Teachers are gearing up for a great school year! I moved from first grade to kindergarten this year and had to move rooms. Well, after teaching for almost 20 years, let’s just say I had a lot of stuff. I threw out a lot and gave good stuff away to the new teachers. When I arrived toset up my new class, all my items were piled high in the center of the room. I had NO CLUE where to start and just stared at the pile for about 10 minutes. Then, I did aFacebook Live videoand got lots of sympathy, which motivated me to make my room into a “Learning Oasis.” I don’t even know why those words came out of my mouth on the video, but they did fly out like a bee attracted to Grandma’s perfume! So, I’m going to show you my before and after photos AND offer you 20% ALL DAY at myTeachers Pay Teachers storeon Labor Day, so you can start your school year off right! Thank you for teaching students (even the difficult ones.) You all inspire me to keep making new products. It’s because of all the dedicated teachers out there working hard that our society will expand into a caring community of self-motivated learners. Have a great year!
Making a great Open House for parents is actually pretty easy with all the tools and technology today. I like to use simple scavenger hunts for students to help show their parents around the room. Taking pictures of families helps keep you busy and not be too available for any “parent conference” type of conversations. I direct parents to the conference sign up sheets. I also don’t let volunteers come in the room until after Open House. In kindergarten, this helps the kids learn the routine without relying on parents. Some teachers create easy slideshows to show rules, routines or student’s pictures. I usually have a few All About Me items out, including an All About Me Journal where the parents are encouraged to sit and write a note to their child at the end of the night. Students make Mini Me Persons that I tape to their chairs that help the room look adorable! Smile a lot, and show off what you have helped their children learn in the short amount of time they have been with you.
Students in primary grade levels need all the help they can get at their finger tips. Desk name tags have always been used to help students discover how to spell their name with proper handwriting. I prefer to use tags that students can use in lessons as a reference. Tags that have the alphabet, numbers, colors and show right vs. left are some of my favorite useful tools to have at my student’s reach. We sing the alphabet and students point to each letter. We do the same with the numbers, colors and hands. I’m so glad that I waited a week to put the kid’s names on these tags because we were over-crowded and added a new unit in Kindergarten this year. What kinds of desk tags do you use in your classroom?
I teamed up with some of my FAVORITE Teacher Authors to giveaway SIX $10 TPT gift cards to help kick start your shopping for the TPT Boost sale (going on AUG. 22) at ANY STORE! Follow the link to enter and then leave a comment to let us know what you’ll be using your gift card for and, of course, share the LOVE and Tell lots of teacher friends! *****Giveaway ends at midnight tonight and all 6 winners will be emailed their gift card code first thing Monday morning! Good luck and have a great school year!
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!