You've relaxed all summer...well...NOT REALLY because after all you are a teacher and everyone thinks you get to relax ALL summer, but let's face it...you HAVE NOT been relaxing all summer stuffing your face with Choco Tacos, Hershey Kisses, Tootsie Rolls or, my favorite, Kit Kats!
YOU HAVE NOT been burying your feet in the sand with a glass of your favorite beverage by your side leisurely watching your kids surf the waves. Instead you have been planning for this day all summer...since the doors of the school have closed last school year and the halls have emptied...you have been planning for...Yes, you guessed it... THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL! The floors are sparkling clean, your classroom is ready and it is the night before your first day and you can't sleep worrying over what the year will be like...what will the kiddos be like this year, what will the new teachers, new superintendent, new principal, new curriculum and there is ALWAYS new curriculum or new something to worry about, what will the new something be this year!!!? You feel that churning in your stomach...YES THE NIGHT BEFORE JITTERS! ( I mean I am retired and I STILL feel this in the beginning of September...it only stops when I remember that I don't HAVE to go back this September or any September!)
Never fear...Here's my MOTTO: Be Organized and have lots of choices in your toolbox to use that first day...Just like shoes: If one pair doesn't work, try another and another until the shoe fits and the idea works...choices, choices, choices and organization, those piles of ideas that are cluttering your brain like shoes cluttering your closet...organize the ideas and get them ready to pull from the shelf and try on for size.
So many ideas cluttering my brain...HELP! Now that's better...you have all your ideas stacked, filed, prepared and ready to go! AHHHHH heaven...ready to choose which pair will work best for each outfit!
You are calm, cool and collected and have a list compiled of what to do on the first day of school. ( Just for the record...my closet is a mess again and I need to clear the clutter...it is kinda like when you unpack your classroom for the first day..yep, needs to be organized once again!).
Here are some tried and true ideas and tips that I have used over the years, but remember even the best ideas need a "little help from your friends."
First off I always try to only plan the first day (always made me feel a bit anxious, but I forced myself to do it) and forget the rest of the week...you have no idea what surprises await you that first day, but it is still better to plan more than less and see where it goes. Then you can plan for the rest of the week after this important day!
Tip #1: Being a teacher = getting parents on your side. So, before school even starts maybe a few days before those little cherubs walk through the door of your classroom or even the night before(yes, you read that correctly) give each family a call to welcome their child to your classroom...just a simple "Hi, this is _________________I am looking forward to seeing you tomorrow. Don't forget to bring your smile!" You will be surprised how many kiddos walk through the door on the first day and say "You called my house last night or you left a message for me last night" and they DO bring their smiles...well first graders sometimes bring a jittery smile, but none the less, it is a SMILE! It also implants a great impression with the families of the students you will be teaching!
Tip #2: Great each child at the door with a smile and compliment. As I was told 30+ years ago from a college professor: Find something you like everyday about each child and give them that compliment even if is as little as, "I love the polka dots on your shirt!" I know there is sometimes some controversy about compliments, but I still think a little positive remark means the world to a little one and sometimes a big one, too! I mean let's face it...I love compliments, it makes me work harder and feel GRRRRRRReaT!
Tip #3: Have each child's name written on a name plate by a seat or if you have an "Open House," let each child place their Name Plate at a seat. This way they will know where to go on the first day. You can always change it and let's face it you will because most likely they have choose a seat next to their BFF or perhaps they have a nickname you did not know about....so have plenty of name plates and be ready to think of a positive way to change a seat sometime after the first day. Something like, "I am thinking this might be a better place for you to sit. You can see better here!"
If you are prepared, then as the children walk into your classroom and it WILL be hectic especially if you teach kindergarten or first grade, the children can be directed to find their name and sit down with everything they have with them.
Tip #4: Have a blank paper by each child's seat so as you greet them, you can say, within your greeting,"Find your seat, keep everything with you on the floor beside your seat and draw a picture of something you enjoyed doing this summer!" Then once everyone is in the classroom, you can grab their attention and unload those backpacks to see what surprises await you!
Tip #5: Build Community from the very first day with a Morning Meeting: 2 tried and true ideas for a Morning Meeting Greeting might be:
|2 ideas for Sharing Time during Morning Meeting|
|2 ideas for an Activity during Morning Meeting|
|2 ideas for first day Morning Meeting Messages|
Tip #6: Get them up and moving: Partner Classroom Scavenger Hunt Fun:
Danneburg and here is a response page to go with it:
Tip #8: Send home a First Day Newsletter Check my shop for some great resources. Here is an editable newsletter you might want to use: Editable September Tidbits
Tip #9: Be prepared for surprises! They always seem to happen on the first day. So, if you are organized...you will be able to handle whatever comes your way and it WILL!!!
This complete FREEBIE packet can be found on my TpT Sunshine and Lollipops shop.
You may also like these First Day Activities in my TPT shop to add to the ideas mentioned!
Back to School an Activity for the First Day of School or Anyday
Back to School Happy Birthday Differentiated Math & Writing Common Core
Back to School: I Can Make Good Choices
Desk Name Plates
Home and School Communication
Back to School Brochure
Getting to Know You: Let's Make Some Memories
A Few Quick Communication Checklists
I hope your first day back, whenever it is, is motivating, filled with sweetness and sunshine...one that you will remember forever!
I would LOVE to hear how these ideas worked or some of you own special First Day of School Ideas!
Here is a song for all of you who are already BACK TO WORK!!! Have a Great Year!!!
So...you have an interview scheduled for your first teaching position...Now what? This is the day you have been waiting for...you worked hard in college, completed your student teaching and now you've got your first interview. You are excited, nervous, anxious, happy, feeling elated and overjoyed, but maybe a little concerned as well. Those are all the feelings I had and maybe even a few more when I had my first interview. I remember it as if it was yesterday and that is pretty darn good as I have 30+ years of teaching under my belt and I am now retired!!! No memory loss here...excellent memory for an old timer! However, I do have a bit of current experience as well...I coached my daughter for her first interview almost 10 years ago and have encouraged and supported many of my student teachers and a few colleagues through some interviews as well! I LOVE mentoring and supporting others who have chosen teaching as their profession. So...here are a few tips to enhance and support you through your interview.
1. Remember you are in a win win situation...why? You are wondering...well every interview you have is experience...meaning the more you interview, the better you will interview. It is somewhat like practicing a sport...the more you practice the better you become. You need to go in with a positive attitude...you have nothing to loose and everything to gain. You have made it this far so you are headed in the right direction...forward.
2. Portray confidence...dress confidently...look professional...that means something that is not too flashy. You want the interviewer to see and be focused on you...not your sequined gown! If your hair is long pull it back so you are not tempted to play with it, which shows insecurity. Accessorize, but forget the long necklaces...if you are like me, when you get nervous, you will start to fiddle with it and as a result it might just break and fly across the room #kidding #notkidding...but you get the point. When you walk into the interview make eye contact and confidently shake the interviewer's hand (a firm handshake, but not so hard that you come off as a sumo wrestler)...say something like:"Hi, Mr. Johnson, I'm Kathy. It is so nice to meet you! This shows confidence and leadership which are important qualities for teaching and life.
3. Be prepared. It is impossible to know everything, but research some common interview questions that might be asked during an interview for the teaching position you are seeking. Here is the first question I was asked...are you ready for this? Here goes, "Besides the alarm clock, what gets you up in the morning?" Talk about being knocked out of my chair...I am thinking in my head...you have got to be kidding me!! My enthusiastic answer," Each day is a new beginning, a new start, what you learned yesterday can be applied to this new day and we do learn something new everyday. That is why I LOVE teaching. Everyday is a new beginning a new start, you learn new ideas and have another day of experience!" So my point is you never really can be sure of the questions that might be asked.
4. Make sure you know all the current trends in education and the buzz words like Close Reading, Flexible Seating, Differentiation of Instruction, Common Core, Guided Reading, Guided Math, Guided Discovery, QR Codes, Responsive Classroom and what not. Go onto the district's website and search what they are doing so you can be aware and understand the district policies, trends, buzz words and get a feel for it. Get to know where you might be working!
5. When asked a question, make sure you give an example of the practice. It can be a life example, a student teaching example and example from your practicums, cooperating teachers, camp counselor days, but it is important to give an example. A principal once told me that he can tell when his is interviewing when someone is just throwing the BUZZ words and current trends out there, but if you give an example, then you are demonstrating the concept with your example and will definitely score!!
6. When you are finished, make sure to thank the interviewer for the opportunity and ask something like: "When can I expect to here from you again? or "When will you be making your decision about this first grade position." Oops! I almost forgot...remember you are selling and marketing yourself...so...send a handwritten thank you or an e-mail a day or so later. You need to make a memorable impression!!!
PS Don't forget to show those pearly whites...a smile is worth a thousand words, but really a SMILE will bring a calmness to the most stressful situations !!!
Oh...I think I have another tip...#7 If you have gotten this far, then I know you are passionate about teaching so show that passion. Just pretend you are talking to your mom or your best friend about what you do...show that passion for teaching...get excited...show that enthusiasm!!
If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. GOOD LUCK!! You can do this!! Knock him dead!
Do you have anything you would like to add to these tips that you feel will help others who are interviewing, please leave your ideas in the comment section!
1. So the first product is brand new right off the press! It is a game called What's that Sound. It is a great game to reinforce or introduce beginning sounds. In order to play, letter cards are placed facedown in the center of the playing area. Each child has a board with pictures and a word for the picture which is missing the initial sound. Each player takes a turn and picks a card from the center, says the letter and sound and then covers the picture that has that beginning sound. If they do not have the correct picture, they return the card to the pile. Play continues. Whoever covers all their pictures first, wins the game! I have used and played with my grandkids and they LOVE it! Check it out! Here:What's that Sound?
2. The next resource is a resource that you will LOVE and need to have in your files. We all know how emergent readers LOVE to read what they have written or created and we also know how important it is to publish class books. This resource has 41 pages of response sheets and ready made covers to make class books with your kiddos. One buyer said, " This is my first time teaching first grade and this made my life a lot easier!" So here you go: Check it out right here: Class Books
I hope you will tune in next week for #2forTuesday...just think of all the sweet resources you will have before school starts!!
Thanks for stopping by!
I have been thinking a lot lately about a book I read a long time ago called "The Four Agreements" written by Miguel Ruiz and ironically when I added the "Quote a Day" widget to my site, which I don't even have there now, one of his quotes was featured, which meant it was definitely a sign that I NEEDED to write about his philosophy. He states in his book that there are four agreements, there may be five now...things change and we change, too although we may like to stay in our comfortable, sweet zone, we do have to move ahead... well anyway he believe, and so do I that we should live our lives by these four principles:
1. Don't take anything personal.
2. Do your best and your best can change in any given situation.
3. Don't make assumptions...ask questions.
4. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
I think that these agreements are a great way to live your life and I have tried to this in my everyday life as well as my teaching career. It does take self control and you DO need to think before you respond or get caught up in the drama, but it well worth it because you WILL see a difference in your life and how you handle situations that may arise and they DO...I have to make a confession here: It is REALLY hard to do this with my spouse because I seem to take EVERYTHING personal...BUT I am doing my BEST!!!
1. So...you ask...how can these principles be applied to teaching? Well, there re soooooooooo many ways. Let's think about taking things personal. Teachers make phone calls to parents many times during the course of the year...yes the dreaded phone call...YIKES! Have you ever made a phone call or received a parent phone call and thought, "What just happened?"You may have heard a person on the other end who was angry, mad, upset...you fill in the emotion. This is the time to think,"Don't take this personal!" Think about it: you don't know what happened to the person on the other end before they spoke to you. They may have had an encounter or experience that upset them and you were the next contact so....or perhaps there are personal issues with which you are not aware. Don't take it personal, it has nothing to do with you!
2. Doing your best changes everyday. For example, if you have a headache you can only do the best you can with that headache. Perhaps you had a really difficult morning rushing out the door, the kiddos were late for daycare, your car broke down before you got out of your driveway, you locked yourself out of the house and the car keys are locked inside. You spilled your coffee all over yourself and had to go home and change (this has happen to me only I spilled mocha cappuccino all over me and my school computer and the computer crashed never to work again), your own children were difficult...you fill in the blank. Yes, it might be a tough day so...just do the best you can under the circumstances and you will never feel down or little negative interrupting though will be..."why am I here...I can't even teach?" Focus on what you did do even with the headache and turn a negative into a positive. So instead say," I am here...I am doing the best I can and laugh about the situation because in five years from now, you WILL look back and laugh...in fact you may even laugh about it while you relax that night...there is always humor in these situations...RIGHT? RIGHT!
3. Making Assumptions leads me to the passing of Robin Williams. We all made the assumption that he was an extremely happy person because he was funny, made everyone laugh, had a fabulous personality and had it all...money, family and fame. We now come to find out that he struggled with depression. We make many assumptions about the children we teach, but unless we ask questions to get more information, no assumption is of value. Ask questions to students and parents to gain more information... you will never know what is really happening or going on unless you ask questions. IF you are noticing a different behavior...call and ask," Is there anything going on at home that I might need to know to help Billy at school? He seems a bit distracted this week. Sometimes it is nothing...other times you may find out there is some major "stuff" going on...Of course you only know what parents will share, but, I have found out that the more allow yourself to be approachable or seem approachable and make positive connections with parents, the more they will share about their personal lives. It is important as a teacher to think about this...more today in our ever changing world than before!!
4. Say what you mean and mean what you say (Be impeccable with your word). Choose your words carefully. Words can sting or even cause people to make assumptions about feelings and emotions that may or may not exist. If a student is having difficulty, talk to the parents about the situation. Sugar coating the facts does not help the student or parent. It is only encouraging the parent to assume that everything is fine. There are many ways to say what you mean that enables parents to support their children appropriately and remember what you say today can remain with that student forever. It can damage their self-esteem or make them shine!
So, as school starts this year, put these agreements into practice. It will help you have a more relaxing year, which will lead to a better year and in turn support you to be your best self and teacher!
Have a SWEET start to the YEAR and remember: Don't take anything personal, do your best, don't make assumptions and say what you mean and mean what you say!!
Hope this brings a little sunshine your way!
It's 2 for Tuesday Time Again! These are Doing so Well...I Kept Them Up! Get them Before They Go UP, UP Up in Price!!!Tuesday, July 12, 2016
I have decided to link up with some other fabulous teacher authors and every Tuesday we will promote 2 products for 50%! This is your chance to stock up for September and get some great resources for your classroom at a great discount! If you are like me, I LOVE discounts and sales!! You don't always find sales at 50% so check out my deals and all the participants by simply searching #2fortuesday in the TpT search bar. Hope you get some great deals!!
Here is a link directly to the page: #2forTuesday
So, now for a little summary of the 2 resources I have available for YOU!
1. Ice Cream Cone Syllable Scoops is a fun game to get your kiddos to hear and clap out syllables while building ice cream cone scoops. This can also be used as a center/station or word work Daily 5 activity. It is now half price at $.88 cents. It may be the deal of the century!
This BUNDLE is every teacher's dream as it has 7 individual Read and Write the Room resources. They have been best sellers in my shop and get your kiddos up and moving during stations, Daily 5 or anytime for that matter...it is like an academic Brain Break! Check them out at 50% off!
Recently I saw a post about being a guest blogger...so...I decided to try it out and now my blog and interview are on Reading with Mrs. D's Blog and I am sooooooo excited.
First, to see your words printed on someone else's page is downright awesome!
Second, since the post is about summer reading, it brought back those cherished memories of cuddling in my bed with the windows open allowing the heat of the summer and the mucky breezes to pass through my window blowing through the sheer royal blue curtains into my room and brush across my face...seriously, that is what I remember...reading in my room becoming the character about whom I was reading and lovin' life!
Those memories will be with me forever and I can only hope that my grandkids with this techie world will have the privilege of those same experiences that I had a child! I know my own children have...my youngest daughter got into writing novels...that are stored up in the attic...this was before computers...maybe I should go up there retype them and publish a few for her! She would read and read and then...write her own novels and I have to admit they were pretty darn good!!
Here's to a summer of reading and also cuddling up with a good book with your child, grandchild or yourself! Happy reading!!