**Disclaimer: I definitely stole this idea from Pinterest and altered it to make it my own. The original idea is not my own.
Lately, I have been noticing myself coming to school in weird moods. I have a lot of stress and big decisions happening in my personal life, so it's no surprise that some days I'm not always feeling it.
When you're not in the best mood (or just happened to wake up on the wrong side of the bed), it's easier to get annoyed and feel frustrated throughout the day. I realized I was letting my mood affect my interactions with my students. I was getting more easily frustrated over small things.
I've made a conscious effort lately to notice my mood and shift my thinking so that I can give my absolute best to my students.
Then I started thinking... if my students don't know how I'm feeling, they can't give me what I need throughout the day to make me have a better day. And vise versa.
My students come from diverse circumstances and backgrounds. If I can't pinpoint how they're feeling when they enter my classroom, I can't provide them with the best teaching or care. I can also take an attitude or frustration personally when actually my students are still reeling from something that happened at home before school.
This thought process got me searching on different Pinterest pages for some inspiration, and that's when I found this gem of an idea: A morning check-in! It takes no more than 5 minutes in the morning, let's the kids keep their feelings anonymous, and gives me an idea of how they are feeling when they arrive to school in the morning.
The Concept: Each student grabs a sticky note and writes their name on the back. Then they can stick the note where they feel they are in that moment. We have expectations in place that students should never flip anyone's sticky note over or move them around.
I get to quickly see how my students are feeling at a glance and follow-up with any students that need to talk.
By doing this morning check-in, I found out that one of my student's dogs had passed away right before school had started that morning. Without doing this activity, this student might not have opened up to me and I wouldn't have known why they were upset that day.
I'm always looking for new ways to engage my students in social-emotional learning and to check in with their own feelings. I can definitely say this Pinterest steal was a huge success in my classroom. I can't wait to keep using it for the rest of the year, and to start the year off with it next year.