Tuesday, May 19, 2020

5 Tips for New Teachers!

This past school year I was asked to be a part of our school's mentoring team. It was the first year they had actual teachers mentoring our first-year teachers! Crazy, right?! I think they've made a move in the right direction ;) 

 I was asked to speak at a Summer Symposium for all of the new hires in our school's complex. I was asked to share some tips with them in opening up the school year and to answer any questions the teachers had. 

So today I would like to share with you the 5 tips I have for any new/beginning teachers. 

In order to have a successful school year, it is so important to establish routines and procedures for EVERYTHING. Know exactly what and how you want things done. 

Be sure to clearly communicate these expectations to your students so they know exactly what you expect! 

Creating posters with your students and modeling these expectations are extremely helpful. Examples of what it should and should NOT look like help your students to know exactly what you mean.

For me, I like to type out all of the things that might happen on a daily basis and make sure there are clear expectations for how things happen. I also include this in my substitute binder, so that subs know what is expected at all times. 
This is an example of some of my expectations.

You can access a copy of the template I use and see the things that I create procedures/routines for here.

It is important to remain consistent throughout the year! Be consistent in your expectations of behavior, routines, procedures, and consequences. Consistency is key when it comes to classroom management! 

If you don't follow through with what you say you'll do, your students will not follow through on what they are expected to do. 

 Always have a plan for how your day will go! Know what you need to teach and have the materials prepared for your day's lesson.
Students can pick up on when a teacher is
unprepared, and they will take full advantage of it! 

With this, also learn to be flexible! Things will
always come up throughout the day or a lesson may not go as planned….and it’s okay!!

 Reflection is an important key in order to help
yourself to become a better teacher! Some
great questions to ask yourself are:
  • What went well during my lesson?
  • What could I have done to make it better?
  • What did the students have a difficult time with?
  • How could I improve? 
  • What will I do differently the next time?
Reflection at the ending of the school year is also important. 
Think about your year and choose one area that you feel you would like to really work on and improve in the upcoming school year. Find some professional development books, do some research online, and read blogs about that topic! 

Last, but above all, develop positive relationships with your students!

I will leave you with this video about the importance of relationships. 

Like Ms. Rita Pierson said in the video, "Kids don't learn from people they don't like". This could not be any more true!

I hope this post was able to help you prepare for your first year. 
Go out there and be a Champion for YOUR students. 

Give yourself grace. Don't feel that you need to do All the things you see on social media. Focus on these 5 tips and you WILL have a great year.

I'd love to connect with you via Instagram or Facebook. Be sure to stop by and say hello!

Good Luck, Keep Your Head Up and HAVE FUN! 

*You may also be interested in this post: 


Editor's Note: This post was originally published on July 19, 2015, and has been updated with additional information and resources. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Say Goodbye to Complicated Class Lists

Are you and your teammates tired of spending hours putting together your class lists? Are you looking for a quick, easy, and efficient way to sort your students and make next year's lists as equitable as possible? 

I remember dreading class list time. We used to get index cards for each of our students and had to color code and make little notes on each card based on academic rankings, 504/IEP plans, EL services, etc. We would physically sort them out into different groups and move them around a thousand times. We would have to separate the students who had the same first name, students who didn't get along, etc. It took FOREVER and we often overlooked things. Then, we would have to alphabetize all the cards, and then type up class lists to submit to administration. 
Thank goodness for technology, more specifically, Class Composer. Class Composer is an online program that will automatically sort your students based off of all the data YOU input for each kid. Once the initial lists are created, you can drag and drop students with similar "ratings" to balance out lists even more based on specific identifiers. 
What's even better is that if your entire school uses the program, the information you input on each kid will stay in the system from year to year. Those kids who can't be together in the same class will no longer get overlooked! Also, when your new lists get assigned to you, you can view it through Class Composer along with all the data and notes from the previous year's teacher. 
Here is a video to learn a little more about this amazing program. 
For more information, head here to check out their Frequently Asked Questions. 
Our school has been using this online program for the past 4 years. It has been SO EASY to use and the company offers fantastic customer service. When I called, I actually got to speak to one of the founders himself, so all of my questions were answered with ease. 
This post is not sponsored by Class Composer, but I am a HUGE fan. You can try out a free trial for your grade level by heading here
I'd love to know your thoughts if you and your team decide to try it out. 


Monday, May 4, 2020

End of Year Brochures: Tips for Your Future Students

Want to provide your students with something meaningful to do during the last week of school?
 Look no more, I have the perfect thing for you and your students! 

These End of the Year Brochures from your current students will provide your future students with great advice! 
At the ending of every school year, I sit down with my kiddos and we talk about all the things they've learned this year. We discuss what 'a piece of advice' is and what helpful tips are. They are then tasked with coming up with any information they feel is important for incoming 2nd graders to know based on what they've learned about our classroom and/or the 3rd grade. 
Once the kids are done, I collect the brochures and hold on to them over the summer. At the 
start of every school year, our school holds a Meet and Greet event where students can meet the teacher and drop off all of their school supplies. 
When kids come in, I let them choose a brochure. I share with them that it's a gift from my last year's student and recommend they read it for some helpful information. 
My former students always got a kick out of it that they designed a brochure. They will often come back to visit to find out who got their brochure :) 
Never before have I ever imagined we would be in the situation we are in now. Many states have been out of school since March due to the Corona Virus and many will not be returning for the rest of the year. Teachers have had to figure out 'distance learning' overnight, and they all continue to show up top-notch for their students every day. 
In an effort to help teachers out during this time as well as maintain a sense of normalcy, I have also made these End of Year Tip Brochures available digitally. I think that regardless of the situation, it will be nice for teachers to have this to pass on to their next year's kiddos. 
I've had to get creative with this one but I actually LOVE the way they've turned out. Students will create digital slides with their tips instead of the typical tri-fold brochure. You will then provide a link to student slideshows with a QR code and attach them to the student bookmarks. At the start of next year, you will hand these super cute bookmarks out to your NEW kiddos welcoming them to your class/grade. 
The Digital End of Year Tips come with already made templates in Google Slides. All your students need to do is add in the text and whatever pictures they would like :) 
There are 3 different color options available for you or your students to choose from. 
  1. I recommend assigning these to students through Google Classroom as it will be the easiest to give each student their own copy. 
  2. Instruct students to get creative! They can use fun fonts, colors, and add in photos.
  3. When they are done, select 'Publish to the Web' and check off the box that says "start slideshow as soon as the player loads". You will want to change the amount of time between each slide transition. 
  4. Grab the link and enter it into a QR Code Generator. Save the QR code under the student's name.
  5. Insert the QR code to the back of the student bookmarks.

Follow me on Instagram @TeachinginParadise for more ideas :) I'm much better about posting there than here! lol