Tag Archives: backtoschool

10 Things to Help Start the New School Year

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Well… It’s that time of year again. Back to school! Back to school commercials and radio ads are everywhere. We’re certainly being reminded. As we approach 2016, the first thing that comes to mind as a teacher is, “What am I going to do to set up a positive environment?” “How will I ensure I get to know my kids for who they are?” We all want to do our best and provide the best learning opportunities. The start of the year, I think, is the best time to set up the learning environment you want.  Positive start. Positive year. So I’ve compiled a list of things for you to use in the classroom:

  1. Set up a space in the classroom/learning environment where kids can share photos, personal stories etc throughout the year.
  2. Ensure your students know from day one that mistakes are welcome.
  3. Burry ‘I can’t.’ I always begin the new year by having students write down something they think they’re ‘really bad at,’ or ‘can’t do.’ They’ll look at you oddly in the beginning but the impact is worth it. Once students have written what they can’t do (I also join in), share what they have written in a circle. Then tell them to rip up and stomp on it. Once the fun is over, have children put all the ripped pieces of paper into a box and burry them somewhere. You can also just hide them in a secure place. Then at the end, discuss how we don’t say ‘I can’t’ in this classroom because anything is possible. You’ll see throughout the year when kids say, ‘I can’t’ other students will pull them up and remind them that we buried ‘I can’t.’
  4. Talk about the power of positivity and the power of the mind. I find doing this in the beginning of the year helps eliminate some of that self doubt. It also allows the kids to understand that as their teacher, you believe in them. Displaying something simple that says, ‘If you think positive things, positive things will happen,’ helps the students to understand that they’re thoughts are very powerful.
  5. Ask your students what they expect from you as a teacher. You can do this with some poster paper and sticky notes. I even allow students to comment on one another’s thoughts.
  6. Have the students write a letter to their future self. They can state goals, favourite band, colour, friends etc. Things they’re excited about for the year. Anything really! Then collect them and give them back on the last day of school. They love reading them.
  7. Laugh with your students and talk to them about yourself.
  8. Provide Brain Breaks by using things like Go Noodle.
  9. Watch Kid President videos.
  10. Smile at your kids everyday 🙂
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