Saturday, July 20, 2019

4 Things you HAVE to Do the 1st Day & 3 Things You Could Do!

Your room is ready, perhaps you have had a Back to School or Meet the Teacher night, the stage is set, it's go time! But wait what do you do on the first day? Wether it's your first day of teaching or your first day in a new grade the first day is important. It sets the tone for the year. There's so much paperwork and boring stuff but what do you really NEED to do the first day? Having taught for years and years I have learned what you HAVE to do the first day and what can wait.

Here are 4 things you simply must do (in my humble opinion).

Greet Your Students and Make them Feel Welcome

Any grade you teach this is essential! When students walk in your classroom on the first day of school you want to be at the door to greet them! I KNOW there are a million things to collect from them and other things to do but this is SOOOOOOO important! Have something grade appropriate for them to do at their seats to keep them busy while you greet each one at the door and let them know how happy you are to have them in your class! I also like to hand out a little token the first day like these "smarties". I constantly tell my kids they are smarties and hand them out for different reasons!

This is actually a freebie you can get by signing up for my newsletter! Just Click HERE to go to the sign up form!

 Begin Teaching Routines and Procedures

I know this seems strict but routines and procedures are key to classroom management and a smooth running classroom! I don't teach every procedure the first day but ones we need the first day are definitely taught! These include, how to come in the room, morning procedures, attendance and lunch count procedures, lining up, bathrooms, coming to and sitting on the carpet, cafeteria, recess and dismissal. I am a strong believer that children will try to do things the right way but how do they know if we do not explicitly tell them and model it for them. Even in upper grades, just because a student is in 4th grade doesn't mean they know how YOU want them to line up, what if their teacher last year didn't care if they pushed in their chairs, or didn't have flexible seating. New Year, New Teacher, New Classroom, NEW Procedures and Routines! Teach them how you want it done or don't expect them to know.

 Read to Them

This might seem like a given but I think it is SOOOO important in elementary to read to them from the very first day. It sets the tone that reading is super important! I think every teacher can agree with that not just me and my literacy loving self.
Check out THIS post for 7 of my favorite back to school read alouds.

Get to Know Each Other 

This might seem like another given but sometimes the first day or few days can be so hectic with paperwork and everything else that slips to the wayside when it should be front and center! Getting to know your students and beginning to build relationships with them should be your top priority. One activity I like is Jitter Beans which is in my First Day Jitters Reader Response Activities.

Wether you use this activity or something else start getting to know your students! Those relationships are everything. Whew,  glad we shared that! Now here are 3 things you could do to really make their first day amazing! Beyond fabulous the best first day ever! And Really I did these things almost every year!

Take their picture!

Your students (and their parents) will love having a picture of them! The pieces to make this frame are in my First Grade Back to School Activities

 Make Memories or Goals

A great way to start the year is by starting a memory book to keep track of all the memories you make this year or data notebook where they can track data and write down goals. I did memory books in K-2 and Data Notebooks with Goals in 4,5,6.

Engage Them!

Have fun with your students! I know the beginning of the year can be stressful with all of the paperwork and lack of sleep but capturing their hearts and engaging them in a variety of ways the first day is a surefire way to set a wonderful tone for the year. Play music, do GoNoodle, paint or do a STEM activity give them something to go home and tell their parents that today was the Best First Day of School ever and this year is going to be THE BEST ONE YET!

Saturday, May 25, 2019

3 Ways to Encourage Attendance!

Hiya! Is attendance a focus in your school district? It is a HUGE focus in mine!  My current school has struggled with attendance in the past and I have found that upper grades are more of a struggle than the lower ones.   My principal came to me and asked me to research some things to encourage attendance school wide so I came up with a few things we have implemented to help increase our attendance. So I have 3 ways to encourage attendance in your class or school! Use one, two or all of them!

The first thing I implemented was tracking attendance in our Data Notebooks.  I use Data Notebooks to track all kinds of things and set goals so Attendance is just one more thing we track and set goals for. In upper grades students are more capable of taking ownership of their attendance even if their parents aren't.

This is part of my data tracking sheets resource on TPT that  you can find HERE!

The second idea was a school wide attendance trophy with a small incentive for each child in the class.

The trophy was donated from a local shop and was open so we could add small snacks or rewards. Here is ours the month we won! This could be announced monthly weekly, for best attendance or even most improved!

The third activity I did was printing PERFECT ATTENDANCE on pieces of red paper and every day that everyone was here I added a letter until we spelled it out and the class received an award something free like lunch in the classroom or extra recess. They loved this and it cost me nothing!
For this activity and more attendance resources click the cover below to go to my TPT store and snag awards, incentives and more!


Monday, May 13, 2019

5 of my favorite Read Alouds for the end of the School Year and a FREEBIE

Hiya! Today I'm sharing my favorite read alouds for the End of the Year.  These are 5 of my favorite books to read aloud the last week or day of school. There are so many good end of the year books but these are my top 5 in no particular order.

 (this post includes Amazon affiliate links, which means I get a tiny amount if you click on one of the books and choose to buy it.) Just click on the picture of any book to add it to your Amazon cart.

1.  Last Day Blues by Julie Danneberg
This might be my favorite other for any grade other than Kindergarten just because it's so funny and I always read it's counterpart First Day Jitters at the beginning of the year. I love it so much I created an entire unit to go with it! The students in Mrs. Hartwell's class are so worried about their teacher with the end of school looming. Whatever will she do without them? Little do they know teachers love summer vacation too! Click the cover picture below to go to TPT and grab this fun Reading Unit to go with this book!

2. I Knew You Could by Craig Dorfman
This sweet book has a Little Engine that could vibe with a twist of Oh the Places You'll Go. It talks about how far they've come and how they've gained skills to help them face knew challenges. It's a celebration while still looking forward!

3. The Wonderful Happens by Cynthia Rylant
This book while an oldie is new to me but I had to include it because it's just precious. It talks about how things become what they are by saying the wonderful happens including you! It is a fun way to look back at the year and revisit all your students have learned to help them become the learners they are now!

4. The Night Before Summer Vacation by Natasha Wing
A fun book in this series took look ahead at the student's plans for summer! Cute rhyming text and sweet family vibe. It's a light but fun book to read perhaps after one of the tear jerkers!

 5. Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the Last Day of Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
I read this for 5 of the 6 years I taught K and cried like a baby every time. I also gave my students a penny and a kiss in a baggie like in the book!

And I made a FREEBIE for you to do the same thing!
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    Thursday, December 27, 2018

    Anchor Charts

    I know I'm no Amy Groesbeck but I do love a good anchor chart! Anchor charts are more than a chance to show off your artistic abilities they should truly anchor student's learning. They should be made at least partially with students and be up for students to reference while learning about a topic. They can also be used for data tracking and classroom management. Here are just a few of mine.

    Upper Grades Literacy Rotation expectations. In lower grades I had a chart for each.
    When is it ok to interrupt the teacher?
    Displaying on focus wall - abandoning book upper grades
    upper grades just right book
    Ask and Answer Questions
    Synthesizing overview
    Synthesizing Smoky Night - interactive anchor chart with student sticky notes over course of reading the book
    Interactive Olive the Other Reindeer Character, Setting Problem Solution
    Character Traits inside and outside with Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse
    Making deep connections.
    Phonics - two vowels go walking
    Bossy R Phonics
    One of my favorites! Phonics OU OW vowel with bandaids!
    Writing - revising and editing colors.
    Beginning of the year upper grades Student input what do you need to be successful?
    How do you feel - emojis!
    Behavior management - does it cause a problem?
    Guest or substitute teacher Miss Nelson is Missing
    Data Tracking
    Interactive Share Your thinking, exit ticket, quick check, formative assessment!
    Topic, Main Idea, Supporting Details
    KWL focus topic Moon tied to ELA fiction and nonfiction Kitten's First Full Moon and the Moon book by Gail Gibbons.
    Claim Evidence Reasoning Scientific Explanation and Argumentative Writing upper grades
    100th Day Ms. Miller shouldn't have to say!
    Fruit - persuasive writing 1st grade, the best fruit is!