My two stars are all about how to handle a teacher's favorite thing...classroom supplies. We all love them. But, if you are like me and you don't have student desks ( I have tables), you have to figure out how to store them.
However, my post is not about how to store them as I think this is very teacher specific depending on space, organization style, and amount and type of containers. :) But if you want some organizational ideas check out this post from last summer. My two stars are how to deal with the sudden influx of 20+ notebooks, boxes of crayons, and scissors etc.
At my school we do a Back To School/ Meet Your Teacher night the week before school starts. I send home a meet your teacher brochure before then to encourage the kids and their parents to attend. I also include this note:
I go communal on most of my supplies because of the whole no whole desks situation. I can sort through the supplies that are brought in ahead of time and get them labeled if need be and put away ahead of time. This really cuts down on the amount that needs to be taken care of the first day.
Now I don't get 100% of the supplies then, although that would awesome. :) So we do have to take care of some things on the first day. Confession ( Although for many of you I am sure it is nooooo surprise.) I HATE clutter. I hate mess. I hate when things are not in their place.
I mean this picture pretty much sums it up folks. ;)
So unloading the supplies time in my room used to just make me itch. It was a horrible way to start our very first day together.
Here is my next tip on supplies. Spread it out throughout the morning and put away the supplies as you get them. Here is what I do. While my students are working on something else, usually morning work, I will call for supplies one at a time. For example, all the tissues. Students that didn't bring them in already will bring them to me and I will put them away where I store them. Then I will call for something else, like plastic baggies, and put those away before calling for a new item.
This really works for me for three reasons.
Reason #1: It keeps the piles of supplies to a minimum. Yes, our backpacks are in the room and they take up some space. But overall the "mess" is a lot more under control and it helps to keep me sane on a very insane morning!
Reason #2: I can point out acceptable behaviors and start conversations about what we act like in 2nd grade. I usually have someone model bringing me a supply first before I have others do it.
Reason #3: It gets the kiddo's up and moving, something that is SO necessary in those first weeks of school!
OK, now to switch gears and on to my wish. This is the thing I am hoping to do better next year.
I always have several areas that I want to work on each school year...who doesn't. But for this post I decided to focus on improving my character education.
At my school we have a monthly character trait and at the end of the month we have an assembly where we award students who we feel demonstrated that character trait. We used to do an assembly at the beginning of the month where the students learned about the character trait. Each teacher was responsible for one months assembly. But that went by the wayside and it just became up to us to teach about the character traits in our room.
Now, I'll be honest, sometimes teaching the character trait would get pushed off until the day before the assembly and I would scramble to find something to use to introduce the character trait. But I TRULY believe that as important as reading, writing, and arithmetic are, teaching our students to be good people is just as important if not more.
So in order to help me be prepared for the character traits I created this little gem here:
Each of the character traits has a poster explaining the trait in kid friendly language, a list of books that help students to understand the trait, and then a writing response that includes space for students to write and draw about the topic. No more scrambling to find SOMETHING to do with them. This is ready to go and requires very little of our precious instructional time. You can check out the first month, respect and responsibility, HERE.
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