Reflection from a 4th Grade Teacher in Alabama

Generation Text Online
Kimberly Robbins
4th Grade Teacher
Blount BOE, Alabama

How does the GTO guide/help the target/victim?

Using this program has given me opportunities to ask specific questions to my students to understand their personalities and home lives better. This has started a classroom community among my students and allowed us to share personal information and develop respect for one another feelings, opinions, and attitudes.

How does the GTO approach impact the disruptions that hinder learning in the classroom?

I begin each day reminding students of the three ways that they can show respect to their teacher and classmates. This helps students understand what expectations I have for them and allows them to be reminded in a friendly way. My students are quick to repeat these three steps to one another and remind each other to be nice when they are yelling out.

How have you seen particular students change/transform as a result of the using the GTO approach?

I am really excited for the future of my classroom and how using this program is going to open up communication between us. I have a very challenging group of students this year who are entering my classroom every day with broken homes, physical and mental abuse, loneliness, abandonment, hopelessness, exposure to several inappropriate things, and hurt in their lives. I have been amazed at the lack of respect for classmates, teachers, and authorities in their lives and feel that this is a true reflection of the pain that is in their hearts. I am always searching for lessons and ways to encourage students and give them a healthy way of showing their feelings and expressing themselves. I felt like the “high/low” activity in chapter 2 was remarkable! This was the first time since August that 100% of my students were engaged, listening, and respecting others. This was really neat to watch and we do this activity often in my classroom.

How have you added your own flavor or tweaked the GTO approach for your students?

In Chapter 1 my students watched the poem video to begin this lesson. I was blown away at how my students were reacting to this video. The entire room was silent and I saw a few tears coming down some of the students faces. My mind was racing trying to figure out how I was not going to lose this moment with my students. As a teacher, these are the moments you live for and hope to have with each class. When the movie went off my classroom was silent and I left the lights off to allow students to feel comfortable. I went to the board and drew a circle. I told the students that the circle reflected their world and inside we were going to write all of the things in their lives that they did not like or that brought them pain or hurt. The students took turns sharing different words such as: hunger, abuse, cigarettes, divorce, drugs, alcohol, stress, loneliness, and orphan, fighting, bullying, and cussing. After the students called out their words I asked the class what they were going to do to change that for their future as kids and their future as adults. Before this time, most of my students always laughed when I would bring up their future, college, adult life, marriage, children, etc… but today every student would respond by thinking of their future as an adult. For example: I want to choose good friends so I won’t be tempted to do drugs, I am going to choose someone to  marry that I really love so I won’t get a divorce and hurt my kids. This was an awesome moment in my room, for me as their teacher, and for each student. Every time the students would give a way to change their world I would mark the world off of the list and by the end of the lesson the entire world of hurt had been erased. I finished this lesson by discussing how choices and actions effect of now and in our future are so we always need to choose wisely. I will take this memory with me for the rest of my life!

Whether you are a school administrator, teacher, parent, mentor or corporation, we can design a program to suit your needs. Let’s make the connection!

8 + 11 =

I really loved the Eight Essential Questions and Mean vs. Nice

As a speech-language pathologist I feel it is crucial to give students the language (vocabulary) to express their feelings.

Supporting colleagues

My implementing some of the strategies we are learning about bit more about colleagues to support during these times.

Keeping my teens talking – A Parent

You gave us the tools to get our kids to open up and the strategies to keep them talking!

Effects of trauma on the brains of children

What I found most interesting was the information relating to the effects of trauma on the brains of children.

Persistence keeps the program going

Randy, a boy at School 2 has been struggling (basically failing most subjects) in school for several years. When I met him his teachers, counselors, parents and administration were frustrated and simply did not know how to support and motivate him academically. He was always forgetting things, not turning in work, failing tests and disorganized. Last year in lunch bunch we worked on self-advocacy. This email is a testament to his advocating for himself…he continuously went to the counselor’s office asking to bring back Gen Text because our work with him supports him academically, socially and emotionally! How awesome is this?????

A new way to run a meeting

It is easy to build agendas for meetings that lack the connection. I find that I am constantly now beginning with an activity such as these we are using. I appreciate that as an admin team we are taking time to connect in this way as well.