Teaching To The Dedicated, Procedure Following Kids

This is part of a series of using Myers Briggs personality types in the classroom. For more information, click here. For information on how to figure out your student’s MBTI type, click here. 

ISTJ students are often described as logical, practical, and structured. Do you have one of these students in your classroom? Possibly one that thrives on consistency and struggles when rules and procedures are not followed. 

Introverted 

Sensing 

Thinking 

Judging 

These introverted students are capable of working in smaller groups, but large groups can stress them out, especially when making comments or asking questions. It’s rare to find these students speaking up or asking things in classroom discussions. In an interview I conducted with ISTJ personality types, one student expressed how she wished there could be an anonymous way to ask the teacher something without speaking up in a group to avoid shame and embarrassment. Another shared, “I’m learning even if I’m not raising my hand and sharing my answers out loud.”

They are sensing students, meaning conceptual learning can be difficult for them. They need their senses engaged to understand concepts. They do not want lists of procedures to accomplish long division, sensing types need number cubes and drawn out examples to understand what exactly division is, then they can understand everything fully. 

Interest in a topic is vital for these students and if they love what they are learning they will put in their full effort. ISTJs often do well in a university school setting because the topics and classes are chosen based on what they want, giving them a deeper interest in their studies, pushing them to work harder and do better. 

Clear objectives and expectations are big for this personality type. If you ever feel like you’re writing your objectives on the board just because you were told to by an administrator or learning coach, know that your effort is not wasted with an ISTJ student in your classroom. They often need to look at what is expected and strive to follow this, because their core values are to reach expectations, and it hurts them when they don’t or can’t accomplish this. 

Do you have any ISTJ students in your classroom? What ways do you use their interests to drive their learning? 


The Worst Phone Call I’ve Made to a Parent

My hands were shaking as I picked up the phone. I was about to make a phone call to a parent of one of my best first-grade students, a call that I never thought I would have to make during my time teaching, especially during my very first teaching experience.

“Hi, Mrs. Johnson, it’s Mrs. Ross, your daughter’s teacher right now while her regular teacher is on maternity leave. I’m calling about your daughter, we had an incident today that I need to let you know about. While we were doing an activity with scissors, a boy in the class took a pair to your daughter’s braid and cut off the end of it. It was about an inch of hair and she is devastated. Do you mind talking to her for a little bit?” 

When the phone was handed back to me a few minutes later, I apologized over and over to her. I couldn’t believe that something like that happened in my classroom. All of the reminders of procedures and the rules we had in place for using scissors, it all went out the door the second the little boy put the scissors up to her hair. I felt like a failure as a teacher. 

Her mom came to pick her up from school early, she was too upset to make it through the school day. Proper action was taken on the situation with both students, and at the end of the day when all of them filed out of my classroom, I finally let my emotions show. I sat with other teachers in the copy room while we prepped for the next day and I told them how awful I felt about the situation. All of them helped me feel better by swapping their own stories of situations they have been in with students throughout their years of teaching, it helped me realize I wasn’t alone, others had been in this boat before too. 

What really helped most was my conversation with this little girl’s mom the next day. She dropped her off at school in the morning with a fresh new haircut and I continued to apologize to each of them again. Her mom responded by letting me know that she wasn’t upset in the slightest, either at me or the other student. These kids are seven years old, they are unpredictable and emotional human beings and it would be impossible for me to keep my eyes on each of them at all times, it wasn’t my fault. She even ended the conversation by asking if she could volunteer for anything, even if it was just cutting up things for me (since we had a new classroom rule of NO SCISSORS ALLOWED until I could get over what had happened). 

I expected her to be more upset with me, blaming everything on me, so to have her be understanding and in my corner was refreshing and uplifting. It really made me realize how much we as teachers need parents. They can be your advocate in bad situations. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve dealt with my fair share of difficult parents too, but that doesn’t mean they are all that way. Even though I was only in a long-term substitute teaching job, I wish I could have gone back and utilized parents more from the beginning. They really can be your best tool, if you let them in. 

I truly am curious, what is one of your worst teaching memories that you can hopefully look back on and laugh now? 

The Evolution of Technology: How it’s Used in the Classroom

When I was in first grade, our classroom had a set of three computers that sat on a table in our classroom, taking up a good chunk of space. The computers looked very similar to this: 

They were big and incredibly slow. The day my teacher announced that we would be doing some testing on the computers was a big day in our school, we were advancing at what we felt was such a rapid pace back then. Sometimes we would type papers on the computers and print them out, it made us feel extra fancy! By the time I left elementary school, our school had a drastic upgrade in computer technology in the classrooms. The new sets looked similar to these: 

With the smaller screen and slimmer computer deck, we were able to fit more into each classroom. They ran faster and we were able to do more, like access the internet for classroom use and the speakers allowed us to hear videos (if we could get them to load). Gone were the days of researching solely through textbooks, now we could look up scholarly articles and websites for more information! It was 2005 and it was revolutionary. 

Later in my 10th-grade Biology class, my teacher was applying for a grant that would supply our classroom with a set of 30 iPads. This type of thinking was astronomical, iPads had just come out that year, they were a new concept and tool and it didn’t seem like this forward-thinking would ever be rewarded. Others around the school, teachers, students, and parents mocked him for thinking something of the sort would even be a possibility. He was fairly confident it would happen. He listed out ways for us of how useful they could be, flashcard apps, looking up information, reviews, tests, using powerpoints and multiple other online materials to enhance our learning. I truly cannot reiterate enough how out-of-this-world it all seemed. 

When the grant was passed and 30 first-generation iPads entered our classroom, it was a monumental day. I remember my biology teacher standing in front of us saying, “We are living in the middle of a technological revolution. By the time you are in college, these iPads will be dinosaurs. We should never be afraid to embrace the technology, it can be here to help you, let it, but within reason.” We used the iPads for PowerPoint slides, notes, and videos we would create for each other. We felt like we were making history, because well, we really were

iPads are still around ten years later, but not in the same way they were ten years ago. If any of us were to pick up a first-gen iPad today, we would laugh. Yet, ten years ago it was like holding gold in our fingertips! It’s incredible to see the advances and changes technology has made over the years, and how it has affected our schools- both in the good ways and the bad ways. 

I believe deeply that technology can be an incredible tool for us in our classrooms when used correctly. I’ve witnessed firsthand how impactful these resources have been to students, no matter what level they may be on. My hope is that I can use this space over the next few weeks to highlight ways we as educators can and have been using technology in classrooms and schools as a whole. Chromebooks, iPads, smart projectors, and other resources have been popping up in schools all over the nation, so let’s make some great lists on great ways to use them! 

What technology do you have in your classroom? In what ways has it helped and hindered your students? 

Teaching The Leaders: ESTJ In The Classroom

This is part of a series of using Myers Briggs personality types in the classroom. For more information, click here. For information on how to figure out your student’s MBTI type, click here.

Dedicated, organized, direct, responsible, leaders. ESTJs typically fit these characteristics. If you were to get any student excited about organizing and carrying out a project, it would be them. 

Extroverted
Sensing 
Thinking 
Judging 

They are extroverted, meaning they receive their energy by talking, moving, and collaborating with peers. It’s not uncommon to find these students constantly talking with others to figure out concepts or finding the next study group to attend simply for the fact that they don’t like to study alone. Allowing them to move, explore, and discuss is important for them. 

Being a sensing type, using manipulatives is such a big deal for them. Having the opportunity to hold and see the concept helps them use their sensing type to put together information.  Using abstract, theoretical ideas for teaching is a fast way to lead ESTJs to confusion. 

They thrive in an organized environment. They need to see the natural succession of information, bouncing around in the subject can cause confusion. Facts resonate well with them, they are great notetakers because writing down the facts and processes can be incredibly helpful to them in knowing and taking in information. 

It’s no lie that ESTJs are among the most successful academically. They are not only the highest type to graduate with an undergraduate degree, but also have the highest grades as well. Like I stated above, these students are the ones to not only carry out a project but to also draw up the idea, bring it to life, and see it carried through. Nothing brings them more joy than a well-organized plan with very well-intended ideas. 

Pictured are a few common careers of ESTJ students. You’re teaching future managers, engineers, and supervisors. 

Photo from MBTIonline.com

What are the ways you help your ESTJ students learn? How do they improve your classroom culture? 

An Update On Anthony Neil Tan: The 2019 Scholarship Winner

Each year Honors Graduation gives away multiple scholarships to graduating seniors with intentions to attend college the next fall. In 2019, they awarded a total of $55,000 to five different students in their Design A Better Future scholarship. Anthony Neil Tan was the 2019 scholarship winner, with $10,000 awarded to his college education and an additional $5,000 awarded to his Design A Better Future project, Maker Hub Club. 

Since the scholarship award, Anthony has expanded his Maker Hub Club at Rowland High School and Diamond Bar High School. They were able to host their first Maker Hub Club community service project a few weeks ago where they created Christmas tree ornaments. 

“Our chapters have been resourceful, funding these events with the money they raised through selling student-made items such as laser cuts and 3D prints.” wrote Anthony. He also said the chapters have been able to sustain financially by creating and selling to the different clubs in the school. If they find themselves in a situation where they cannot self-sustain anymore, they are going to encourage them to apply for their mini-grants. 

At their Christmas tree ornament make-a-thon they created laser-cut gingerbread men that they later painted, origami reindeer, molded and painted resin snowflakes, and then they wove loom bands for ornament string. 

We are so proud of Anthony Neil Tan and all that he as accomplished! Great job Anthony!

Introverted, Perceptive Students And How To Teach Them

This is part of a series of using Myers Briggs personality types in the classroom. For more information, click here. For information on how to figure out your student’s MBTI type, click here. 

Introverted 
Sensing 
Feeling 
Perceiving 

ISFP students are reserved and dedicated students. Their introverted personalities have a hard time working with others in big groups or spending too much time being social with friends. Their time alone is precious, but also never wasted. When given the opportunity of alone time, they are working on creating and building. 

These students are feelers, making them very sensitive to everyone’s emotions. They want everything to always be harmonious and struggle in classrooms full of contention or hard feelings towards each other. Their learning can be incredibly hindered by the emotional state of the room. 

Learning in a linear, organized way is not necessarily important to them. ISFPs can take in information sporadically and piece together what they are given, as long as it is given at a moderate pace. They also need space to be creative and use hands-on material. This is how they work best, by holding and utilizing the material presented. Math manipulatives are a powerful resource for ISFP students. 

When an ISFP student struggles with the information given to them, perhaps one of the most effective resources for them is alone time. This gives them the needed alone time to work through the material at their pace and how they process it best. 

ISFP students will end up in careers that are creative and don’t place them in a box. Experimenting is their passion, so scientific jobs are where they tend to lead, however, long-term goals may be hard for them. Making it through multiple degrees in college or certifications can be hard because they want to feel in the moment and go with what their gut is telling them right then. Freelance work is excellent for this personality type because of this. 

What are some ways you help your ISFP students in your classroom? How do ISFP students enrich your classroom environment? 

Read Aloud Books In A First Grade Classroom

First grade holds a special place in my heart. During my college years, I always said I would never teach as young as first grade, I wanted a job in fourth or fifth grade. However, a long-term substitute teaching job for first-grade students fell into my lap after graduation and I absolutely felt like I had to accept. It was nerve-racking and pushed me to my limits some days, but overall I grew from the experience and loved every minute I had working with those kids. 

While I believe that every age of the student should have the opportunity to learn through read-aloud, I especially loved reading them to my first graders, because the majority of the time it was their first experience hearing these books. Also, whether it was their first time or the 100th time hearing the text and seeing the illustrations, they still were full of excitement to sit down and read every day. 

Oftentimes I found myself reaching for picture books for these students, almost as if I was underestimating their ability to take in a more complex text while being read to because of their current reading level. There were a handful of students reading easy chapter books in my classroom, therefore anything longer than 20 pages seemed outlandish. It’s also a time commitment to read any book that takes longer than a day to your students. I was very wrong, and I am thankful for the day I came to this realization because after finishing the first chapter book I read out loud for them, and watching their excitement come to life for this book with their want of more information once it was over made me realize I should have been reading them chapter books from the start. Here are a few chapter books we especially enjoyed in that first-grade classroom, both whole class, and small groups. 

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White 

Wayside Stories From Wayside School by Louis Sachar 

Amelia Bedilia by Peggy Parish 

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Magic Treehouse Series by Mary Pope Osborne 

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

The day we finished Charlotte’s Web in our classroom, I had a handful of students crying silent tears for Charlotte the spider. Almost every student drew pictures of the animals and we hung them up throughout the classroom to remember this book that we shared together. We even had a movie day to watch the book come to life! Having a great read aloud in the classroom can be so rewarding and empowering to your students. 

What ways have read aloud books benefitted your classroom? What are some of your favorite read aloud books for younger grades?  

Photos by goodreads.com