I Started A ‘Need Box’ In My Classroom, And It Was My Best Teaching Decision Yet

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“I’m trying something new in my classroom. I’m calling this my ‘I need’ box.

I set it out with notecards and pencils. If a student needs something they are not comfortable voicing aloud, they can write it on the notecard with their name and put it in the box. I’ll get back to them about it before the week is done.

Some examples of needs may include:

I need help on a lesson we’ve already completed.

I need school supplies.

I need help with a friend issue.

I need help in another class.

I need a hug.

I need to talk to someone about a situation at home.

I need to change seats.

I need help with a bully.

I did it because I just want to let my students know I’m there to help them with anything they need.

Here is how it’s gone so far…

The first week, two boys let me know about a bullying situation. We got it taken care of.

The next week I changed the format a little and starting having EVERY student put a card in the box every day. They didn’t have to write on it, but every student visits the box daily.

Since then, I’ve had a plethora of ‘needs’ submitted. They range from specific supply needs, seat changes, special handshakes when entering class, after school help, bullying situations, and even daily hugs.

Note card student wrote for teacher that says, "I need a hug cause I am sad"
Courtesy of Julia Brown

What’s even better is students are starting to come to me directly with issues and challenges they are having, bypassing the box completely.

Note card student wrote for teacher that says, "can I move seats because I cannot see the board"
Courtesy of Julia Brown

I’ve been teaching middle school for 15 years, and I can honestly say this is the best thing I’ve ever done to reach my kids this early in the school year.”

Box wrapped in wrapping paper on table teacher set out for students to write notes to her that they don't want to say out loud
Courtesy of Julia Brown

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Julia Brown. You can follow her journey on Facebook. Subscribe to our free email newsletter, Living Better—your ultimate guide for actionable insights, evidence backed advice, and captivating personal stories, propelling you forward to living a more fulfilling life.

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