It's a BACK TO SCHOOL BOOST today with a variety of resources and helpful hints to get your school year started off on the right foot! (Pinterest boards, free online resources, and a HUGE sale) Let's get to it!
A. Classroom Decor: It's everyone's favorite part of the year...decorating your classroom. I'll share some of my favorite "hot spots" for ideas, but let's not forget the FAB FIVE rules to decorating your room!
1. Whatever theme or style you choose, you've got to LIVE with it all year. (And even longer if you're on a budget!)
2. Avoid OVER stimulating your students. You don't want there to be SO MUCH in your classroom that they can't focus on the lesson at hand!
3. Think practical! Just because it's CUTE, doesn't mean it's functional! Think about what you'll be using things for and if it's ultimately going to be a big waste of time or not.
4. Leave some space for movement. We often forget that an EMPTY classroom has far more room than when you put the 20 + bodies in there!
5. Don't forget yourself! Every teacher needs a working space. We use it to plan, answer emails, fill out paperwork, etc. Decorate your little private world to be a motivating and pleasant place to work for YOU! Put up some personal photos of your loved ones, inspirational quotes to lift your spirits, and go ahead and splurge on a few items that you just WANT to have. (Nice planners, cute organizers, colorful folders, etc.) You'll need that pleasant space to unwind and relieve some stress! Make it worthwhile!
Click images for some really great Pinterest board full of ideas for classroom decorating! :-)
B. Set Realistic Goals: I did say REALISTIC! Teachers are highly motivated individuals anyway, but sometimes we set goals so high that we only end up disappointing ourselves when we don't get there. So...think short and sweet goals! Perhaps one every quarter would be a great place to start! They can be goals ranging from personal in nature, (I WILL get home by 5:00 three days a week) to professional (I WILL purposefully pull my high achievers at least 2 days a week in math to teach them an advanced concept). Share your goals with a colleague. We all know that when we let someone in on our intent, we are more likely to follow through! Make your "buddy" hold you accountable!
C. Purposefully Plan! Planning is a large part of our lives as teachers. The buzz word at our school is purposeful planning! Make the most of every minute. It's amazing to think about how much time "lost minutes" add up to if we're not planned effectively. Hmmmm....5 minutes a day of "lost instruction" doesn't seem like much, huh? After all, it's only 5 minutes. Those 5 minutes turn into 25 minutes each week. (I can teach a good mini-lesson in 25 minutes!) Those 25 minutes a week turn into 1 hour and 40 minutes each month (an entire E/LA block at my school), which turns into 6 hours and 40 minutes for the year. You've lost an entire day of instruction with the "it's only 5 minutes" mentality. Purposeful planning isn't just about writing lesson plans either! It includes everything from seamless classroom routines, to long range mapping, to management of time, resources, and little people! I like this little website called Teachingleadership.org (Click Teaching as Leadership image to access). It's loaded with some tips and strategies, as well as .pdf documents as resources for your purposeful planning events. Scholastic DOES offer a paid for product called, "Your Best Year Yet! A Guide to Purposeful Planning and Effective Classroom Organization." It's available for as low as $4.50 on Amazon.
FINALLY, what's a Back to School BOOST without your friends at TpT? They are offering a very quick ONE DAY ONLY sale for you! **WEDNESDAY, AUG. 2th!** Most sellers (including myself) will participate in the boosting fun and give you 20% + TpT's additional 8% off if you use the code BOOST when checking out! (Total of 28% off!)
I'd love to show you some of my BEST DEALS!
The Problem Solving Monthly Bundle is typically $15.00. With the Back to School Boost, you'll get it for $12.00. It contains 9 months of problem solving, including a problem of the day for each day September through May. It comes with a calendar for each month, adorable monster problem solving tips, and multi-step challenging word problems in a variety of topics each month! Great to use as morning work, centers, or class constructive response problems you work on together. (Best for grades 3-4!)
My latest and one of my favorites is the Literary Elements (Make a Case for) unit. It's full of Close Reading opportunities as students round up some evidence to support their choices for characterization, plot, theme, setting, etc. This is a great unit to run multiple copies of and keep handy at your guided reading table. It includes some mini-posters on the Literary Elements you can hang in your classroom. With the Back to School Boost, you can get it for $4.00. (Best for grades 3-5!)
Whatever deals you walk away with, I hope you're feeling a little BOOSTED and ready to go. Best of luck for a fabulous 2014-15! Got any additional BOOSTING TIPS for us? Please share! We'd love to hear from you!
Bananas for a BOOST to help you start your school year,