by Johanna Parr
As the school year approaches, many teachers may be looking for effective ways to “magically” transform their classroom into a room full of well-behaved students. Year after year educators attempt new systems in their classrooms such as using clothespins, traffic lights or layered cards to flip. Brightly colored visuals adorn the walls and routines are clearly reviewed; however, many times teachers feel their magic wand has been broken as the school year progresses.
There is one magic trick that trumps all others in the book of Houdini tricks! This trick requires no silky hat, furry rabbit, or velvet cape. It doesn’t cost a penny and there is no copying or laminating involved! If this trick sounds too good to be true that’s why it’s called magic! If you can’t stand the anticipation, wave your magic wand and…..abracadabra! When the smoke disappears you will envision yourself eating lunch one-on-one with a student!
For the first six weeks of school, I perform this magic trick with each one of my kindergarteners. As I bite into my sandwich, I gain crucial knowledge about my students that otherwise I would have never have known about. As students crunch on their carrots and cookies, they come to the realization that their teacher cares enough about them to spend time with them. Relationships are formed and misbehavior is magically thrown out the door!
Throughout the year there is no instructional time wasted on stamping colors into folders or students moving their clothespins up or down. When a family greets their child after school they can ask how their child’s day went instead of asking him/her what color they earned. Students feel loved and respected and, consequently, learning takes place. Magic is in the air!
I am challenging all JCPS teachers to perform this magic trick and share your lunch period with your students individually throughout the first cycle of teaching. If you are a teacher who doesn’t have a homeroom or feels six weeks sounds too long, simply select a student that would benefit from this magic trick. Maybe you’ll have a child who hasn’t made a connection with you or there’s that quiet well-behaved student who risks the chance of “falling between the cracks.” This is an opportunity to connect with that child on a whole different level!
Teachers have the ability to become magicians using the right tricks! If students have photo release permission forms, consider posting a photo on Twitter and share this old magic trick I’ve used for years with others by using #lunchmagictrick! If every teacher has lunch with every child in our schools, our district would no longer have the behavior issues we face today. Seize the 2017-2018 school year and accept this lunch challenge by making it remarkable and magical!