It’s Time

It’s that time of year again. Our students will be walking into our freshly decorated classrooms tomorrow morning. They will come in wondering about this new person who will take a new place in their hearts, wondering if they will be accepted, wondering how this new year will unfold.

For many students it is a time of nervousness. Nervous about making friends. Nervous about passing “the test.” Nervous about being bullied. Nervous about how their lives will change.

Many of these very issues are fostered by the teacher. Whether or not we realize it, we, the teachers, are the ones who make the biggest difference. By the way we say hello, by the way we give a compliment, by the way we correct a mistake…these can make or break this precious soul who sits in a chair, waiting for acceptance.

What if it was YOUR child? Would you want him to be loved? Would you want him to succeed? Would you want him to belong? I know I would.

So tomorrow as you see the faces streaming through your door, be sure to make them feel that they are a part of something good, a part of the class, and a part of you.

And when you do, you’ve already own half the battle…in just one day.

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Welcome Bunting

I finally got my WELCOME bunting up on my wall. I think it turned out cute! I’m not crazy about the shininess of the laminating, but eventually the triangles will straighten out and not have as much sheen. I’m probably going to take them down over the weekend and set them under some books to flatten those puppies out! The more I look at it, the more it kills me. I’m not OCD… 😉

Just wanted to post a quick pic of some progress. I’m getting more charts up, so I will post updated classroom pics soon!

Interested in making your own bunting? Stay tuned for a tutorial! :)

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First Day of School 2013

Whew! It’s over! And everyone for home to the right place. That is enough to call it success, right?

I’m extremely tired and ready for bed, but I thought I would drop in to say that the first day back with kids was really good. I only had to move one student from his original seat (I let them choose the first day–I’m crazy, I know) due to excessive talking. Both of my classes almost got finished with our Social Contracts. All that is left is signing our names and adding borders to make it final.

Most importantly, these students were very respectful and listened as I stated my goals for us this year. I told them that I don’t expect them to LOVE various subjects, but I want them to have the confidence and willpower to try new things and all challenges I put forth.

I told them that it is ok to not know, but it is not ok to not try. I also made it a point to explain that it is ok to make mistakes–EVERYONE makes mistakes (“…except Jesus!”–from a few kids), but it’s what we learn from our mistakes that makes us stronger.

Hopefully they take the message to heart because I meant every word of it.

As I said yesterday, this is going to be a great year! I have lots of sweet kiddos, and I’m looking forward to learning and growing with them.

That’s all for now. Going to bed. Need to be ready for another day tomorrow. Until next time…

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Kids Tomorrow!

Eek! The kids come back to school tomorrow! Summer is officially over. *sigh*

This will be a great year. Tomorrow marks my sixth seventh first day back! I can’t believe it. Wow, how time flies when you’re having fun!! 😉

My goals for this year:
1. Be organized every day! Take the time to clean up, put away, and sort things in an organized way.
2. Remain patient. I usually do a great job at this, but there’s always room for improvement.
3. Stay positive. I get in ruts sometimes where it feels like the world is caving in. You know, after the kids bomb that test you just knew they would ace or administrators tell you that you aren’t working miracles need to do more. It’s hard not to hang my head, but it always works out in the end.
4. Listen more. I like to talk. I come by it honestly. (Sorry, Mom, but it’s true!) I want to make an effort to shut up and listen to others.
5. Enjoy it. I haven’t had trouble with this–well, other than having to leave my newborn to go back to work–but I want to continue to enjoy my job, have fun with my students, and soak up their innocence and love for life. I don’t want to become one of those sour old teachers who despise every second on the job. (You have one of those in your head right now, don’t you?! We all know at least one!)

Tomorrow I put these goals into action and begin a new journey with new kids. And it will be great. :)

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Back To School I Go

Tomorrow I go back to work after a nice summer break. I always wish I had “just ONE more week,” but I’m also sort of secretly excited. The beginning of the year is always full of anxiety, hope, excitement, nervousness, panic…did I miss any? 😉

I’m almost ready for my classroom reveal. This week is only for teachers, and we have some time to finish up our rooms before “Back to School Night,” so I spent my last few days of summer away from my classroom.

I will be posting pictures soon. Hint: I’ve incorporated my black, blue, and zebra “theme.” I’m not really a theme person, so I decided to stay simple. 😉

For all of you that go back to work tomorrow, may the force be with you!! And for those that are already teaching your hearts out, we are right behind ya! :)

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Teacher Week 2013: 5 Tips & Tricks of Teaching

I’m linking up with Blog Hoppin’ again for the last linky party of the week.

Teacher Week

Today’s topic is tips and tricks that teachers use to help get us through those first few weeks of school.  Some of these things last all year, of course, but others are implemented at the beginning of the year for the most part.

photo 11. Social Contracts:  On the first day of school, I always create a social contract with each group of students.  I don’t like to give rules to my students.  Instead, I let them set the rules, and social contracts make this go much smoother.  I’ve found that the students are actually harder on themselves than I ever would be, and they always come up with the same rules that I would give them, but just worded in their own words.  For more information on how to manage this activity and some of the thinking behind it, click here –> Social Contracts.

2. Build the Climate: I like to have several class building and team building activities for the first few weeks.  Even though these students have been in school together for awhile, there are always new students that move in and others that are very shy and need help getting to know the other students in the room.  Kagan is a WONDERFUL resource for these activities.  My favorites are inside/outside circle, 4 corners, and think-pair-share.  I try to sprinkle these throughout the day.

3. Hand Shakes: Many teachers (and the school nurse) think I am absolutely crazy for shaking my students’ hands when they walk into my room every day, but I don’t care.  Teaching in a school with 78% of students coming from a low socioeconomic background means teaching things that aren’t on “the list.”  Shaking hands is a lifelong skill that these kids need to learn.  I think it also helps build that positive climate that we are all wanting.20130731-174532.jpg  For more information about this and the workshop where the idea was presented, click here –> Capturing Kids’ Hearts.

4. The Safe Place: In the back of my room is a special place where students can always go if they are angry, sad, or upset.  It’s nothing fancy, but a place for students to be away from all other students when they need it the most.  There are several ways to go about setting this up in your own classroom, and you just have to do what works for you.  I choose to put a bed pillow on the floor with a seat cushion and lots of stuffed animals to hug.  For more information on how to manage and implement your own “Safe Place,” click here –> The Safe Place.

5. Organization: One of the BEST ways to waste less time and get more bang for your buck is by staying organized.  This is where I have the most trouble.  I don’t have a problem starting the year organized, it’s keeping it that way!  I’m getting better and better at it, and this year I WILL stay organized all year.

Oh, and one more thing: KEEP SMILING!! The best medicine for any situation is a smile.  Breathe, relax, and remember: “This, too, shall pass!”  :)

Do you have any additional thoughts?  I would love to hear from you!

I wish all of you the best of luck beginning a new school year!

teacherweek2Head over to Blog Hoppin‘ for additional tips and tricks!

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