To begin, and this is at the top of my list every year is engagement! When students are engaged, they're learning. Keeping student focus can be a tricky thing. Lots of things come into play: home life, content, and the manner in which it is presented just to name a few. You can't control a child's home life or the content you have to teach. You can control the delivery though! So don't be afraid to mix it up! Step out of the box and try something new this year!
One fantastic activity that is outside of the box is this Chrysanthemum activity by Beth at Adventures of a Schoolmarm. This activity incorporates parent involvement and technology. You can view the activity by clicking on the image.
Another thing I enjoy is using Knowledge boxes for my classroom. The knowledge box allows students to go over content and look at 6 different aspects of the topic and the assemble it and take it home and share with friends and family. In the past I have used Knowledge Boxes with my third graders for Science and Social Studies. I'm excited to incorporate them into first grade as I slide down this year and used them in phonics as well! You can check out the freebie of the short a Knowledge Box by clicking below.
The options are ENDLESS when it comes to fun and engaging activities! So get on Pinterest or Facebook and get to clicking. Then watch the learning in your classroom soar to new heights!
You can encourage through words, brag boards, and so many more ideas. One thing I am implementing this year that I think is an awesome way to encourage is brag tags! There are many places to find brag tags. I really like Angie Olson's and purchased her Mega Bundle to use. You can also find a freebie of some of her tags at the image below.
In the past I have used encouragement bracelets as well. Its great to put something on students arm to give them a chance to look down and see that encouragement. You can find those bracelets for free below.
To read more about encouraging students and communication with children in general you can check out my post on Smart Puppy Learning about Building Student Relationships by clicking here.
Finally, my number three on my wishlist is communication. In a world that is full of 24 hour ways to connect with anyone and everyone it is important to remember that we have an obligation to connect and communicate with parents, coworkers, and students...that's a BIG TASK! And I believe it is one that many of us are acutely aware of. So how do we do this?
- Are you going to use communication calendars in lower grades?
- Do you want to use the Remind101 app?
- Do you give parents your home number?
- Are you emailing a newsletter or sending a paper copy? Or do you even have one?
If it is one thing I've learned in fourteen years of teaching, its that you have to do what works for you. Find a strategy and stick with it. Pick something that you can find consistency with. For me, that is using a calendar to communicate with parents. Its also emails and text messages via my cell phone.
One tool I send home at the beginning of the year is a quick guide to provide a reference to parents of basic information they may need. I have a free apple version of this Quick Guide below, or there are other paid versions available in my back to school packets here.
To read more tips on Building Relationships with Parents you can click here!
Just as important as building parent relationships is peer relationships. When we function as a team, we all go farther...this extends to our coworkers. Open those lines of communication and foster those relationships by sharing and working together. It will come benefit you greatly to have those relationships on that day that you end up needing their help. When you have been their helping hand, then you won't feel nearly as bad asking them. Speaking of helping hand...how many of you are looking for helps with Sub Plans? I ran across this form the other day to help make a checklist for subs and thought I'd throw it in here because its FREE from Adventures of a Schoolmarm!
You can read more about Building Staff Relationships here.
I hope you will add these three things to your wish list this year as well and find great balance and success in your year!
I'm Tonja Irvine of Smart Puppy Learning and I have enjoyed sharing with you today! What are some other things on your wishlist for the year?