their physical and emotional health in a digital world. You can learn more about digital citizenship here.

Encouraging Victims to Reach Out

Many students don’t report cyberbullying to parents or teachers out of fear of losing access to technology, or the possibility of not being taken seriously. There are programs out there (including our own program HIBster) that allows students to report any incidents anonymously. If students know there is an anonymous way to report any bullying, they may feel more encouraged to report.

Establishing Anti-Cyberbullying Policies

There is no exact method to fully stop all forms of bullying, so it’s important to establish a proper policy in the instance that cyberbullying does occur. To do this, you need to have a clear definition of bullying, a clear and defined way the school should respond to any reports, and proper and appropriate response to said claims.

When bullying occurs, it is important to get to the source of the problem, rather than deal with the problem and move on. Many of the programs we have created work together to manage incidents and also educate and remediate students. For example, HIBster allows you to manage reports, and programs like HIBstervention, aSAP, Onspire can help you deal with the emotional aftermath of bullying. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, spreading a positive environment is one way to deal with cyberbullying. Remote learning due to the pandemic can be extremely isolating for many students; try to encourage your students to positively interact with each other online. Weaving digital citizenship into regular lessons and chapters can also be an effective way to teach the importance and impact of kindness online. 

Any of the programs we have mentioned in this article are also ways to manage cyberbullying incidents this school year. Contact us today to learn more.

Teacher Feature: Kelly Huber

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September: when weather starts to cool down, foliage may begin to change, and of course, school is back in session. The COVID-19 pandemic is still affecting this current school year, so students and teachers alike are adjusting to further changes. To honor the hard work teachers do everyday, we are continuing our ongoing series where we spotlight teachers.

Kelly Huber is a first grade learning-support teacher at the Punxsutawney Area School District in Punxsutawney, Pa. She gives her students instructions on how to perform better in school and helps give them modifications to achieve these performance increases.

Her passion for teaching comes from her love for children and helping them achieve their “Aha!” moment. She finds it important to be real around students because they are smart, and they know when you are “putting on a show.” She tries to establish a good relationship with her students in case a kid is acting up in her class. Kelly often sees that their acting up is out of frustration, so she is determined to see if something is going on so she can understand their problems.

Kelly lives by example for her students; she tries to be respectful, a good listener, and polite to encourage her students to follow suit. If there is a conflict between her students, she sits them down to learn both perspectives in the situation.

Like many teachers, Kelly encourages her students to help others. She rewards students who have a good explanation to help their fellow students understand a topic. She tells the other students to congratulate them and give them a round of applause. When she sees a student helping another, she tells them good job. They also have a “token economy,” where students are rewarded with tickets as prizes for committing good deeds.

When the pandemic struck hard in March, she was doing instruction in the classroom but had to quickly adjust to reaching out to her students from her home. For this fall school year, she is still unsure what will happen but knows everyone will do what they need to reach out to the students. 

Google Classroom was the biggest classroom used in their school districts, where they sent instructional videos and had assignments based on them. They used phone calls and Google and Zoom meetings for spelling lessons.

“Everyday is going to be different. There will be good days and bad days, but that doesn’t indicate you as a teacher. As long as the children are learning something and feel proud of themselves and cared for, that’s what matters,” she said.

If you know a teacher you’d like us to feature, feel free to reach out to us on our Facebook page!

Staying Connected to Students During Remote Teaching

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Many school districts are choosing to go with the hybrid teaching system this fall: half in-classroom learning and half remote learning. Depending on how things go, there is a possibility of going back to permanent remote teaching. Regardless of how much remote teaching your district will be doing, it’s still a good idea to try to explore different ways to connect with your students through the computer screen.

Here are some ways to accomplish just that during this next school-year:

  • Provide your students with “office hours” where they can contact you over phone or Zoom call to get help.
  • Craft a gift that you can give to your students to symbolize being together (example: painting rocks, sewing dolls, etc).
  • Use programs like Flipgrid for reading responses or personal videos.
  • Think of ways to allow your students to connect to each other. (Flipgrid is great for this).
  • Send your students a physical letter or card.
  • Have a slumber party night on Zoom where you read bedtime stories.
  • Have a backyard science project day.
  • Mail them a book, or personally drop it off in their mailboxes. Then you can have a virtual book club about the book.
  • Create a surprise yard sign and put it in their yards. (Birthdays would be a great time for this).
  • Showcase students’ birthday.
  • Have a Dress Up Day, or Spirit Week during online class sessions. 
  • Go on a virtual field trip.
  • Ask your students to give virtual house tours to showcase their favorite parts of their house.
  • Use Google Forms for daily check-ins.
  • Share strategies on how you’re being organized and taking care of yourself mentally.
  • Plan a way to eat lunch with your students every once in a while.
  • Maintain some of their favorite routines from being in the classroom.

If you’re looking for a program to help you with creating lessons in Social-Emotional Learning, our program Onspire C3 can help with that. With this program, you can ask your students to complete the lessons on their own, have staff lead C3 lessons, or blend the program with staff instruction and self-directed learning. We would love to help you bring Onspire into your curriculum, so if you are interested, contact us to schedule a free demo for you and your team.

Self-Care Tips for Teachers

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Let’s be real: it takes a lot of mental and physical energy to be a teacher. Especially during a time like now when everything is shifting from on-site teaching to remote teaching. When you’re an educator self-care is always important because if you’re taking care of yourself, you’re taking care of your students too.

If you neglect to take care of yourself, you can be at risk of experiencing burnout. Practicing self care is also an excellent way to set an example to your students. It’s very important to try to balance your work and leisure so that you can properly enjoy both. Here are some self-care tips for any teachers out there. 

Managing Productivity

Sometimes when we are writing up to-do lists, we can easily get carried away. Evaluating how you are managing your time is one way to take care of yourself. Look at your to-do list. Are there tasks you only want to do rather than need to do? When you overload yourself with tasks, it can be easy to get flustered and it’s a sure way to experience burnout. 

It can also be beneficial to your time-management to set boundaries with students and their families. In an ideal world, we could help others any time they need. But unfortunately, working under that mindset can be detrimental to your mental health. Learn how to say no, or redirect people to other helpful resources.

Taking a Break From Productivity

While on the topic of managing your time, don’t forget to give yourself time to not work. Socializing with loved ones or peers is an excellent way to unwind and rejuvenate yourself. However, it can be hard to unwind if you’re going to just discuss work in your freetime. Try to designate time when you and your coworkers can connect and talk about topics unrelated to work. 

Giving yourself enough time to relax and re-energize is crucial to avoiding burnout and maintaining self-care.

Practicing Productivity

Looking at positive messages or quotes can help if you’re having a stressful or overwhelming day. Do your students or their families write you encouraging notes or feedback? Collect them and put them somewhere special so you can look back at them on a rainy day.

You can also collect your favorite motivational, inspiring, and motivational quotes. Create a small project for you and your students where you all share your favorite positive quotes.

Monitoring & Combating Stress Levels

Lastly, take note of your stress symptoms so you can know what you can handle and when you are the most stressed. Try to maintain a self-care routine of activities that relax and calm you. For example, you can try to read outside in your backyard surrounded by nature every weekend (or any activity that you find to be a stress reliever).

Conclusion

There is no set way to practice self-care. Everyone copes with stress differently. Find your stress relievers, manage your time as best as you can, and most importantly, be forgiving to yourself. Practicing these behaviors will make it easier for you to influence your students to do the same.

Teacher Spotlight: Nikki Silva

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It takes a special person to be a teacher, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2019-2020 school year tested teachers all over the world on their adaptability skills. It may be summer, but we still feel that a teacher’s hard work should be noticed. 

Meet Nikki Silva, 3rd grade teacher at Carteret School District in Carteret, New Jersey. Nikki is an upbeat and passionate person who hopes to spread this behavior to her students. As an avid reader and writer, Nikki dreams that one day in the future she can publish a children’s book that encourages them to be who they are. 

The desire to encourage children follows her in the classroom, too. One of her favorite things about teaching is that she’s able to impact the future by making a difference in students’ lives. To her, nothing feels better than watching concepts click together in her students’ heads, giving them that “Aha!” moment.

When it comes to reinforcing life skills like kindness and empathy, Nikki says “it needs to be sprinkled throughout the school year.” She recommends that other teachers find it in everyday life and bring it to the lesson, rather than trying to plan lessons for the topic. 

“Not everyone has those cheerleaders in their lives to teach them that kindness, empathy, and friendship is important. They’re in school for most of the day, so we have to teach them to be the best little humans,” Nikki said. 

One example she thought of was when her class was reading a book called “An Extra Yarn.” As they read through the book, she pointed out occurrences of kindness throughout the story. She’ll also tie in other current events to showcase the kindness and empathy that can be taken from the stories.

Outside of small comments during every lesson, she tries to teach her students that not everything in life is perfect, but it’s important to try to make the best of every situation. Nikki and her students will have morning meetings where they talk about how even the smallest gestures can improve someone’s day. If she’s having a rough morning, she’ll let them know, but also tell them that seeing them made her day better. 

Nikki also feels it’s important to praise her students when they naturally perform kind actions. She tries to teach them that not everyone is good at everything. For example, she has “tech students” that will help other students with connectivity issues.

“Some students are just spirited that way in which they’re helpers and want to do it themselves, which encourages other classmates,” she said. 

They also have a “secret” gift they give to other students outside of their classroom, called kindness tickets. Whenever her students see someone outside of their class doing a kind deed, they give out kindness tickets to reward others for their actions.

Like many teachers, the COVID-19 pandemic has made Nikki’s way of teaching change. She’s learned to try new things, such as even more programs and technology. They used FlipGrid, Kahoot, and participated in virtual field trips to make learning remotely more exciting. She and her students still held morning meetings over Zoom, but it wasn’t exactly the same because the personal aspects were missing. Her solution was to split her students off into smaller groups so there was a little bit of closeness. 

She has definitely missed hugging her students and doing other hands-on activities with them. Despite the change to remote learning, she still feels they maintained their connection. She drove by their houses to see them, and when she did so she gave each student a rock to paint. This rock signifies that they may be separate now, but they will always be part of her third grade family. 

When Nikki isn’t teaching her students, or working on her novel, she’s spending time with her daughters. Keep an eye out in the future, and maybe someday you’ll see Nikki’s novel out there in the world!


Do you know a teacher who you think should be featured? Send us a message on Facebook!