Revolutionary Strategies that Will Change your Classroom

Robin Williams has been teaching for the last 12 years and has taught everything except Kindergarten. She currently teaches first grade and online at Brandman University.

Listen to the podcast here.

What do you know now that you wish you had known before you started teaching?

I wish I had known how to meet the needs of students who have gone through trauma. A lot of my students have been in group homes and are foster students.

Many have been in lots of different schools, are abused, or drug babies. When they have been through such horrific things, I wish I had been taught how to deal with this situation.

I attended a trauma training and it was fantastic. I learned the importance of developing that relationship and meeting them where they are; not judging them, and going back to the basics. We talked a lot about restorative practices.

We take turns sharing feelings and teaching them how to communicate feelings.

We do a lot of modeling and break down the story of different social situations. We do a lot of role playing with first graders and really break it down to discuss feelings. We have to realize that students don’t always have that positive role model in their homes.

We need to get in there and teach those skills explicitly.

We also do social circles, where we talk about things like bullying and how that makes us feel, and how the bully might feel. Trying to understand the feelings of others is hard for six year olds.

We provide art as an outlet. After recess, we turn the lights down and let them draw, and digest and calm down before we jump back into the academics.

We have mindful moments, like meditation and yoga. We teach them how to manage emotions.