When returning back to school, building relationships with our students, either in person, or virtually, is key to having a successful year. People are emotional creatures and they need to know they are cared about and valued. It is important to build a foundation of trust and respect with our students and their parents so that we can work successfully together. Check out this post for some tips for getting to know your students.
Developing a good working relationship with our colleagues is also very important. We need to feel that others are there for us when we have difficulties, to support us, and even to be our cheerleaders. We also need to be there for others when they are struggling and to celebrate with them when breakthroughs happen or special moments happen.
This year, it is especially key for a successful year. There are so many stressed out teachers, co-workers, parents, and children because of all the unknowns with the pandemic. There are so many unanswered questions. Here are just a few of the ones floating around.
What is my classroom going to look like?
How am I going to ensure that social distancing happens?
How do I engage my students when they are not able to work together and share materials?
How do I find a balance between in person and online teaching/learning?
What resources will I need to make this happen?
How do I help my students feel like they belong and they are important?
How do I keep everyone safe?
Will I be able to play with my friends?
How will I be able to get help when I don't understand?
Do I need to wear a mask all day?
What happens when I need to go to the bathroom?
What if I get too close to others or I forget to leave space?
What if I can't remember all the rules?
Who will help me if I need it?
Will my teacher and classmates like me?
Should I send my child to school or home school?
Will my child be safe?
How will I be able to help if I keep my child home?
How do I prepare my child for what to expect at school?
What are they doing to ensure social distancing and a clean environment?
Is it better for my child's mental health to go to school or stay home?
How can I support my child and the teacher?
Safety seems to be the number one thing that concerns everyone. It is important that protocols be in place to ensure the safety of everyone as we navigate through this new way of learning. Working together we can make this happen.
I don't know if anyone has the answers to all these questions, but I do know that we all want what is best for the emotional and physical well-being of those involved.
We need to focus on some of the positives of being together again. Anxiety only increases stress. Try to enjoy being together. Find ways to build those relationships and have a successful year. Here are some tips that still hold true even with the unusual year we are about to begin.
I wish you all the best as we navigate this school year together.
Stay safe, stay calm, and have fun.
Here in Canada, summer vacation is nearing an end and teachers are preparing their classrooms for a new year. In other places, some teachers are already back at school. It is always exciting to freshen up a classroom, prepare for the new students, and just begin a new adventure. However, this year is a different start up because of the pandemic and it will be filled with excitement and trepidation. The uncertainties can be stressful, but together, we will get through it.
With the possibility of a hybrid model or more online teaching, the resources will be somewhat different than in the past. More digital materials are required and ideas for engaging students from a distance are important.
Here are some samples of some bundles and resources. Click on the images to see more about them. Check out the categories in my store for more ideas.
Back to school activities help children get back into learning mode. Here are some ideas for the first few days that will help engage them and get them started.
Decorating up the room makes it feel inviting and fresh. Here is a rainbow themed kit that might work. It is available in French as well.
Taking care of your students' well being is important right now. Positive encouragement and recognition of feelings are key. This self esteem kit can help. When it comes time to report on how things are going, student-led conferences empower the children as they share their learning with their parents. This format has worked well for me for over 20 years of conferences.
Working with measurements is fun for children because it involves concrete activities and it can be directly related to real world situations.
Money is sometimes confusing for children. I created this Money Lessons for Children unit with my grade 3 class a few years ago. It was amazing how much we covered as we learned together.
I love doing projects with my students. It give them hands on experience and also allows for sharing knowledge in different ways. This 3D community unit evolves with each class as the background knowledge and the types of communities chosen can be different to fit the group of children involved.
With the solar system project I am always amazed at the different ways children come up with sharing their understanding.
Even after retiring, I still continue to go into the school to volunteer with guided reading groups. I have created several guided reading study guides and supplements as well as emergent readers and other literacy materials for use with the class and small groups. Here are a few examples.
When I retired, I began tutoring in French. I found that it was easier to make my materials so I could customize them for my students. The cool thing was, that I made them in French first and then discovered that they would work well for my students in English so I created English versions as well.
Distance learning is sure to be happening in many places. I have been working hard to create some digital activities that work for online instruction. Here are the ones I have done so far. Most of them are Boom cards, but I am slowly working on adding some activities for use with Google Slides and Google Classroom.
I am also working at using the Digital Overlay Tool from TpT to make some of my regular products usable for distance learning as well.
Enjoy your time with your new students and returning ones too. Don't forget to get lots of rest also. I always forget just how tired a teacher can get the first few weeks of school. Stay safe.
I wish you a very happy and rewarding year.
It's that time of year again. But it is also different this year. Normally teachers would be planning and creating in a renewed state, eager to start off a new year with new students and exciting activities. This year, there is a lot of uncertainty and stress as teachers fear going back to school and the difficulties it will bring.
Teachers need to support each other through these difficult circumstances. Self care becomes very important. I posted some ideas for self care in my last post. You can check it out here.
As teachers and students return to school, there will be some excitement, and apprehension as new protocols are put in place to deal with the ongoing pandemic. It will be important to help put children at ease as they adjust and learn to engage in a different way.
Start by doing activities that help your students get to know each other and and create relationships. Mixers, groups, and partner activities can still happen, but in a different way. Maintaining social distancing while doing these activities can be a challenge, but as creative teachers, we finds ways to make them happen. That is our super power.
First week activities help students to ease back into learning and following routines. Here are some resources that might help.
These are also available in a bundle that includes start up forms and a back to school kit. I also have several poster sets and theme kits in my Back to School category in my store.
I wish you well as you begin this new year. Stay safe and try to enjoy your time with your students.
About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.