Starting school for some students can be a rough transition. I have seen temper tantrums, full day crying episodes and disengagement from learning because they can’t stop thinking about home. These students do need some extra attention. To make the day smoother for all parties involved, I have a few tricks I’ll share with you to help ease the process.
First let the student and parent know that these reactions and emotions are normal. Every student adjusts differently to beginning school. Also, let them know there are steps each person can take help make school a positive experience.
A parent can try some role-play at home. Use puppets or stuffed animals and have them act out coping strategies. For example, “Lizzy doesn’t want to leave mom and go to school. What can she do to make herself feel better when she is gone? Maybe talk to the teacher or counselor.”
Parents need to make their “Goodbyes” quick. This is the MOST important advice I give parents. If a child sees you are upset too, or hanging around the class window, it validates their fear.
Parents should attend Meet Your Teacher events and visit the school for a tour prior to school beginning. Knowing your environment helps calms everyone’s fears.
Teachers can also do role play and other activities to let the whole class know how to solve normal stress in school. Ask other students how they deal with being away from home. The first week of school, you can read The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. Then, I send a home connection activity where parents add a picture and personal sweet message to their child. We refer to it all year, as needed.
Let children talk about their fears.
Have a “Safe Place” in your class, where a student can go when they are upset. Have calming breathing exercises, or some stress balls there for them to focus on to distract them from their fear.
Read books about other kids starting school. The Night Before Kindergarten or Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten are great books.
Do you want your students to SHINE this year? Children are so adorable when they are performing for others! This is a school play I’ve used with my whole grade level on our school’s stage. You can modify it to just your classroom. Whatever fits your needs. Jack Hartmann, one of my favorite musicians in education, has three songs in this play that your students can sing along to while making those parents snap photos! You can find his music HERE. If you are lucky to live in Florida, he will come to your school to perform. He is magical with students! There are 70 pages loaded with easy to follow step-by-step directions. You will also find signs for the students to hold, headbands, editable invitations, editable programs, poems, sign language and tips. It is nice to have parents stay after to eat lunch with their child. This way you can get them in to see the student’s classwork. It is loaded with suggestions to help you be successful. I hope your parents enjoy it as much as mine do!
If you like this one, I also have an ocean themed play I like to use at the end of the school year.
Are your students nervous to take that big test? Do you know a child who hates to speak in front of the class? How about a student who comes to school sleepy? Well, use these labels on your hand sanitizer, lotion bottles, or water mist bottles to boost their mood in a positive direction. I keep these on my desk and by the front door. Even though it’s the placebo effect, it works! You can find them by clicking here. I have schools who order them for the entire staff during state tests. Have fun creating the happy moods in your classroom! Print on a full sheet of label paper, cut and stick or use rubber cement to glue to a bottle after printing on copy paper.
Thank you to everyone who entered this giveaway. Over 4,000 of you entered and could use some Gift Card Love! We will do another Give Card Giveaway near the holidays. Remember today (Aug. 1st), and tomorrow is the HUGE TpT sale! Get all those goodies you have been waiting for in your Wish List for this school year. Visit my store at Teacher’s Brain Store!
***BACK TO SCHOOL GIVEAWAY*** Teachers… I have teamed together with some other awesome teacher authors to help start your school year off with some money in your pockets. Who knows…it could be YOU that earns the right to BOAST! Enter to WIN 4 awesome gift cards from Teachers Pay Teachers, Target, Erin Condren or Starbucks!!
Directions to WIN:
1. Follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram.
2. Like the giveaway post.
3. Tag three teaching friends.
4. Click the link in the profile to enter the giveaway! (Link goes live July 26th thru the 28th) Good luck! Link:Back to School Giveaway Link
I couldn’t be more excited to have the support of some fan”flippin”tastic teacher authors who are inspiring me along my Teachers Pay Teachers adventure. They are:
Are you still displaying a dull word wall that just stays glued to the wall all year, adding words, and hoping the kids look at it during their literacy time? Time to step up your game. Students need to touch, feel and interact with a Word Wall. This has been one of the best tools to teach reading and writing in my room since I changed my old way of using a Word Wall. Just print, laminate and hang letter squares in an area that is easy to grab it from the wall, take it to their learning area, and then they can put it back on the wall. Oh no, the words erased? That’s okay! If they do, ask a helper to put the words back on the board. It may look a little messy, but it is in use, exciting, and empowering them to use those sight words. I keep a small print out of the words next to the word wall for them to use, if they erase, so they can easily rewrite it correctly. They could even ask a friend. You can always fix it at the end of the week, if you worry about neatness. Here are some tips for using an interactive Word Wall:
I like to play games with the squares. Sometimes I mix the letters up, and see if the students catch the mix up. Then, I offer them a little award for being a good “Letter Detective.”
Another game I play is called, Swat the Sight Word. This is where I group students in two lines, give fly swatters and call out a word on the Word Wall. They both try to “Swat” the word and whoever gets there first wins a point for the team.
I highlight the vowels on the Word Wall, so students can easily identify them.
After laminating, make sure you leave a small portion around the paper when cutting to ensure moisture never gets into our paper.
Use Cardstock or glue to poster board to make it last longer.
We make up songs to go with each letter sound. “A, /a/ /a/ /a/ Apple, B….
“Box Up” the words, by drawing lines to show (low, high and medium) letters. We say the word. Then spell it with body movement. (squat down for low letters (like g), hands by your sides for medium letters (like e), and hands up high for tall letters (like t).
Find word families.
Don’t stick just to sight words. Students love to learn ROBUST VOCABULARY WORDS! (For example, hysterical or words from their interest areas like Survival or Creeper.) You will be surprised at how often they use them even in kindergarten!
So last week when I went to the Teachers Pay Teachers Conference in Orlando, I was able to meet Kayse Morris. She makes the most adorable high energy videos for teachers. I watched all of her videos while I was learning how to set up my own TpT store. Kayse had all the people who attended her workshop (LEARNshop, as I like to call them), make their first Facebook Live video right then and there. It was fun, but I quickly realized I better have something to say, no gum in my mouth and to pan the room much slower when I make future videos. I didn’t say much in my video and when I did, I mispronounced Kayse’s name… EMBARRASSING! So this week not only did I build a NEW blog, but I’m working on my first PLANNED video packed with teacher tips! Keep following my blog to see if it turns out helpful or hurtful.
Hello World! I attended my first TpT conference in Orlando, Florida last week. It was more than I expected. I was a little nervous about going to a conference all by myself. It didn’t take long until I met a lot of nice like-minded educators. I’ve blogged for years under RockingEducation, but after attending this powerful motivating conference, I realize it’s time to commit to TEACHER’S BRAIN as a blog spot! The work