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Showing posts with label back to school ideas for teachers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label back to school ideas for teachers. Show all posts

Helping Parents Help their Children Be Successful!

Communicating with parents can be tricky, especially when it comes to giving them advice! 

There's a fine line between "helping" and "making them feel inadequate." 

Helping Parents Help their Children be Successful: Here are some ideas to help keep communication open and share information with parents. Plus, there's a freebie!

So how do we help parents help their children?

We know that parents aren't experts, but we know they are experts about their own children! 

Plus, we know they love those children unconditionally, and would do anything to help them!

When giving suggestions, it's important that one doesn't put them on the defense. I prefer to use phrases like "experts say," or "recent research shows."

Another idea?  Pass the buck!


Have someone else give them the advice!

That's just what I've been working on: brochures to help parents help their children be successful! 

My first issue is the back to school edition, and it's free!

Helping Parents Help their Children be Successful: Here are some ideas to help keep communication open and share information with parents. Plus, there's a freebie!
It comes with ideas and suggestions for use, and can be printed in color or in black and white.

Helping Parents Help their Children be Successful: Here are some ideas to help keep communication open and share information with parents. Plus, there's a freebie!
Printing in black and white on colored paper is awesome!

Helping Parents Help their Children be Successful: Here are some ideas to help keep communication open and share information with parents. Plus, there's a freebie!

It might be a good idea NOT to send this home the first week of school when parents are overwhelmed with paperwork. It will be more likely to be noticed the second week of school!

I'd love to see what you think of these brochures... I'm working on the next edition and I'd love to hear your ideas!


These brochures are in a bundle, available here: Parent Communication:  Monthly Brochures for the Whole Year!


Helping Parents Help their Children be Successful: Here are some ideas to help keep communication open and share information with parents. Plus, there's a freebie!

Tips to Prepare for Parent Conferences

Just when you think you've finally got the routine down, it's suddenly time for Parent-Teacher Conferences!

 
Tips to Prepare for Parent Conferences: This blog post lists several ideas to help you be prepared and help those conferences run smoothly.


Honestly, I have a "love-hate" relationship for Parent-Teacher Conferences.  Why? Well, they certainly are a whole lot of work, along with late nights, which is the "hate" part. 

But sitting and chatting about little ones you care about with other people who care about that little one can be very enlightening, and very satisfying. 

Most parents I've worked with are really, really nice people! I particularly love it when I've already had a member of the family, and I get to "hang out" with parents I already know. (Of course, the down side to this, is that it's even harder at the end of the year to say goodbye to a family with whom you've had a 2 year relationship!)

Conferences shouldn't be the first communication you've had with a parent. Newsletters, personal notes and phone calls should have already happened so parents already know who you are.

I find being super prepared helps the conferences go more smoothly. I start sending home notifications requesting conference dates and times, and I send home this form for parents to fill out and send back before the conference.
 
Tips to Prepare for Parent Conferences: This blog post lists several ideas to help you be prepared and help those conferences run smoothly.
 

I find this form gives me a lot of information. Once I get the form back, I can start preparing my paperwork for Conference night:
 
 
Tips to Prepare for Parent Conferences: This blog post lists several ideas to help you be prepared and help those conferences run smoothly.

I've left this form a bit more flexible, since the kids and their needs are all so very different. The "strengths" and "need to improve" sections can be filled out ahead of time, and any questions from parents on the questionnaire can go into the "things to think about" section. 

As behaviors or struggles appear during the week before conferences, I'll be sure to run to my pile of conference notes and jot things down, so things will be fresh in my mind.

Tips to Prepare for Parent Conferences: This blog post lists several ideas to help you be prepared and help those conferences run smoothly.
 
1.  Keep a couple of bottles of water nearby. (I get very dry from all that talking!)
2. Post a schedule outside your door so parents are aware of your limited time.
3. Slip in a couple of extra meetings ("meeting with principal") or "meeting with Mrs. Smith")  These are your bathroom/ snack breaks. (See step 1... water!)
4. Keep a couple of chairs outside your door along with things for parents and siblings to do. I usually keep the children's writing folders in the hall, along with some books and blocks for the kiddos to use. Some people keep some mints outside as well. (Keep a few for yourself, too!)
5. Dress comfortably. Yes, it's important to look professional, but it's not "date night."  I keep a little extra makeup, brush, comb, and a toothbrush in my desk to freshen up, but being neat and professional looking is most important.
6. Don't hesitate to ask an administrator to sit in during a conference if you think there may be some challenges.  They're usually glad to sit in, and often learn a lot about your teaching and your students. Just warn the parents ahead of time.
7. Be sure to invite others who also work with the child, when appropriate: Title I, OT, PT, Sped, SLP, and even Art, Music, or Phys. Ed. 

Tips to Prepare for Parent Conferences: This blog post lists several ideas to help you be prepared and help those conferences run smoothly.
 
1. Smile and say hello. Show everyone involved where to sit.
2. Start by saying something positive about the child. That shouldn't be too tough, but it's important to start on a positive note.
3. One of the most valuable phrases I learned in my teaching experience was this: "he's working on..." If a child doesn't already have a skill, he's certainly working on it. It sounds so much better than "he's not good at..."
4. It's a good idea to have work samples nearby, especially if the child is struggling in some area.
5. Make sure you say something personal that has nothing to do with school. "David has such a nice friendship with Paul."
6. End the meeting by repeating something positive about the child. 
7. The following day, make a copy of your conference notes to share with parents. File your own copy where you can check it frequently.

Tips to Prepare for Parent Conferences: This blog post lists several ideas to help you be prepared and help those conferences run smoothly.



Tips to Prepare for Parent Conferences: This blog post lists several ideas to help you be prepared and help those conferences run smoothly.






 

 Be prepared and you will be successful!

 
Conferences: This blog post lists several ideas to help you be prepared and help those conferences run smoothly.

Five "MUST DOs" on the First Day of School

  Starting a new school year?

Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

A few years ago, I posted THIS

Six Things to remember on the first day of school: for novices and experienced teachers, some helpful reminders for that big day!

I listed six things that are important for that first day, but I want to mention some specifics that I make sure I do every year on the first day of school.
Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

1. Start with something that holds their interest, yet needs minimal instruction!

If your school is anything like mine, the kiddos stroll in bit by bit on the first day. 

As each child comes in, of course you'll need to greet them and tell them how glad you are to see them, where to put their belongings, and help them find their seats. 

Therefore the others need to be doing something that doesn't need your help.  Here are some examples:

1. Draw a picture/ write a sentence about themselves. (Depending on their abilities, of course!)
2. Clay or Play Dough
3. Explore manipulatives like Pattern Blocks or Cuisenaire Rods.
4. Puzzles. (at their level, of course!) 

I'm sure you can think of more!
 
Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

 2. Bathroom Procedure!

They do tend to get nervous about this, don't they? As soon as everyone is in place, I tell them what they need to do if they need to use the bathroom. 

Of course, I try to remind them about bathroom etiquette without being too "parent-like" about it..."Since you're second graders, you don't need to be reminded to wash your hands when you finish, do you?"

We have a bathroom in our classroom, so I show them how to lock the door for privacy, how the door unlocks automatically from the inside when you turn the handle, what do if the bathroom is in use (Knock!) what to say if you're in there and someone knocks, ("just a minute") and where to wait if someone is in there. (NOT near the door, since many are self-conscious about someone listening when they're in there.)
 
Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

3. Read to them!

I truly believe the most important thing we can teach children is the value of reading. Since in the younger grades, the kiddos are still learning to read, the most important thing is to teach them a love for books. There are a whole lot of fabulous "first day of school" books, but I always choose to read one of my very favorites.

Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day! 

Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

Why do I choose one of my favorites? Because it's important that the children see my passion for books. The above book images represent 3 of my very favorites. Every time I've read these, the children have LOVED the books, talked about the books, and looked for the books to read again themselves. I'm sure you have your favorites, too! Those would be the ones to read the first day.

Just be sure to keep it short. Remember, the children haven't had to sit still for a long time!
Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

Today's Math Lesson: Make a graph!

There are several children who worry about dismissal time. Will they find their bus? Will they know where to go? Will they find their way home? 

I try to settle those worries long before the end of the day by making a graph as our very first math lesson. 
Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!
This is the form I use that is specific to my school and my music theme in the classroom. You may notice we have no walkers, That's because it's a very rural community and there are no sidewalks!

One by one, I'll ask each student where they go after school, check it with my master list, then put their name on the list. (I already have a list, but I want to make sure THEY know!) The children can follow along on their own copy if they want, but I'll keep a master list. 

When we're done, the list might look something like this:
Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

Just to get their brains going, I'll ask a few questions (Which bus group has the most children?  Which bus group has exactly 3 children?) Then I'll encourage them to ask each other questions that can be answered by the graph.

Then we'll practice for the end of the day. I'll assign each group a "waiting spot" for the end of the day. I make it clear to each member of the group that they need to work as a team, and make sure all team members make it to the bus safely.

I know in some schools, teachers walk their children to the bus. In our school, the buses are called as each one arrives, and the teacher stays in the classroom while the others wait for their bus. Since I can't go with them, I count on them looking out for each other. 

What about Evan and Michael, who are the only ones from our class who ride those buses? I make it the responsibility of the whole class to make sure these guys leave on time, and I usually look to the nearby classes so they'll see someone they know is on their bus.  

Team work matters! 

Let's get them all home safely!

Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

5. Enjoy them!

If you're anything  like most teachers I know (including myself) you've wanted to be a teacher all your life. This is what you've always wanted to do! It's a very difficult job, but the rewards are totally worth it. Enjoy those children. Let them see how much you enjoy them. It's a win-win!
 
Five "Must Dos" on the first day of school: There are a whole lot of fun things to do on that first day, but these are 5 things I'll make sure happen every first day!

My "Not So Cute" Classroom


They're all over the internet this time of year: Those sweet, adorable classrooms with perfectly matched accessories and delightfully painted shelves, and cleverly decorated bulletin boards.  I admit, I love looking at the pictures of the "Pinterest worthy" classrooms, and imagine what it might be like with one of those classrooms. Seriously, if I win the lottery, I'll use some of the money to hire a decorator for my classroom.
 
My "Not so Cute" Classroom: I don't have the talent, eye for design, or money for materials that we see in Pinterest worthy classrooms, but my classroom has just what it takes!
 

My classroom doesn't look like these. First of all, I don't have the "decorator's eye" that these teachers have. Second of all, I don't have time to sand, paint, and decorate all the furniture in matching colors. Nor do I have the money. (Did I mention I was a single parent, still recovering from sending my daughter to college?) Third of all, I just don't have the time, since I'm busy teaching!


My classroom is real. 

It has furniture I have inherited over 40 years of teaching. 
My "Not so Cute" Classroom: I don't have the talent, eye for design, or money for materials that we see in Pinterest worthy classrooms, but my classroom has just what it takes!

Here are a couple of my chairs, both held together with duct tape. The top one is usually hidden by my desk, where I rarely sit, but couldn't live without, since it's where I pile everything! The bottom chair is a classic. It's one of the few adult chairs where my feet actually reach the floor. It looked great a couple of years ago when I covered it with duct tape. And over the years, it has earned the nickname, "The Drop Chair!" Seriously, anyone who sits in it eventually drops stuff!
My "Not so Cute" Classroom: I don't have the talent, eye for design, or money for materials that we see in Pinterest worthy classrooms, but my classroom has just what it takes!

You can see a corner of my desk here, nothing fancy. I went out and bought these cheap, plastic, white shelves, and have several throughout the classroom. They're not very sturdy, but I need the space. (I'm not completely unpacked yet, these are usually much more crowded with "overflow" from my desk!) Thankfully, these white shelves lighten up the classroom, and offer plenty of space!
My "Not so Cute" Classroom: I don't have the talent, eye for design, or money for materials that we see in Pinterest worthy classrooms, but my classroom has just what it takes!

Speaking of shelves, most of mine don't match. At the top, are some second hand metal shelves. Yes, they make noise when the kids bump into them. No, they're not all the same color. But if you look closely, you'll see all my kids' book boxes match, and I've got tons of great books!
 
My "Not so Cute" Classroom: I don't have the talent, eye for design, or money for materials that we see in Pinterest worthy classrooms, but my classroom has just what it takes!

 
My file cabinets. 
No, the green one doesn't lock. 
Neither do the others.
But they hold my stuff!

My "Not so Cute" Classroom: I don't have the talent, eye for design, or money for materials that we see in Pinterest worthy classrooms, but my classroom has just what it takes!

 
 The door doesn't work on my closet. 
When you turn the knob, two metal pieces just clang together. When I shut it, I have to tuck it in.
But it still holds my "job chart" just fine! 

My "Not so Cute" Classroom: I don't have the talent, eye for design, or money for materials that we see in Pinterest worthy classrooms, but my classroom has just what it takes!

 
 My rug was in another classroom before I got it. 
It has holes from pencils, and "permadirt". 
But it's still a comfortable place to sit and listen to stories and lessons.
My easel is new to me this year, but not new to the school. I have yet to get the 3 legs even. It's probably the only whiteboard easel in the school that is NOT magnetic. But it holds chart paper!
 
My "Not so Cute" Classroom: I don't have the talent, eye for design, or money for materials that we see in Pinterest worthy classrooms, but my classroom has just what it takes!

 
My desks don't match. They are covered in "permadirt" and scratches. The chairs don't match and aren't all good sizes for the kids I have. The legs aren't adjustable, so some kids will have legs swinging and others will barely fit their legs under their desks.
But I have enough desks for them all!

My "Not so Cute" Classroom: I don't have the talent, eye for design, or money for materials that we see in Pinterest worthy classrooms, but my classroom has just what it takes!

I have a number of shelves and tables throughout the classroom. None of them match, they could use a good sanding and painting or staining. But luckily I have plenty of places to put games, books, supplies, and, of course, children.

I'm still working on my classroom, and it's going to look a whole lot better than it does now. But I've learned not to compare my "hand me down" classroom with those "Pinterest worthy" classrooms. 

Why?

Because that's not what it's all about! Teaching is about the kids. We make the best of all we have, and my focus is always on the kids. I plan to keep them so busy learning and having fun that they won't even notice that our furniture isn't the best!

My "Not so Cute" Classroom: I don't have the talent, eye for design, or money for materials that we see in Pinterest worthy classrooms, but my classroom has just what it takes!

Ten Freebies, Dollar Deals, and Two Dollar Treats for Back to School!

Yes, you read that right, that's a full ten back-to-school bargains!

These bargains are designed to make your teacher life easier for back to school!

Ten Bargains for Back to School - These include parent communication, brain breaks, Science, Social Studies, literacy, and math freebies for 2nd grade.

These are some of the things that always help me through those first busy weeks of school! 
 

Ten Bargains for Back to School - These include parent communication, brain breaks, Science, Social Studies, literacy, and math freebies for 2nd grade.

Here's a Dollar Deal to help organize your literacy centers, including what the children do when they're not with you!

These cards are part of this more inclusive resource: 

Guided Reading and Literacy Center Management and Organization Resources

 
Ten Bargains for Back to School - These include parent communication, brain breaks, Science, Social Studies, literacy, and math freebies for 2nd grade.
 
We all know those children who struggle to learn sight words. This research-based $2 Treat will help!


For a more inclusive resource see:

Ten Bargains for Back to School - These include parent communication, brain breaks, Science, Social Studies, literacy, and math freebies for 2nd grade.

 
Here's a great way to keep communication open with parents, and give them some information that will help their children be successful!


Ten Bargains for Back to School - These include parent communication, brain breaks, Science, Social Studies, literacy, and math freebies for 2nd grade.

This system has helped many children master their basic math facts. This freebie is the first of 8 research-based, brain-friendly levels toward math fact fluency.


Ten Bargains for Back to School - These include parent communication, brain breaks, Science, Social Studies, literacy, and math freebies for 2nd grade.

Have your students mastered addition and subtraction facts? Move them on to multiplication and division! As with the addition and subtraction facts above, these are research-based and brain-friendly. This freebie is the first of 8 levels toward multiplication and division fact fluency!
 


Ten Bargains for Back to School - These include parent communication, brain breaks, Science, Social Studies, literacy, and math freebies for 2nd grade.

This Dollar Deal is a great way to start the year in Science and Social Studies.
 

For the full set of 9 enhanced activities see:


Ten Bargains for Back to School - These include parent communication, brain breaks, Science, Social Studies, literacy, and math freebies for 2nd grade.

  
Looking for some fun ways to get the children comfortable with each other and learn to work together? These 6 Dollar Deal Team Building Games are very popular!

These 6 games are included in:

These 20 games are included in the bigger set... this one will last you the whole year!

Ten Bargains for Back to School - These include parent communication, brain breaks, Science, Social Studies, literacy, and math freebies for 2nd grade.
  
I use these Dollar Deal tools as a "school office" with my students. These hands-on tools help children become independent learners!
 

These tools are included in the big bundle:


Ten Bargains for Back to School - These include parent communication, brain breaks, Science, Social Studies, literacy, and math freebies for 2nd grade.
 
 
This Dollar Deal is a fun way to get the kiddos thinking about their learning and how they can take charge of their learning.

 

Ten Bargains for Back to School - These include parent communication, brain breaks, Science, Social Studies, literacy, and math freebies for 2nd grade.

This one will help the kiddos get all those summertime wiggles out!

If you find these freebies and dollar deals useful, I'd love if you left some feedback!

I hope these bargains and ideas make your teaching life a bit easier!

Ten Bargains for Back to School - These include parent communication, brain breaks, Science, Social Studies, literacy, and math freebies for 2nd grade.


Ten Freebies for Back to School - These include parent communication, brain breaks, Science, Social Studies, literacy, and math freebies for second grade.


 

 





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