Friday, July 28, 2017

Back to School Tips and Read Aloud (((FREEBIE)))!!!

Hey, Hey, Hey!!!!!

It's almost time for back-to-school! Summer break is over in 2 weeks (for me, at least) and it's time to begin thinking about all things back to school. I've taught for over 5 years, so I'm pretty set with the things I will need to start the school year. For new teachers, however, this time of the year can be overwhelming! I want to share a few tips that I have learned over the past five years, for the newbies who are just starting out!

Tip 1: Create the class with your class

I know this time of the year is very exciting! We love to visit our favorite teacher stores, Target, and Amazon to buy all of the cute posters and bulletin boards to decorate our classrooms. I've been guilty of wanting to have things perfect on the first day of school! Well, let me tell you, STOP!!! Creating your class decor with your students is much more meaningful to them and it will be to you as well. Sure, store bought class rules are cute and easy, but creating and discussing class rules will have a better effect on your classroom management. Also, I allow my students to help me setup the classroom. This includes the location of desks, community supplies, and resources. After all, they will be using these resources so they should have a voice in our class setup. This year, I will begin with blank bulletin boards so that as a class we can decide how we want to use the space.

Tip 2: Buy on a Budget

Let's face it, buying for a classroom can be pretty expensive. My school does a great job with providing us with funds for the Big Flexible Learning Environment, but, there are other things the teachers must buy if we want it. My first go-to for classroom needs is Donor's Choose. This organization is heaven sent. You can submit a proposal for the items you need and people are able to donate until it's fully funded. The key here is to promote, promote, promote! Next, I check out all garage and yard sales in my area. You can find some pretty great classroom items. I visited a yard sale across the street and found out my neighbor is a retired teacher who had a garage full of classroom items to sale or donate! Finally, I go to the Dollar Store or Target Dollar Spot. You will find amazing items here for dirt cheap too!

Tip 3: Focus on Classroom Culture

This is the biggest lesson that I have learned thus far. Yes, decor is important but, building an effective classroom culture will CHANGE your school year. Begin the year focused on growth mindset, positivity, classroom manners, and getting to know each other. By doing this, your students will be excited to come to school each day and eager to learn. There are some great read-alouds and activities for building a positive classroom culture. Keep reading to find out which ones are my favorite!

Back to School Read Alouds!

Earlier I spoke about creating a positive classroom culture at the beginning of the year. I cannot stress how important this is! My favorite way to cultivate positivity is through read alouds. Students are engaged through each book and are excited to apply the lessons that go along with the story. One of my lessons are based on the book Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller. This is a book about manners and how we should treat others the way we want to be treated. My students love this story!! It is so relatable and fun for students to read. After reading, we discuss how we want other students to treat us within our classroom. I ask students to share how they want me to treat them, and I share how I would like for them to treat me. It's a great experience hearing the ideas of my kids and watching them think of ways to show good manners. After our shared discussion, students write or draw about good manners (I use their drawings as our class rules bulletin board).
Finally we wrap up our discussion and activity with a "Show What You Know" comprehension worksheet based off of the book. And wa-la!! A fun, engaging lesson on Good Manners that builds a positive class culture at the beginning of the school year! (FYI: Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you click on a product link, I may receive compensation. This compensation comes at no additional cost to you, and as always I only recommend products I trust!)

As promised, here is a sneak peak freebie from my "Do Unto Otters" lesson! Click here for your Freebie!
If you like the freebie, you will LOVE my "Do Unto Otters" full lesson.
 It includes a Good manners circle map, a drawing page for each good manner discussed in the book and comprehension questions! Click here to check it out!

Welp, I hope this post was informative and helped someone out there! Please comment what resources you use for back to school! I'd love to hear from you! 

Have an AMAZING Week!!!

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