Your 2014 Fresh Start
These 5 easy tips are guaranteed to recharge your classroom and start your new year off on the right instructional foot.
- Get organized: Purchase inexpensive book boxes to store center games, house student work portfolios and hold daily work. Target has several cute prints and patterns in a wide variety of colors. Print labels for easy organization. Revisit rules and procedures: Students need time to get back into school routines. Review rules and behavior expectations. Practice daily procedures such as lining up, walking quietly in line and transitioning from one activity to another. Turn this procedure practice into a game by timing class, encouraging them to beat previous practice times. Check out our Routines, Procedures and Transitions Toolkit for additional ideas on how to teach, model, practice and reinforce important systems and routines.
- Encourage parental involvement: During the first week of the new quarter, invite parents to help at school. This could be working with small groups, filing paperwork or prepping materials at school (or home). Work schedules often change after the holidays which can lead to new opportunities for parental involvement. Grandparents (and other relatives) often love helping in the classroom as well.
- Planning ahead: Instead of waiting until Sunday afternoon to plan lessons for the week, use a planning template to create an overview of upcoming units, standards and activities. The template should serve as a working document, easily modified to accommodate instructional needs that might arise. This will save you endless hours of last minute preparation and put an end to stressful Sundays.
- Work-life balance: Teaching can be all-consuming. Be mindful of your work-life balance. Schedule daily down-time into your calendar. This could be as simple as a bubble bath or 30 minutes of leisurely reading. Relaxation is critical and makes you a much happier, productive teacher.