Be honest. You either LOVE the first day of school or hate it. As a teacher, it’s a fresh start to get back to spending quality time with these little darlings. For us, it’s always a chance to correct things we did in the past and start all over again, but there are ten things we do on the first day of school that help our whole year run smoothly. Turn back to school into a great time of year for you and your students. Keep on reading to find out how to make your first day back go smoothly.[Read more…] about 10 Things We Do On the First Day Back to School
Back to School
Do your students write goals? It can be an effective way to have students learn to take responsibility for their behavior or learning. We tried something new this year. Students chose a power word instead of goal.
Back to school is a great time to be reflective about past years in school and what positive changes you and your students can make to have a wonderful year together.[Read more…] about Back to School Power Words
How do we create a classroom community where all students feel they are equal and belong? It turns out we’ve had more combined grade classes that straight grade classes since we began teaching, so we can’t imagine teaching any other way. First of all, we call it a combined class rather than a split class. It’s the first thing we do with parents because our combined classes are not like the old ‘split’ classes.
When students come into our classroom on the first day of school they immediately collect into two different groups-the lower grade and the upper grade. They don’t know each other well and like to sit with their friends. We don’t give students a seating plan right away (or sometimes at all) so we can see which relationships form or are already in place, but then we slowly start changing their mindset about the combined class.
So, what are our secrets?
Imagine a classroom where the students monitored themselves-and not in that “hall pass police officer” type of way. Imagine a classroom where students encouraged each other to keep the room tidy, put things way and treat each other with respect.
It’s possible, because each year we turn out a classroom full of polite and respectful students, but it takes work. Students need to be taught how to make decisions that are positive and what to do when they make a mistake. Creating a sense of agency is just as important as all the math and reading skills. It’s the key to classroom management. Want to know how?[Read more…] about Creating a Sense of Agency
It’s the first day we’ve been allowed to reenter the school after a major renovation. It’s a disaster. Nothing we carefully packed up and labeled before summer break has been returned to the rooms they once belonged and school starts in ONE day! Yup! You heard that right.
What a nightmare! But fortunately we worked with the most amazing staff on the planet and came up with a solution to bring everyone’s anxiety level down to a manageable level. We hosted a walking set-up bus.
Here’s what we did. [Read more…] about Host a Walking Set-Up Bus
At the beginning of the school year we work hard to teach students some basic courtesies to make everyone happier and keep students responsible for their learning space. these are five basic things we teach repeatedly during the first month of school to our upper elementary students. We also want to stress that just because this is how we do things, doesn’t mean these procedures will work ‘as is’ in your classroom. Feel free to solve the issues in your own way. [Read more…] about Save Your Sanity- Five Courtesies to Teach