It’s About That Time of Year

August is just around the corner, (3 days, but who is counting?) and you know what that means. Soon you will be setting up your classroom, and your kids will be done with their first semester before you even know it. With that said, are you prepared to let this school year be your best yet? Sometimes it’s the simple things we need to be reminded of. Below are some tried and true tactics to start the year off with a bang.

Environment
One of the first things your students are going to be exposed to is your classroom. Having a warm and inviting environment is a must for any educator. What makes a classroom a great environment? One thing is to make sure the room represents you as an educator. What message do you want to expose to your students?

Having a safe learning environment enables students not only to learn quicker, but also feel like they can take educational risks. Taking ownership of their learning, and engaging in the conversation  needs to be organic for you and your class. Setting the tone you want your classroom to have can be a hard task, especially when you are dealing with student motivation.

If your school allows plants, they are a great start. Plants bring life into the classroom—literally. Something as simple as assigning students to take part in watering plants can encourage responsibility, and ownership for their part of the room.

Engaging Lesson Plans
Studies have proven a student’s age is the amount of minutes they can stay focused on a topic. Yes, that means if you are a kindergarten teacher, you have about five minutes to get your point across.  To keep attention, one way is to have engaging lesson plans. Instead of lecturing, try having the students discuss points throughout the lesson with a seat partner. It could be as much as just a two minute conversation to review what you had just taught them. Not only does this help re-enforce the content, but it also helps keep your students engaged throughout your class. If you are worried about classroom management, it does take some practice when trying new lesson techniques, but well worth it.

Smile
I know this seems simple, but making sure you greet your students with a smile every day can have a huge effect. For one, having a smile is more inviting, making you seem like a ‘person’ to the student. Also, smiling is contagious. How many times has someone looked you in the eyes and smiled at you, and you didn’t start smiling? More times than not, I’m sure you smiled back.

Have Fun
Learning can be fun, and if you are having fun, chances are so are your students. Every fall is a chance to start fresh with a new group of students, (usually) and you can make the most of it time and time again. With a little (well, let’s not kid ourselves a lot) of hard work, you can have fun with your students, and have them learning the skills they need to succeed as adults.

Image Credit: CBS News

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  1. #1 by Belinda Callin on August 2, 2011 - 9:04 pm

    I did not know the little fact about the attentions span and I wish more teachers would remember how effective a smile can be. Thank you for the post.

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