- Bringing Project Based Learning to our Classroom - August 12, 2018
- Keep the Engagement Alive: Start the Year with Purpose - August 5, 2018
- It's Our Fault: A Teacher's Confession - March 18, 2018
- Keeping Your Teaching Real: A Teacher's Role - March 11, 2018
- Sketch Notes in the Elementary Classroom - February 15, 2017
- Teach From the Heart - February 9, 2017
- Who is the Teacher: School or Family? - January 11, 2017
- Dear President Elect Trump, From Your Teachers - November 17, 2016
- Let them Be Children - October 21, 2016
- Print Resources: Great Tools for Kids - October 17, 2016
As you think about setting up your elementary classroom this year, start with your theme. What interests or passions do you have? How can you share these with students to demonstrate life skills of persistence, listening with understanding, thinking flexibly, questioning, creating, imagining, learning from failure? Our school-wide theme this year is CHAMPS and I am using Superheroes in my classroom. I like the lessons of community and helping others. I like finding everyday superheroes in real life. I like discussing our strengths and weaknesses (like all superheroes) and sharing how we can help others. I believe in the theme and find the fun in learning through this to start our year.
The new Pinterest fad in education seems to be self-made signs. They are cute and fun and make students and families feel good. They are easy to print off and display. But as you start decorating your classroom and posting signs, think about what they mean. "In this classroom we do..." Instead of buying a cute sign from Teachers Pay Teachers or buying a pre-made poster, think about what you want for your students. List the things you want them to focus on for life-long skills or how you want them to work together in your classroom community. Create your own poster online or in a word document. When students and families comment or notice the poster you can say you made it. You can say it matches your philosophy exactly. It will be an extension of you.
Set up your space to reflect you. Put out things you love and things that are important to you. Being comfortable in your space will allow you to be your best. Take suggestions from peers and mentors and experts, but make sure everything you do fits you. Teaching is personal. When you are happy your students see that and it will impact your classroom. For more ideas about back to school check out my archived article, "Back to School Tips for Elementary Teachers".
So in your classroom what do you do? What do you expect of your students? In this classroom, we do fun, failure, learning, respect, "Thank you", "Please", "I'm sorry", dreams. Brainstorm your list and make your own individual classroom poster. Talk about it with your students. Your excitement and passion will be contagious as your new year starts down your path for learning.
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