Polar bear, Reindeer and Penguins...OH MY! 5 Ideas to use to Teach about Animals of the Polar Region

Learning about animals of the Polar Regions always sparks a strong interest in young/er children. This Non-Fiction Report Writing Fun Activity for December or Anytime is fun easy to follow and ignites that motivation to learn!
Young children LOVE learning about Animals of the Polar Region especially Reindeer, Polar Bears and Penguins. Winter would not be complete in my classroom if we did not at least read a book about these animals.

So... I would not feel complete without sharing some ideas that I have used or found to support your kiddos so they can have fun learning about these unique animals!

So here are some tested and tried fun ideas to add to your lessons about Reindeer, Polar Bears and Penguins!!!

1:  Let's not forget this:  Animals of the Polar Region: Reindeer, Polar Bears and Penguins


This Non-Fiction Report Writing Fun Activity for December or Anytime is fun easy to follow and ignites that motivation to learn!


This mini unit includes fact cards, written in kid friendly language, about Polar Bears, Reindeer and Penguins and encourages children to explore in further depth information about the these animals.











2:  I absolutely love this Polar Bear Paper Plate mask. 

It is easy and fun and if you want to add a little creative fun to these report writing activities provided above, why not have those 'Polar Bears" present their reports while holding up or wearing these mask??? doesn't sound like something you might want to do? Then, just make the masks, put black circles for eyes and tack the reports below the paper plate polar bear after it is shared!!!


⛄ 3:  If you are looking for a cute, easy to create, paper plate penguin, this could be it!

Just think how cute this would look hanging with those reports or whatever you decide works best for your students. You can also add some google eyes for a personal touch!! Too cute or what?


4:  The most popular reindeer in the North Pole is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, but of course not all reindeer have red noses!!! 


This cute easy to create paper plate craft has an adorable red pom-pom nose, but if you want to change it up and make a regular ole reindeer, then just simply add a black pom- pom nose!!! Easy and cute...that's my style!!


5:  Are you looking for some books to enrich this mini unit? 


Here you go! Check out your school or local library for some of these titles!!


No matter how you present or use these ideas, your kiddos will absolutely LOVE learning about Animals of the Polar Region!


3


your photo name

What is Growth Mindset and How do we Encourage a Growth Mindset in our Classrooms?

What is Growth Mindset?

When Growth Mindset first became a buzz phrase in education, I was already retired, but many of my colleagues and my family have told me, since,  that I have a Growth Mindset.

Before this phrase, I was considered to have a positive, motivated personality where I never seemed to give up until I figured it out... so to speak... and I always took risks in my learning and teaching ...now to me and some others...those characteristics might be considered to be an obsessive compulsive type A personality, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that continuously thinking positively about situations and realizing that all things are possible if you try hard enough to achieve them, I am thinking Growth Mindset is just that!



Within your classroom, you can probably categorize your students into 2 or 3 basic groups: 


1.  Those that may not have the ability or talent, but consistently strive to do better and have the attitude that "I might not know it NOW, but if I keep trying, I will get it and be there."

2.  Those that have a strong ability and keep trying to get better and better, set goals and do their best to achieve those goals accepting the setbacks,but keep on trying.

3.  Those that have a fixed or closed mindset in that they just feel like they will never be where the others are and give up pretty easily and are overwhelmed or their spirit is devastated when they cannot do something or get what they need or want.

I am sure there may be more categories, but basically speaking, and I am not an expert on this topic, there are Growth Mindsets and Fixed Mindsets.


Think about it...I bet you can tell me exactly which of your family members fall into which category.


When students believe they can do something, they recognize that effort or consistently trying will make them better. That being said, they will put in extra time and effort, and that will lead them to higher achievement and success with their goals....simply put that is the foundation of a Growth Mindset!

According to Carol Dweck after studying the behavior of a plethora of students, she and her colleagues noticed that some students will move forward without a thought and others were crushed or overwhelmed by the smallest mistake or set back.

Dr. Dweck created Fixed Mindset and Growth Mindset to describe the basic ideas people have about learning and intelligence or the ability to think and learn. (If you search Carol Dweck, you can find much research and articles on the topic of fixed and growth mindset...here is a great video to watch: The Power of Believing you can Improve)

I have always tried to have a Growth Mindset or in my case, a positive outlook and have encouraged and supported my own children and my students to embrace this thinking.  It is easy to say, “You can do it!” but more important to show or demonstrate how they can do this by getting students to think metacognitively or in other words, to think about their thinking and change their thinking from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset...or believing they can do it instead of They CAN'T do it!)

That being said, how do we achieve this type of thinking...or...Encourage a Growth Mindset in our classrooms? 


๐Ÿ˜ŠSelf Talk:                

Self talk can support your thinking in that what we "tell ourselves" is usually what we believe. So if you think you can do something, you usually will eventually be able to accomplish it.  

Now... that is not to say that it will happen magically, but it is to say that "hard work pays off!" Encourage this type of "talk" with your students and your own children!



๐Ÿ˜€Encouraging Words:  

As teachers, we need to support our students with positive language and encouraging words.  Use statements; such as:


You may feel like you can't do it right now, but if you study those words those words and work hard, you will eventually remember how to spell them!


Also: "I know it is hard sometimes to keep your hands to yourself, but if you remember to STOP and think, you will be able to control your actions."

Maybe you might try something like this:  " You might not be able to do this math problem right now, but my job is to teach you how to do it...so with my help you will learn this!"

Everyone can use a bit of encouragement in everything we encounter in life!


Let's remember to change, "I can't into I can't do this YET!


๐Ÿ˜Š Encourage Support that enables our students to gain confidence in their abilities to be Independent:   

Now that is a lot to think about...but what I am saying is not to help your students and children so much that we enable them to be helpless and always count on us to do it for them.

In other words give them responsibilities and support them as needed...don't do it for them, but scaffold the learning of a task or break it into manageable parts to build confidence.  I think you get what I mean...at least I hope you "GET IT!"

So...you give your students the tools needed to be successful with the task or concept and you show them how to do it, but allow them the time necessary to master the concept!


That may mean to differentiate your lessons as needed in order to show students they CAN DO IT!


It also means to show your students their growth...set a goal for a concept, set the steps to reach the goal and then show where they are in the beginning of a learning experience, where they are as they are learning a concept and then the end result or when they reach their goal.  This encourages a Growth Mindset and demonstrates with hard work you can achieve your goals.

This can easily be done with sight words, kid writing, math facts and really any learning concept or goal!


Here is a student using a sheet to set a goal, write how she feels and thinks about it,what steps she needs to take to accomplish her goal, which is to ride a two wheel bicycle, or she makes a plan and then she responds how she will feel when she achieves this goal!

๐Ÿ˜Š Encouraging Students to be Responsible: 

In my former classroom, I always assigned important classroom jobs to encourage responsibility in that if a child did not complete his/her classroom job, our classroom would not run as smoothly as it should.

Everyone had a job and an important responsibility in the morning and afternoon. If they forgot, we talked about how everyone makes mistakes and it is okay, tomorrow is another day and you have another chance to try it again...the next day,when the child remembered his job, imagine how s/he felt...you guessed it proud and confident and guess what s/he learned?  YEP...I can do it and it is ok to make a mistake...we learn from our mistakes!  they also learned that if we all work together we can accomplish a goal...in this case...making our classroom run smoothly!  Something as small as this can encourage a growth mindset.



๐Ÿ˜€Hearing Success Stories: 

Just hop on the internet and you will find many true stories of people who overcame hardships or difficulties in their life. Sharing these stories with your students and children will motivate them to do their best and show them that many times we think we  CAN'T do something but with hard work, determination and a positive attitude...WE CAN DO IT in time!






With the concept of Growth Mindset in mind, I have created a few Growth Mindset resources to support positive thinking and to encourage your students to change their thinking!  You can find these resources right here!                 
                                                                                                                                                               
These 2 resources are banners to hang in your classroom that present rules in an "I CAN" statement to encourage confidence and responsibility!


If you are looking for posters, writing frames and task cards to support Growth mindset, here are some resources that will do just that!

Perhaps you are only interesting in Posters in Kid Friendly Language to hang in your classroom as reminders of how to think when you are faced with a problem and to encourage a Growth Mindset, then here you go!! 
                                                         
This is just my opinion on how you can promote a Growth Mindset in your classroom ... I have many other ideas, but the purpose of blogging about a topic is to make it short and to the point!!!

I would LOVE to hear ideas that you have used in your classroom!  Please share your ideas in the comments below!!!


1


your photo name

A Few ideas to Make the Holidays Bright the Last Few Weeks Before Winter Break

Oh No...it's that time of year again. Thanksgiving is approaching and then...yes...then the dreaded Black Friday!  You come back into your classroom and the kiddos are all riled up...

SANTA has come to town and everything you had planned to teach goes right down the chimney...crash, bang, splat...

You bring in the Elf on the Shelf to keep an eye on the class and someone touches it and now it has

lost it's magic powers and you are back to square one...You pretend you see Santa at the window or maybe you even get a phone call or e-mail from old Saint Nick...nothing seems to get your excited students back to earth...Well...here is my motto: "Jolly Ole' St. Nicholas is coming down the chimney so make the best of it and have some fun with learning!"

That Elf on the Shelf looks so cute just sitting there, but he causes so much mischief! ⇰⇰⇰⇰

Here are some ideas to "Make the Holidays Bright the Last Few Weeks Before Winter Break"...



One of my favorite Christmas Crafts is this Torn  Paper Christmas Tree. It is great for fine motor skills and can be used with a unit about Holidays around the World to learn how the Christmas tree came to be. As you will see, this craft is easy, fun and creative for everyone...all ages!











Of course this tree craft has to have a reason to be created especially if you are in a school district that encourages teaching all Holidays around the world...not simply Christmas...don't worry, I have you covered...I am thinking that I may be your BFF teaching buddy right about now because I have the perfect resource for you complete with a Power Point to teach about a few Winter Holidays Around the World.  These are geared toward Kindergarten, First and possibly Second grades.

This resource is complete with a craft to represent many of the countries and holidays represented and much much more. 








Here are a few of the crafts represented in this resource and a there is also a powerpoint to teach about all the holidays included in Winter Holidays around the World!



Hanukkah Menorah

Kwanzaa weaving

Headbands for St. Lucia Day 







If you are looking for a fun "Read and Write the Room Resource"...you are in the right place!
This Santa Clues Activity is just right for YOU and your Kiddos!   
If you love wishes and gift giving, this fun differentiated will be a "go to" activity for years to come.  It includes wishes and gifts for the world, new year and family!


Maybe you will want to have some morning work available to support Common Core and calm your kiddos down a bit. You might like these booklets!  Holiday Fun for Grades K and 1

















Did I hear you say it would be an awesome idea if there were a few math resources to support math facts...well...your wish is my command.  Math Fact Roll and Cover Dice Game

So I hope this early holiday gift will bring a little sunshine your way and make your season bright!
1


your photo name

Classroom Management: 7 Actions to Build Positive Behavior in your Classroom

In today's face paced world of running around trying to get meals made or rushing through the drive through before practices plus eating breakfast quickly before the bus comes, we need to provide an environment in which kids feel safe, calm and can feel like they can be their best selves.
Pssst…Many teachers give their students morning work to complete, which is fine.  However what I suggest doing, and have done over the years, is to give students a “soft landing” time. This ensures they’re more motivated to learn and feel more positive throughout the day!
So here are a few tips that you can put into place immediately that will give your kiddos a relaxed, positive haven using techniques that will promote positive behavior management. 
Psst...Be sure to visit Beneylu school to read the full article and you will definitely be interested to see what Beneylu School has to offer your classroom and district!!
If you want to read the full post, click the link below!
Classroom Management 7 Actions to build Positive Behavior in your Classroom


Are you looking for some spectacular Classroom Management Resources?  Click here to check out a few!


0


your photo name

A Cute Paper Bag Turkey with a Recipe...Cute or What?


Here is a cute turkey craft that you can make at school before Wednesday or at home with your own kiddos...Enjoy!

Well...I have to admit last year I posted this a  little late. So this year I am doing the TURKEY TROT and posting it with lots of time to spare...so round up those brown paper bags and add this adorable turkey centerpiece craft to your plans...your kiddos will love making it and the parents will absolutely LOVE it and if you add the recipe suggestions, they will even LOVE it more! YEP...If you really want to make it special, type up the recipe for Leftover Turkey here or here is another recipe to use. To make it even easier, just type up the URL link and don't forget to add this one...my favorite!!! BUT...the turkey centerpiece is fine alone and is so cute!!

Oh...if you are not in school or a homeschooler, have your kids make it at home as a Thanksgiving fun craft. I have created this with my grandkids and they LOVED it!!!

I hear you...you just looked at this cute craft and said out loud, " I LOVE this Turkey Craft and I want to make it tomorrow...so how do I do that?"

Never fear...the easy directions are right here.  


Materials:  


  • Brown Paper Lunch-sized bags
  • Google Eyes
  • Red, Yellow, Brown and Yellow Construction Paper

  • Markers and Crayons
  • A Wooden Spoon to use as a tracer to make the turkey head tracers for kids to use.
  • Copies of recipes or note with URL's for Leftover Turkey Recipe(optional).
Directions: 
  1. Use a Wooden Spoon to trace as many turkey heads as you want to have for your class to share.
  2. Make or find a Diamond shape to make tracers for the beak and quickly draw a turkey foot, which can be made by tracing your pointer, middle and ring finger at the tips and add a curve at the bottom. Your tracers might look something like this:
  3. Using a paper cutter cut strips of various colors of construction paper about 1"x 9 to use for legs and 1/2" x 9" from red paper for the gobblers.
  4. Give each child a paper bag and have them decorate the outside of the bag.
5.  Children trace 1 head, 1 beak and 2 feet on red, yellow, 
     orange or brown construction paper cut smaller for each 
     part of the turkey.
6.  Children trace their hands on a choice color construction 
     paper and put aside. These will be feathers. 
7.  Give each child a red gobbler and 2 legs. Now they have 
     all the parts they need to create their turkey.
8.  Have children fold the top of their bag down so it does not
     cover their design and glue the head on top; fold the beak 
     in half and glue onto head.  
9.  Roll the gobbler around a pencil to "curl" it and glue it on
     top of the beak.
    


10.  Glue 2 google eyes on the head above the beak, glue traced hands on each side of the turkey's 
       body for wings, glue feet on the strips for legs. Children can fold or curl legs as desired. 
       AND....drum roll please....here is the end result (hopefully).


OOPS!  I almost forgot...If you are looking for some other great "Turkey Day" Resources...Just take a LOOK below...I have a few for different activities and ideas for various grade levels right here:

You will LOVE this Thanksgiving Stations BUNDLE...it includes everything you need to run Literacy Stations in a SNAP!                                       
Thanksgiving Stations Learning Fun with Common Core Math and ELA for 1st and 2nd Grades
 

CVC Word Game Worksheets with Thanksgiving Theme for Grades K-1
I always felt that is was so important to teach thematically and to integrate various subjects when doing so...

This resource is a prime example...using a Thanksgiving theme to play a cvc word game and to make learning fun!

This resource was created with differentiation in mind. 

Thanksgiving Activities For First Grade

Thanksgiving: A time to think about everything we are thankful for in our lives...It is also a time to teach our students about how this holiday came to be and why we celebrate it!

If you are teaching about Thanksgiving, then you will want to add this resource to theThanksgiving activities that you are already use, but this resource is really all you will need to teach all about this holiday! 







Thanksgiving Math Activities Aligned with Common Core

These Fun Thanksgiving Math Activities can be used to enhance any of your Station activities that you already have in place to add a little Turkey Caper Math Activities for Thanksgiving that are aligned with Common Core!

These stations would be great to use the week or a few days before Thanksgiving as rotations during your math time







Thanksgiving Activities for Grades Second, Third and Fourth Grade  
If you are like me, you love to have activities on hand to simply print and use quickly and easily!

If that is the case, these Thanksgiving activities are easy and fun for your students and of course will make you life much easier.

These Thanksgiving activities are geared to grades 2-4, but can be used in different ways as you see fit for your learners and can be easily differentiated as needed.


Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your family and remember to be thankful for all the blessings you have in your life and there are many!!!


6


your photo name

More Great ideas!

0


your photo name

5 Easy Peasy Ideas to bring Fall into your Primary Classroom


Let's bring a bit of fall into our K-1 classrooms with these 5 Easy Peasy Ideas. I know you will absolutely LOVE all these ideas...especially #1!

For those who experience the true colors of all four seasons, it is hard not to agree that fall is the most colorful if not the most beautiful season of all.  Each season brings a different climate and colors...but fall...well is simply fall...vibrant colors all around...red, yellow, orange and brown leaves gently spin and fall to the ground, the air is cooler and there is an urge to be a child once again and jump head first into a pile of leaves.

With fall comes many teaching opportunities...so...I have decided to round-up 5 absolutely, positively great developmentally appropriate fall activities to support Kinders and Firsties .

So let's get started and "fall" right into these colorful ideas!

1.  Leaves: Leaves are everywhere during this season so let's rake them into some great lessons.
What can you do with a Pile of Leaves has so many great ideas from graphing leaves and creating leaf creatures to creative writing!






These ideas can be found right here... What Can you Do with a Pile of Leaves?


2.  A Fall Maze:  Enjoy this fun Autumn Maze activity while your kids practice their critical thinking skills as well as fine motor and visual tracking skills.  I remember how much I loved the challenge of completing a maze when  was a child.  Try this and other Kindergarten activities from Education.com.
 

3.  Seasonal Writing: Get your kinders writing about all the seasons with this fun and FREE resource. It is a great differentiated writing activity in that it includes pictures and ideas for each season that reluctant writers as well as any writer can use to motivate and support their ideas!

4.  Fall Crafts are always a great idea whether you are a homeschooler or teach in a classroom.  Let's not forget how important creating crafts can be for fine motor skills and to spark and inspire creativity in a child.  Remember it was Albert Einstein who said,"Creativity is the intelligence having fun!" 





5.  25 Great Books about Fall:  These books include some of my all time favorites. Red Leaf Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert is a beautifully illustrated book that describes the birth of a Maple tree. You do not want to miss out on reading this story with your kinders or first graders. Take a look at some of the other great fall books mentioned. YOu will be running to the library to grab more than a few of these titles.







There you have it 5 easy peasy ideas to bring fall into your classroom this year!  What ideas do you have for fall. Please comment and let us know...we would LOVE to hear from you!
0


your photo name

3 Tips to have a Back to School Night that will ROCK!



Make your Back to School Night Rock with these 3 tips that are sure to get your parents feeling at ease and ready for the school year!


Parents can't wait to meet their child's teacher on Back to School Night. They want to see the classroom and observe first hand where their child will be spending 6 hours everyday, actually, in some cases, more time than their children see their parents, if you figure each child sleeps about 8 hours at night.

And teachers...well....teachers may be a bit nervous because let's face it...it is a bit hard to stand in front of an audience of parents who only want the best for their child and you are it...you are their teacher!

I know with myself, I was always a bit nervous even after doing this presentation for over 30 years!

I always had some butterflies in the pit of my stomach and some jitters because I did not want to mess up and I wanted to present my best self no matter what...pressure on myself...absolutely.

Through the years I have come up with some easy tricks which helped me "get through it" and shine, shine, shine!

PS I am sorry if this is late and you have already had your Back to School Night, but just save this post for next year or I will post it again!!

1. I was a Responsive Classroom Teacher and being a teacher who used the  Responsive Classroom approach, we always started our day with a Morning Meeting, which included a greeting, sharing activity and  morning message.  That being said, I always had a message on my chart board or smart board as the parents walked in for the evening.

It said something like this, "Good Evening, I am so glad you were able to come in this evening to take a peek at your child's classroom. 

  • Please stroll around the room and take a look at some of the work you child's has completed in this short time we have been together.
  • Find your child's seat and read the letter that was written especially for you!
  • Please write a note to your child and we will start our evening after the announcements! Welcome!

Easy peasy and it gives you a bit of time to walk around and chat informally with the parents for a few minutes....breathe....ahhhhhhhhhh!



2.  Before we actually got started, I explained briefly how we were a Responsive Classroom and had a Morning Meeting every morning and that We were going to have a brief meeting tonight to show parents how this approach worked.


  • I would then ask parents to talk to the other adults at their table. 
  • Say "hi" and introduce yourself and share something about your self.
  • After a few minutes, I would ring my chime, which is the "attention getter" I used in the classroom and they were to stop chatting and look at me.
  • Sometimes I would set up that when I rang the chime, they were to move to a different partner and chat with them...but that is up to you and how you feel your parents might respond.
This was always an ice breaker and the parents always began to chat and laugh and have a good ole' time.  Sometimes I made a funny comment like, "Ahhh...now I understand why I have so many chatty students in my class this year!"  They would all get a chuckle out of this!

I would then ask them to share something that they learned about one of the adults at their table or about someone with whom they chatted.  Usually a few would share and if not, I would start and share! 

3.  Now we were ready to really get started and all of the parents were relaxed and ready to hear what Room U-1 was all about!! 

I would always start by saying, "YOU (the parents) are the most important person in your child's life and you know them better than anyone so it is important that WE work together as a team and make sure there is an open communication between home and school to ensure your child receives the BEST education possible!    

I would also make sure to have all the important information in a hard copy in a folder with their child's name...My classroom Brochure with all the important info was right on top along with district information and a few house keeping details.



Then I had a Power Point which had everything and anything that I felt was important for parents to understand and know about their child's classroom and teaching philosophies.  

Having a Power Point was fabulous because everything was written on it with cute pictures etc.  It helped me stay on topic and impressed the parents. I had visuals set up to support the slides and everyone was laughing and totally felt at ease.

Granted...some years were better than others, but these 3 tips will make your Back to School night Rock and maybe add a little sparkle to your night!


Have a Sparkling Year!!!



1


your photo name

5 Organizational tips to Keep your Classroom Running Smoothly Throughout the Year


Flash Back....it's late August...actually to be exact, August 28th...I just found out, I will be teaching first grade!  That was the BEST and maybe the worst day of my life...I may be exaggerating a bit, but...School was starting in a few days, new teachers had 3 days of orientation and I had a classroom that looked pretty much like this:


So...what did I do?  I sat down and cried and thought,"How am I ever going to turn this into the classroom of my dreams?" Then off I went to my first new teacher orientation.  

I came back to my bare classroom and noticed a handwritten note on my desk, which read,"From confusion comes wisdom!" (Confucius) Well...that did not really help much because I felt confused and overwhelmed the whole entire year.  Instead I  thought, "Confucius has never been a first grade teacher so what does he know???" 

But actually he did know something...in fact...he was absolutely correct from my confusion and lack of having time to organize correctly, I learned a ton and I was never, ever disorganized again during my entire teaching career. 

So, I would like to share with you a few important organizational "take aways" from my first year that stuck with me my entire career...with a few tweaks here and there!

1.  Always make a list of what you want to do or change, what worked, what didn't work and what you need to get together before school starts. My first year I was not able to do this and I felt like I was playing catch up the entire year! 

  • It really doesn't matter if you have to change things up a bit during the school year.  If you find that something is not working for your class, change it. That is OK! 
  • Remember each class is different and as teachers we have to adapt to the needs of our students. One year I changed my desk location about 6 times before the first trimester ended.  The kids had so much fun trying to guess where my desk was going to show up the next time they walked through the classroom doors.  It was like a scavenger hunt!


2.  Make sure your classroom supplies are organized before your kiddos come bouncing through the door that first day.

  • I am not saying that everything has to be in an obsessive order nor does your room have to look like a Pinterest promotion., but let's make sure that it does not look chaotic and cluttered. 
  • You need to leave some things for you and your class to do together so they feel welcome and take ownership of the classroom. 
  • I am talking about supply and material organization. Where do the pencils, erasers, paperclips and markers go?  These need to be ready and available without rooting through the piles of "stuff" in various places. 

For this reason, I always labeled EVERYTHING!

I put all these items in shoeboxes or baskets with labels and categorized accordingly. 

There was a space or place for everything:  games, supplies of all shapes and sizes, Guided Reading materials...you get the idea. I always added a label with a picture and word, which is two-fold; first, you can easily see where the supply is located and second, the room is labeled for emergent readers to read the room!




3.  How about those closets, shelves, math supplies, Phonics' games and all the "things" you need to get to quickly for a lesson or even when an idea pops into your head and you need a manipulative quickly as well as when your colleague sends a child with a note that says,"Do you have the Telling Time Bingo Game? Can you send it with Johnny?" These need to be ready and available without rooting through piles of "stuff" in various places or thinking, "I just saw that somewhere...now where was it?"

Organize the games according to categories 
on shelves or in a closet.      
                             


These are math baskets before the labels were added!

Then cover the shelves with these colorful tablecloths.  The tablecloths are simply hung from a tension rod and tacked so you can lift them up and grab what you need and doesn't it look a bit clean and organized?  I think I heard...YES!!!


4.  Next up...organize your reading books or classroom library "nook."
Over the years, I have used different spaces for a reading area, but there is one common thread.  All of the books are in bins or baskets and organized into specific categories that meet the needs of MY STUDENTS.  The way you categorize your books can be completed in many different ways or you can use a few different ideas, but it is important that it works for your class.

Here are few ideas that I have used over the years:
This reading area looks extremely inviting and the kids love to read and work in it.  

To the left and right of the tables on the white shelves were the classroom library books, which were arranged and labeled in this way; ABC's, numbers, colors, easy readers, chapter books, specific popular authors, general nonfiction, animals, space, biographies, Dr. Seuss, insects, weather, seasons as well as popular book characters like Arthur, Clifford and other popular book characters. 


This worked best for my first graders because they had favorite topics and authors they enjoyed reading about over and over gain.   

FYI: The designated classroom "Helpers" cleaned this area up at the end of the day and this is a product of their great independent organizational skills.

The Shelves behind the table under our"reading buddies," housed our NightlyReading Books that the students took home each night to read.






5.  Room organization is one thing, but thinking about communicating with parents can also be classified as something important that you need to have organized and ready to use the first day of school. 

If a problem arrises, who wants to be shuffling through papers and looking for parent contact information...NOT ME...It is better to be proactive and ready!

It is also important to think about how you want to communicate with parents and keep an open positive line of communication between home and school.  There are plenty of apps out there created for parent communication, but not all schools are ready to use apps.

  • To keep this at bay, it is important to have a Parent Communication Log that houses all important information about each child and their caretakers.  This one binder can be a life saver as you talk and chat with parents, you can print out e-mails, 3 hole punch them and keep all of these for future reference.  It can also be a place to jot down notes and reminders about conversations and dates these took place.
  • Newsletters are also a way to stay organized and keep the lines of communication open. These weekly or monthly newsletters will keep you organized as you think back on the week or next steps in your lesson planning. Parents LOVE hearing about what is happening or going to happen in their child's classroom.  These can be completed in a digital or written format.

Getting these ideas organized at the beginning of the school year will help you stay focussed and be present in your daily teaching life.

Here are three resources that support parent communication and will keep you calm and ready to go!

1.  Back to School Classroom Organization Binder Covers Letters and MORE  If this doesn't help you get organized for the Back to School Frenzy, I don't know what will.  

2.  Parent Communication Organizational Checklists  Easy to use and ready to go! 

3.  Editable Newsletters to Make Parent Communication Easy  These will make your life so much easier and organized!

I know I have only given you about 5 organizational ideas to start the school year off on the right foot and there are so many more, but as long as you have these 5 ideas and organizational strategies in place, you will be less stressed and have the best school year yet!

BTW: Did you notice a common thread throughout?  Labels, binders, checklists, containers and baskets...you can never have enough!

Have a great year and don't forget to ORGANIZE!!!

PS: Here is a link to some other resources you might like!  

7


your photo name