Saturday, August 17, 2013

Five for Friday~Teacher Tips

Hi, Friends! How are ya? Today was our teacher work day and when I walked out of the door at the end of the day, I think even my brain HURT! It was an amazing day and I accomplished a lot. My classroom is all set up and now I can move on to the details of what and how we’ll begin our learning journey for the year. With that in mind, I’m going to kill two birds with one stone….or post! =)

I’m linking up with the ladies of Blog Hoppin’ to share a few of the quirks that work….or teacher tips AND with the talented Kacey at Doodlebugs Teaching for Five for Friday.


Ready?….here are a few of the quirks, perks, tips, and tricks that work well for my firsties….


First and foremost….organize, organize, ORGANIZE! This morning started with me sorting and labeling my books and read alouds for the year. LABEL EVERYTHING…not only will it help you to remember where things are, it will essentially create a print-rich classroom environment for your kiddos. Don’t be afraid to use small spaces. I try to use every nook and cranny to the fullest. If your materials will be visible within the classroom, make your labels attractive. Nobody wants to look at ‘ugly’ all day. Functional and cute is a winning, inviting combo.


If its not something you need to see every day, PUT IT AWAY out of sight. Out of sight doesn’t have to equal out of mind. Put things away neatly and arrange them in a manner that’s logical to you. Arrange like items together. And for the love of all things instructional, if its junk…if you haven’t used it in the last year….if you don’t recognize it or know what it is…if it was created before YOU graduated from high school, lol……get rid of it! Think you might use it one day? No, you won’t…chunk it! Classroom space is important real estate. If it’s not going to add value to your learning environment, get rid of it. Always leave a little room for the things you’ll make, create, or collect throughout the new year.


Create charts that you may use with student names easy to change. Students may come and go, move in and move out. Transportation modes may change, dependent upon parent needs. Using numbered clips or laminated labels that are easily erasable to edit helps to change things easily and quickly. Did you know that you can erase sharpie by writing over it with an Expo marker and wiping it away? Me either! Until one of my coworkers shared that little tip with me.  {More clips are on my list of things to pick up this weekend.} 
Rotate HELPERS weekly. That way students get to know the responsibilities of classroom jobs well. The chart for CHAMPS is to establish consistent, positive, campus wide expectations {language}. Thank you to Amber Polk for creating and sharing the wonderful freebie pictured above. Click HERE to visit her store to download it. The behavior clip chart will help students to monitor their individual daily progress toward meeting expectations.


Keep THINGS that you’ll need for transitions or whole group instruction close at hand. “Pick Me” sticks, flip chart markers, chart paper, sticky notes, pointers, Expo markers, and other misc. supplies are all great to have in the meeting area. Firsties have short attention spans…(and so do teachers who have worked with firsties for a long time=).

Maximize every minute by having the supplies you need within arm’s reach so that you don’t have to waste learning time in search of materials.  LABEL, LABEL, LABEL everything. It will help to create independent learners. If you don’t have to look at it, cover it up. Use curtains to close in book shelves to keep materials out of sight. It minimizes classroom distractions and allows for surprises when you pull out materials later in the year. If you have to maintain open shelving, make sure your items are arranged neatly and labeled attractively.


Leave plenty of EMPTY WALL SPACE to display learning. You don’t have to decorate every single inch of your classroom. As you build classroom routines and work to create a classroom community, have students help to complete the look of the classroom. This will allow students to take ownership of the room and consequently take better care of it. (I found #19. It’s hanging on the wall now! Thanks, Amy Lemons!)


BE NICE to the custodians and office staff! More often than not, you’ll need them to help you with little things… making sure all of your desks are leveled, lol! (Mine are now. =)

Above all else….beYOUtiful. Don’t compare yourself to the teacher next door. Work together with your team, collaborate openly…never be afraid to ask questions. Teachers are life long learners. No one knows it all and the best teachers are those that share, beg, borrow, and steal ideas from others! Be transparent. You never know how something little that you take for granted may be a big piece of the puzzle that someone else may need. Support the vision of your campus and exemplify the same level of excellence that you will expect to receive from your students.

If today was any indication, this is going to be one awesome school year! I hope you enjoy yours as well! This tired teacher is off to sleep until noon! Enjoy your weekend!



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