August 15, 2016

Back 2 School Blog Hop

Back to school season is here!  I have teamed up with 50 wonderful teachers to bring you great tips and ideas for classroom managment and organizational strategies as we head back to school.  I hope you will want to participate in this Back2School Blog Hop and Giveaway.  You can enter to win one of two great prizes.  We are giving away the chance to win a $50 TPT gift card and classroom resources from over 30 authors, including myself. 

These past few weeks I have been blogging with Back to School Teacher Tips.  I have talked about the five things I think are most important to devote attention to as we head back to school each year. Here are the links to those posts if you want to see them:

The one additional piece of advice or tip I have to share on management and organization is to keep yourself organized with a Teacher Calendar/Organizer/Planner.  It is so important to keep up to date on lesson plans, due dates, deadlines, events, and your "To Do" list.  There are many varieties out there for you to choose from. You can purchase bound versions from teacher stores, bookstores or Amazon.  Erin Condren has some beautiful spiral bound teacher planners. Teachers Pay Teachers has a variety of versions you can download and put in a binder.  Find one that works for you and be sure to use it every day to keep yourself organized.

Would you like a free calendar to use this year? It will help you to keep organized.  I'm offering a free download to those who are participating in our Blog Hop.  For a free copy, just click the link below to download this Editable Calendar to print and use.  

This calendar is part of my Editable Teacher Binder. The complete binder product will help you get organized this year.  It includes organzational printables to help you keep all of your forms and information at your fingertips in a binder.  Or some teachers like to make several binders to meet their needs: Student Information, Lesson Plans, Student Data, ect.  This packet makes organizing all this paperwork a breeze.  Click below to find out more about the organizing Teacher Binders


You can enter this giveaway to win one of two great prizes.  We are giving away a $50 TPT gift card and classroom resources from over 30 authors. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hop on over to the next blog, Setting the Standard - Inside & Out with Karen and Kelie, for more Back 2 School Tips! Click on the Apple Link below:

Until Next Time......

August 13, 2016

First Day of School - Back to School Teacher Tips #5

Back to School Tip #5
The First Day of School

Well, we are finally here.  The last in my series of blog posts for Back to School Teacher Tips. Today, I want to share some advice about the first day of school.  You want to  make a good impression on students the first day of school.  The key to this is to plan ahead and be prepared.  Then, when that first day comes you are ready to greet those bright shiny faces as they walk into your classroom. Here are some suggestions to help your day go more smoothly:

Greeting Students: Smile, shake hands and greet your students as they walk in your classroom.  This makes them feel welcome and helps them feel more at ease.  

Introductory Activity: Have an activity on their desks waiting for them or some instructions posted on the board/Smartboard for them to follow while they wait for all students to arrive and class to start.  You don't want them to just be sitting around feeling nervous. This is an activity I have had waiting for them on their desks. This page gives them something they can complete that will give you some information about them to begin building a relationship.  This activity is part of my 1st Day of School Packet that I sell on TPT.  (Click on the picture below.)

Icebreaker Activity: Help your students get to know you and each other.  Have an icebreaker activity prepared and ready.  One activity you might try is called Tangled Web.  Have students sit in a large circle.  You start by holding a ball of yarn, introducing yourself and telling the class one fact about you.  Then, hold on to the end of the yarn and throw or roll the yarn ball to another student across the circle from you. They say their name and a fact, hold a part of the yarn and roll the ball to the next person.  This continues until all students have shared and the yarn makes a tangled web figure. 

Classroom Rules, Expectations and Procedures: You want to begin to teach students these important expectations that I have discussed in my previous blog posts.  But, you don't want to just start going down the list on the first day telling them what to do.  You want to teach and model your expectations as they come up in your daily activities the first days and week of school. Start with your classroom environment. Briefly point out areas of your room, let them explore, but don't go into too many details until you are ready to use an area. Classroom rules are important for the first day, be sure to model and reinforce as much as you can this first week.

Read Aloud: Read-Alouds are important for the entire school year, but I think especially so on the first day of school.  Whether your students are in first or fifth grade, they love to hear their teacher read.  I always bring my students to the carpet, so they are close and can see the pictures in the book.  Some of my favorite picture book titles that can be read aloud on the first day are:

Grades K-2nd:
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
The Teacher from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler
David Goes to School by David Shannon
Tomorrow is the First Day of School by Maureen MacDowell
Amelia Bedilia's First Day of School by Herman Parrish

Grades 3rd-5th:
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Oh the Places You'll Go by Dr. Suess
Thank you Mr. Falker by Patricia Pollaco
Homework by Arthur Yorinks
This is the Way We Go to School by Edith Baer

On the first day of school, you want to set the tone for your class for the rest of the year.  Above all, relax, smile, have a great time and get to  know your students.  This should be a day to begin learning about your students and for them to learn about you.

For other back to school Teacher Tips, click on the links below:

Until Next Time.......

August 7, 2016

Meet the Teacher - Back to School Teacher Tips #4

Back to School Tip #4
Meet the Teacher

Each August, our school does a Meet the Teacher Night the Friday before school starts.  For an hour and a half, our building is open for families to come to our campus. Students get to see where their new classroom is and meet their teacher.  This is not the time when a formal presentation is made by administration or teachers (This happens a few weeks after school starts at our Open House/Grade Level Meetings).  Meet the Teacher is strictly a time for students to come up to school, see their new classroom, check out their new desk, and meet their new teacher. 

During this time, the classrooms are ready: All decorated, organized and looking great! This is another good reason we do this the Friday before school starts.  Since classrooms are ready, teachers can go home at the end of the day, relax and not worry about their rooms the weekend before school begins. (Like that stops them from totally not worrying.  NOT! But, every little bit helps.)

Since you get a lot of parents to attend during Meet the Teacher Night, here are some things you want to make sure and have ready for them:

1. Collect Names, Phone Numbers and E-mail Addresses:  Be sure to have some sort of sign in sheet that requires them to give you their phone number and E-mail address.  This way you have the most up to date information right at your fingertips.

2.  Find Out How Students will be Getting Home: You need to find out how students will be getting home from school each day. This is especially important to know for the first day.  You want to make sure they make it home safely.  I set out sheets like these for parents to put their child's name on.  They sign on the sheet that tells me how that student will normally be getting home.

3.  Sign-Up Parent Volunteers: This is a great time to get parents to volunteer to help out in your classroom.  Have a sign-up sheet or a form they can fill out to let you know how they can help you.  They don't always have to come up to school to volunteer.  Many parents work and cannot do that. I let them know that is not a problem.  I have lots of things they can do to help at home in the evenings.  They can cut and prepare centers and games, staple packets, assemble minibooks and so much more.  Some parents are able to come during the day and can volunteer on a regular basis.  I have them do things like reading with students, helping tutor with flashcards, put up bulletin boards, stuffing paperwork in student envelopes, etc. Some parents can only come every once in a while when they have a chance.  That works for me too, there is always something they can do to help.  Meet the Teacher is a great time to put some names in place to give you a hand.

4. Classroom Wishlist: Another way parents can help is to donate things you need for your classroom.  I'm not talking about the regular school supply items that they send with their child on the first day of school.  I'm talking about those extra things we never have enough of and have to spend our own money on: Antibacterial Wipes and Sanitizer, Sharpies, Crayola Markers, Colored Post-Its, Post-It Tabs, Laminating Pouches, Colored File Folders, Cardstock, Treasure Chest Trinkets and Treats and even Books for the Classroom Library.  It's worth asking if you even get just a few items. I set mine out with sticky notes and a simple sign.  But, there are many cute, clever ways to ask for these items. (Search Teacher Wish List Ideas on Pinterest) Here are a couple of fun examples from the ladies at Teach, Create, Motivate and Sweet Tooth Teaching.

If you want to set up a simple Wish List area in your own classroom here is a freebie for you.  Use this sign and some stickie notes to let parents know what you  need for your classroom. There are two versions.  This full page version and a half page version you can fold in half and stand like a table tent. This is a quick and easy way to hopefully get some great new supplies.  Click here to download

If you'd like some extra ideas and printables to help you during your Meet the Teacher Night, you may want to check out the products in this packet. Click the picture below to link to my TPT store and check it out.