Tuesday Tips: Tips and Ideas to become your Best Self and the Best Teacher you can be!! Week 2

Well...It's another week and another set of tips and ideas to help you get ready for school whether you are back or still have a few weeks left...(lucky you...enjoy it to the fullest). Here are some ideas to keep you connected to your parents and continue to work together for the success of each student you teach!! I think you will LOVE #3!

Well...It's another week and another set of tips and ideas to help you get ready for back to school...whether you are back or still have a few weeks left...(lucky you...enjoy it to the fullest)...here are some ideas to keep you connected to your parents and continue to work together for the success of each student you teach!! These are all ideas that I have used throughout my teaching career with a few tweaks here and there.

1.  Back to School Informational Brochure

No matter how you present this information to your parents, it is BEST to have it in writing.  I always used a brochure which included all of my classroom policies.                                                                                                       The brochure was an easy way to keep all information in one place and it can be placed right on the refrigerator or a cork board for quick reference.                                                                                          I have seen these done in many ways...flipbooks, minibooks, folders...and so on...but, over the years, I have found a brochure to be quick and easy and it is sure to be a hit with your parents!!!                                                                                                One quick tip: If you download this and use it cut the margins on side left and right using a paper cutter so it folds easier into the trifold!

2.  Newsletters or News and Notes

I know many teachers write newsletters for the month or News and Notes more frequently. These quick informational letters can give parents and idea of what will be taught or what was taught through the week or month.  

It is important when you write these to include ideas for parents or caregivers to chat about with their child.  You might include  something like; This week we learned how to count by 5's to 50. Have your child count to 50 by 5"s...the class loves to show what they know!! 

Parents LOVE getting tips because...let's face it, when kids are asked what they did in school...their standard answer is,"NOTHING!"                                                                                                                                                                                       Here is a link to these Editable Newsletter Frames and News and Notes

3.  Kids News and Weekend News

Kids News is a great way to integrate reading and writing.  On Mondays we would brainstorm ideas about what we did over the weekend.  I would then write them on the smart board for reference or sometimes depending on the level of each student I would write them on sticky note if copying from the board was too difficult.

My first grade students would create a sentence or 2 about their weekend and write it on their paper. In September one to three sentences is really an accomplishment from some kiddos.

After writing and editing an adult volunteer would type these writing pieces into a Newsletter format. When the "Kids News" was returned to the classroom, students would partner up and "read" their news to their buddy. Hit the chime and the kiddos would find a new partner.

The first graders LOVED sharing and reading their news not to mention those at home who happen to read our news!!!  parents and children alike were so proud and happy with this great integrated activity!

Weekend News is similar to "Kids News"  except parents are asked to read the "news" and write a comment back to their child in the journal.

This starts out with a frame like the green one in this image.  So in the beginning the class is simply writing about the week and a few happenings.  Anyone he students wishes to write to is perfectly fine...in fact parents loved when their child wrote to grand-mom, aunt, uncle or an older sibling!

It gives the parent important information about their child's social, emotional and academic growth in that they find out what their child likes to do and how they feel about school and so on.

As time goes on you would add another frame from which to choose. Students can choose either one and then you can add another more detailed frame until eventually the class can choose a frame or write their own piece.  

By this time you should be touching on and teaching topic sentence, details and conclusion.

So something like I played on the playground with Jim. We had fun... will hopefully transform into...I played with Jim on the play ground. We quickly ran around on the blacktop and noticed a beautiful yellow and black butterfly perched on the fence.  We watched it flutter across the yard and it quietly landed on the tippy top of the sliding board. The we heard the clang of the bell and jogged into line. I guess we will look for it tomorrow!

Does this seem impossible?  Well...guess what? It is not impossible ...even from first graders. It is all in how you teach it and your expectations!!!

Oops...I almost forgot 2 extremely important steps.  Each time Weekend News came home, someone was expected to write back in response to what their child wrote.

The following Friday before we wrote our news, the children would partner up. ( I would use my partner sticks to choose buddies.)

They would then choose to read the current news they wrote or the response from their parent or whoever answered their news.

This choice was given so those whose parents could not write back from some reason could still share writing.

Again...reading and writing integrated and so much easier for YOU!!! The students are letting their parents know what is going on in the classroom and you have an informal assessment of their writing and can see what they need and what to teach small groups for differentiating instruction!!

It's a WIN WIN Situation!!

PS.  Here are some Frames that you may want to use to get started, but there is much more included in this Parent Teacher Conference Home & School Communication Forms & More resource.

Hope to see you next Tuesday, August 15th!!!