Meet the Teacher


Back to School Tips

It's Labor Day weekend and you know what that means...time for Back to School!
While it's sad that summer is ending (and our freedom to go to the bathroom whenever we like), back to school is a time for renewal and fresh starts and ...excitement.
I thought I would share some Back to School tips with you to help you make this the best year ever!
first grade

My first tip is to get to know your students above everything else.  I try to live by this.  When students feel as if they are safe, cared for and loved, amazing learning happens.

relationships get to know your students

We play games, do class projects, have A TON of conversations.  I make sure I know  students names by the end of the first day.  I spend "alone" time with every student the first week.  I tell parents all the wonderful things I learned about their students and why they are so special.  

Next, we spend almost all of our time building community.  I want our classroom to feel like our school family.  

teacher tips

To create a family-like community, you must teach and model it!  The children are always watching you.  Whether it is interacting with a student, parent, principal, another teacher, the students are listening and modeling their behavior after you.  Display your positive, happy, kind self!  The students will emulate you.

love, acceptance in the classroom

We always tell students to treat others the way they want to be treated.  We all believe it.  The first month of school is all about teaching and modeling positive relationships.  Even if you get little teaching done, relationships are the backbone for learning and is my first priority.

Now for some teacher tips.

One tip is to arrange student tables or desks before you do anything else.  Think about what resources you want students to access regularly, whether it be supplies, word wall, anchor charts, or books.  Sit at student desks and make sure students can see the resources in the room.  Once students desks are where you want them, you can decorate the rest of the room.

If you are anything like me, you cringe when you see bulletin boards that are crooked or uneven.  Maybe it's just me, but hanging resources can take a lot of energy and be very difficult.  I used to get so frustrated doing so.  Now I hang everything using push pins.  I step back and decide whether I like the way it looks and is hung straight.  Once I get everything where I want it, I staple.  It makes hanging resources easy-peasy.

This next tip was a GAME CHANGER for me.  After years of replacing cushions, pillows, chair covers, etc, I discovered waterproof fabric shower curtains were the way to go.  No more worries about accidents or spills!  The liquid doesn't soak in!  This bench is covered with a $10 shower curtain and has been for several years.  What did I tell you?  Game changer!!!

word wall

This tip has helped my first graders so much.  When you are little, it is hard to copy- especially from afar.  I do have a regular word wall but I also have a portable word wall.  This way students can get the ring they need, take it to their seat, copy the word and put the ring back.  It gives them a little break, some movement, and helps keep students accountable.  I will never not have a portable word wall.  This particular one is in my Tpt shop.  It is editable.  It can be found here.  
Before I go, I want to leave you with a freebie.  If you are like me, you love creating a positive community.  One way I do that is through bucket filling.  I read several books on the topic.

Children really understand these books and grasp the idea.  It helps all students.  I read these every year. Students remember it years later.  I have a week long literacy resource in my Reading for Real pack hat includes reading strategies, vocabulary, comprehension activities and a craftivity.  I recently made this sort to allow students to solidify their learning.

If you would like it, you can download it!  Just so you know, 
the freebies that I share are hosted on Google Docs.  Google Docs is super simple to use.  Just click the link.
Once you are in Google Docs you will want to click on the white download arrow in the far right corner. Try to avoid the “open with” as that oftentimes will cause download issues.  Click the white download arrow and the file will download onto your computer and you will be able to save it to your computer!  Click here to get it.

I hope these tips help and would love to hear any other tips you may have.  Please comment with your tip!  

Happy Back to School!

first grade back to school

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