Connecting with Students: Love Languages

Have you read the book, The Five Love Languages? The first time I read this book, I felt the same way I did when I went to the eye doctor and was fitted with a pair of eyeglasses. Suddenly, I looked at the world in a whole new way. Everything was crisp and clear!

Gary Chapman, the author and marriage therapist, found in his practice that couples express and interpret love through five languages:
  •  Words of affirmation
  • Quality time
  • Receiving gifts
  • Acts of service
  • Physical touch. 
Love languages is a perfect tool for a teacher's toolbox. The principles of this book can help teachers connect with their students.

Think about your class to see if you can identify your students' love language.  Do you have a student that:
  • Greets you in the morning with a hug.
  • Wants to hold your hand when you walk to recess
  • Hugs you good-bye at the end of the day.
You can connect with this student by:
  • Putting your hand on the student's head or shoulder when he or she is waiting line to ask you a question and you are speaking to someone else.
  • Holding his or her hand when this student is the line leader.

A student with the gifts love language will:
  • Bring you heart-felt gifts to show you that he or she is thinking about you.  This student may spend his or her recess time picking dandelions to make you the perfect flower bouquet.
You can set up a special supplies box. Put fun supplies like glittery pencils, twistable crayons, or gel pens in the box.  Show your class an example of someone's paper who showed improvement, has neat handwriting, or wrote an amazing story.  Let this student use the special supplies box during work time.  The student will see using the special supplies as a gift - even though he or she doesn't get to keep the supplies.  Plus, you have the bonus love language of words of affirmation by sharing how wonderful the work was.

Students whose love language is words of affirmation will:
  • Tell you that you are their favorite teacher.
  • Write you notes and pictures
  • Compliment you as a person or your job as a teacher
Write a few words in this student's journal, tell them when you notice them doing something positive, or write a happy note like the one in the picture.  You can get a FREE COPY of the note in the picture.

The student with quality time as his or her love language may be the student asking for quality time in the wrong way.  Students who don't get their needs met at home, will try to get those needs met at school.  

Connecting with these students - giving them quality time - can be difficult when you have 20+ students.  With a little bit of effort, you can make it happen. Here are a few "stolen moments" that you can use with the quality time students (QTS):
  • Ask QTS to come to your teacher table before you begin calling reading groups.  Look at his or her writing journal or homework.  Ask him or her to tell you about it.  Just a few minutes can pay big dividends.  Your QTS goes away feeling connected with you and is now less disruptive.  Win!  Win!
  • Organize lunch buddy groups.  Once a week invite a group of students to eat lunch in your room.  Quality time doesn't always have to be one-on-one.  A small group like this will work, too.
How do you connect with your students?

Sources to make my blog post graphics can be found HERE. Click HERE to read my blog's disclosure statement.

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