Tea With Me

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I have a few different behavioral management techniques in place in my classroom. Teaching With Love & Logic by Jim Fay and David Funk is really the basis (along with all the great behavioral classes I’ve taken over the years) for my approach. The focus is on shared responsibility in the classroom and delivering consequences with compassion.  Knowing my students and letting them know that I know them goes a long a way. You can read more about that in my post The Top Ten Things.  

As my year progressed last year, as with every year actually, I had to change up the positive behavior support just a bit. I think the kids like it when I keep it interesting!  So, about two-thirds of the way through our year last year I instituted a new “thing”… Tea With Me!

Tea With Me is a positive behavior support in which I choose a different student to, you guessed it, have tea with me!  Typically, I draw a name from my stick box and that student gets to have tea with me. When I arrive in my classroom  in the morning I brew the tea. I put it in a very pretty little tea pot and I have cute little tea cups in cute colors and a special plate for our breakfast cookies!  

ImageWhen: First thing in the morning!  As my other students are sitting at their desks doing their morning work, the Tea Student gets to skip the morning work and come sit with me for tea.

What: I teach the student how to “serve” me the tea. They love that!  They choose the tea cup saucer/color they want and then hand me my cup. Then they pour the tea. I also teach them how to appropriately offer me a breakfast cookie. The breakfast cookie can be anything I happen to have on hand… cookies or granola bars cut in half, etc.  The Dollar Tree in my town has actually very good, wholesome cookies for a buck!  So it doesn’t cost a lot to add the “breakfast cookie” and well, they think it’s very special. I also buy decorative napkins at the dollar store or from the sale bin at my local party store.  They think the special napkins are also great!

The Talk: What do we talk about at Tea With Me? Whatever the student has on his/her mind.  We do not talk about behavior or performance.  We talk about anything else, though. Often they direct the convo to sports, movies, siblings, parents, etc. And yes, sometimes something comes up that makes me aware of things going on at home. It’s very valuable information and helps me know where my student is “at” not on just that day but in that “season”.

Do you know what I’ve noticed about you?  This is the question I got from the Fay/Funk text.  They call it the One Sentence Intervention.  I weave the one sentence intervention into every single day for all of my kids, but I try to make sure to touch on it at Tea With Me.  The student might say something about going camping or something and I’ll say, “You know, i’ve noticed that about you… that you like to go camping.” That’s all you have to do. If you use those words, “I’ve noticed something about you…” it goes a LONG way in building that relationship with that child.

Clean Up is Special, too!  After “Tea” the student cleans up… they love doing this! I get our morning greeting time started while the student goes and does the dishes. I don’t know if they like this because they get to play in the dishwater, or because they get to do something different than what everyone else does, but it doesn’t matter.  They love it. It’s a GREAT way to start the day!

In the course of Tea with Me, all of my students got to have tea with me twice. And you know if I forgot a day they let me know about it!  And, I have successfully converted 3 hot tea drinkers!  One of my boys will drink 2 cups of tea (raspberry herbal tea).  I told his mom that and she said, “What? My son drinks HOT tea? Amazing!” So, it not only encourages the student/teacher relationship, but helps build social skills and broadens the student’s culinary horizons. It’s a win/win/win!!!!

What can you do that is special to you, which can become special to your students, too? I’m always drinking tea in class. They all knew long before I started Tea With Me that I was a hot tea drinker. I think this makes even more impact… “Mrs. Jager is including me in something she loves.”  Perhaps none of them think this, or maybe some do, or they all do they just don’t know it, I’m not sure, but I know that Tea With Me was very impacting in the ongoing development of my relationships with my students. I will definitely be doing this next year, too!  Oh wait… next year? I mean next month… it’s almost here! 2 more weeks!

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