Monday, August 29, 2011

Giving Positive Feedback to Your Students

All students respond well to positive feedback. The key is to teach your point in a positive way, even when you feel like saying something negative. Following are a few tips for teachers:

• Positive feedback must be a result of student behavior. This tells students that you are aware of their performance individually and in a group. Students will begin to see that you give feedback to the best performance of every individual.

• Positive feedback should be given matter-of-factly. Flowery, emotional praise can embarrass students, especially preteens. Positive feedback should not imply that you are treating students any differently from the way you would treat an adult.

• Use descriptive statements that briefly tell students what was worthy of comment. Praise their accomplishments or their efforts, not their personalities.

• Positive feedback to individual students should be relatively private. Students can be embarrassed by comments that single them out as the “teacher’s pet.”

• Give feedback to student groups whenever possible. Frequent group praise helps establish a sense of cooperation and community among your student group.

• Eliminate pauses after giving positive feedback. For some students this can be very uncomfortable. Instead say, (Julie), good job on reading that Scripture, now let’s turn to…

• Be persistent. Some students feel uncomfortable with praise because they have had so little. But every student needs to learn that he or she has enough self-worth to accept recognition from someone else.

• Give students choices as much as possible. For example, "Would you like to do the craft first or the pencil puzzle?" Or, "You can turn in your project on time and I'll grade it this week or you can turn it in late and I'll grade it in a few months."

• After giving students lots of choices, you can ask them to do what you're asking as a favor to you. For example, say, "Now that I've let you choose the activities today, I'd like you to pick up these papers as a favor to me."

• When a student expresses anger, let him calm down before you respond. Let him know you're busy right now but you can talk tomorrow (or later). Show empathy toward the student. For example, you could say, "That's a bummer. Let's talk about it tomorrow. Don't worry about it." There is usually no need to take sides or make suggestions or give consequences on the spur of the moment. Often the students will come up with their own ideas after having a chance to think things through.

• Give negative feedback in private, and make sure it's constructive and the student has ownership of the situation. For example, "I'm sorry you decided to turn in the project late. What were the consequences for a late project? That's right, you won't get a grade for a few months. I'm sorry about that. But don't worry. You can decide when to turn in the next project. Conclude in prayer with the student.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Being Thankful in All Things

Being thankful is an important part of our Christian faith. The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:6-7 to pray with thanksgiving and let our requests be made known to God. I Chronicles 16:8 tells us to give thanks to God, call on His name, and make His deeds known to others.

The Bible is full of stories about people who gave thanks. In I Chronicles 16:4, King David appointed Levites to thank and praise God before the ark of the Lord. Daniel thanked God for wisdom in Daniel 2:23. In Matthew 16:36, Jesus thanked God for wisdom for the food before He broke seven loaves and a few fishes that fed a multitude.

Paul thanked the Thessalonians for their growing faith (II Thessalonians 1:3). The writer of I Corinthians 15:57 thanked God Who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ. God commands us to give thanks to Him in all things. What a great example we set for our students when they see us giving thanks in all circumstances!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Timeless Message

Children growing up today face a very different world than the one faced by their parents. It is a complex world with gadgets and gizmos that were never even imagined twenty years ago. And yet  it is still a world of people trying to relate to their God. 

Pray that even as your students’ minds are full of the complexities of learning to read and do math, of computers and cell phones, of YouTube and iPods, of entertainment and so much push-button technology, that they will understand the simplicity of the Gospel. Your lessons will help your students realize that God loves them and sent His Son to be their Redeemer and Guide. 

Pray that as they remember God’s faithfulness to believers in the past, they will be aware of His faithfulness in their lives today as they face problems and challenges. For lesson ideas to help your students grow closer to Jesus, check out our Bible Foundations Reproducible Sunday School Lessons. Try a free lesson for Preschool, Early Elementary or Upper Elementary.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

VBS Clearance Sale This Week

We're clearing out our warehouse and you'll save 30%-80% on leftover VBS items this week. Hurry! Quantities are extremely limited. We have Pandamania Sing and Play Music CDsPanda Pal's Bible Play PackGold Rush Super Starter Kits,   MegaSports Go the Distance Water Bottles with Gospel BallsSonSurf MagnetsHigh Seas Outdoor Banners, and lots more!

These items will sell out quickly so don't miss the chance to save big.  Visit our VBS Sale to see all the items on clearance. These are available on a first-come, first-served basis. We will notify you if anything you order is out of stock.

As our blog readers, we're giving you advance notice of the sale. For you, it begins today. Visit our VBS Sale now.