Making Time for Meaningful Student Conversations

Tomorrow's @TeachThought #reflectiveteacher post centers on teacher/student conversations. 

What do you intentionally do to make sure you don't let too much time pass without having a caring conversation with all of your students?

I have had two "aha" moments regarding making time for meaningful student conversations in the past few years. The first one is the realization that the five minute walk I take each week with my Effective Teens to the Elementary School we volunteer in is a prime opportunity for me to have conversations with these students. (It is very similar to the meaningful "car talks" parents have while driving with their children)--it's a quiet time for me to ask students how things are going and what their plans are for the weekend. 

The second moment came last year when I made a commitment to change my classroom seating to student tables. These tables transformed my classroom into five "mini-classrooms". I was blown away by this mind shift. Having 30 students of varying levels in a general-ed classroom is a challenge that is made much more manageable when I view it as five mini-classrooms of six students each hour, as crazy as that sounds. This seating arrangement develops (and I encourage) a team mentality in my classes and I realize that I am even more cognizant of individual students and their needs, one of these needs being opportunities for meaningful conversations with the mentors in their lives. I do admit that my underdogs get more attention from me but all students have interactions with me that are meaningful.   

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