Happy New Year all my teacher friends, viewers and readers! I hope your holiday was special and brought your family happiness & and health.
I wanted to kick off the new year with a collaborative blog post from a variety of teachers who teach different subjects and grade levels and have them share tips in making 2018 the best year yet in the classroom. Whether you are a seasoned or new teacher, learning from other teachers is one of the best ways to gain knowledge and ideas for your classroom. I have been teaching for 18 years, and I can tell you my most fruitful and most educational professional development is when other teachers teach and share a topic or idea. These are by far my favorite professional development classes; I love learning from other teachers!
These wonderful teacher-authors have amazing tips to share with you!
Let me start…
My teacher tip in making 2018 the best year yet in the classroom is ALWAYS have an incentive program set up for your students and your classroom. Students love to have goals and something to strive for in the classroom. If you have been reading my blog for some time or are someone new (thanks for reading!), I teach 7th and 8th grade, and the middles sometimes need major motivation; however, I have learned, regardless of what age level, students love treats. I have a point system set up in my classroom, and as students earn points in Class Dojo (see post here for more information
), they can earn prizes like homework passes, points added onto their lowest quiz grade, candy, choice seating, etc. My kiddos LOVE my choices, and I have quite a few choices for different point values. This definitely makes the learning environment more fun, and it definitely helps with classroom management.
Teacher Tip from Kathleen, Teacher-Author of A Plus Kids:
I was working with 5th grade resource students when I discovered that they could not find their own home state or the Atlantic Ocean on a world map! That was pretty surprising especially since the Atlantic Ocean is only a few miles away from where they lived on Long Island. After that discovery, I posted a large world map on the wall and marked the town where our school was. Whenever we read a story or talked about a current event, we pinned a small card with a few words (earthquake, president visits __) on the map. We talked about the distance from our school to the event, i.e., across the country, across the ocean, in Europe, etc. It’s a worthwhile activity and only takes a minute or two to add a new location! The results were amazing! In a short time, the kids had a much better sense of world geography and could locate places on their own!
There is nothing more important in the classroom than developing and nurturing relationships with your students. I have found that the little things make the most impact for building rapport with your students. My tip to help you do this, is make the time for your students both when they enter and leave your classroom. I make it a point to stand at the door every time students enter my room, and say hello to them personally. Even a quick “Hi, John”, “I like your shirt, Maya”, and “Are you ready to work today, Nate?” will really set the tone for the time you have with your students. Saying goodbye is equally as important. I stand at the door and say goodbye to each students, some days just giving them all high fives. These greetings and farewells do not take much time, work wonders with all age groups, and make the students feel invested in your classroom. When you head back to the classroom in 2018, try to sit at your desk less and welcome your students into your learning environment!
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The cool thing about teaching is realizing how full of knowledge your students are. I think one of the most important things is to learn from your students. Of course it’s our job as teachers to teach them, but they have lives and untapped knowledge outside of school. When a kid shows interest in something outside of school, such as sports, the arts, travel, cooking, whatever it may be, ask questions of them. It is unbelievable how much students want to share their knowledge with you. It also make them feel so good about themselves when they can teach the teacher something new! I make a point to try and learn something new from students every day. It helps build a solid relationship between teacher and student, encourages lifelong learning and shows them that you not only care about them as people, but that you see them as an equal. You are willing to admit that you don’t know everything and that they also have the ability to be a teacher. In 2018, take the time to learn from your students. Let them do the teaching. Show them that their knowledge and intelligence stems farther than the classroom and that they should be proud of what they know.
Tip from Amy Mezni-Teaching Ideas 4U:
Steer your own ship. If you keep comparing yourself to other teachers – especially on social media – you can really start to doubt your own abilities. Focus on your students and their needs, and do what works for your class. The atmosphere of your class is more important than how pretty it is.
Teacher Tip from Lyndsey Gresehover, Teacher-Author of Lit with Lyns:
I find that it’s extremely important to get my students started as soon as the bell rings. This sets the tone for the remainder of the period/block. As soon as my students enter the room, they know to grab their laptop and open the Google Doc that we’re using to complete our bellringers/warm-ups. This is a procedure I implement the first day of school, so that the kids know right off of the bat what is expected at the beginning of class. I also try to create bellringers that relate to the topics/skills we’re covering in class that day. For example, if we’re learning about themes of stories/novels, I might play a short video clip that clearly shows the lesson/moral of the video. Then the kids would have to respond by discussing what they thought the moral was. This is a great activity to begin as you head back to school for 2018.
I hope these tips are helpful for you teaching style and your classroom! Have a wonderful beginning of 2018-be kind, be fruitful, be successful, and stay healthy!