Monday, June 29, 2015

Back to School Organization!

Happy Monday! (That isn't so bad when we are on summer vacation, right?!) 

I actually am getting ready to go back to school, meet a new bunch of first graders, and start a new school. Wait, WHAT?? You see, I teach in a year round school. I posted this on Instagram the other day and a few teachers were confused by the concept. My students and I get a break every quarter rather than a full summer. Our schedule is 9 weeks on track, 3 off. I LOVE IT!!! The biggest negative to year round school is that you sometimes have to "track in and out" of classrooms. This year I do not...whew! 

So I am getting ready to head back and you are lounging by the pool.  :) I wanted to share a few things you might need when you head back too! 

I love all things organizational!! I love cute matching baskets, caddies, folders... labels make me happy! 

This year I want to organize my word work center differently. I bought this drawer cart after I came across these FREE Word Work Drawer Labels I pinned on Pinterest.  

I bet this system will also help my kids who walk aimlessly around looking for materials since the labels have great clipart too. 

Have you read Kristin's {A Teeny Tiny Teacher} post yet about Gold Tags? If you have not, head over to check out this ORGANIZED behavior management system we use in our classroom...I promise you will love this POSITIVE classroom management system. I implemented Gold Tags in my classroom before I started teaching with her,and will continue to do so until I retire. The focus on positive really works for me and my kids and their parents EAT.IT.UP!! 

Kristin has gotten so many comments and questions, she decided to (finally) make an EDITABLE pack to share with other teachers. Check it out {HERE}! 

Today I am printing these letters to send home with parents the first day of school. 

In order for me to make the most of my time with my students I want to learn as much as I can about them as quickly as I can. Each year, not only does this letter help me learn individual information about them, I have found I also learn a great deal about parent’s concerns and ideas which help me better communicate with them about their child. :)

I don’t usually share with students what their parents write, I just ease it into our conversations. For example, I said to a student who I learned loved the military, “Dave, I went to tour an old battleship yesterday, do you know anything about them?” Dave and I made an instant connection which lasted throughout the year.

Often the information can help with social or emotional issues a child is dealing with. For example, last year a parent wrote to me about their child being able to fix technology issues in their home with ease. Within the first week of school I noticed this same child had very low self esteem in relating to his peers. When I learned the information in the letter, I made a big deal about needing help with technology. Instantly he became my special computer doctor for the whole year. His demeanor changed in the next few weeks partly because he knew he had a special place in our classroom and we counted on him often!

I send this letter home to parents the first few days of school and ask them to return it about a week later. I also attach a return envelope to convey to them this letter is confidential information. Finally, I review the letters several times throughout the year as a way to teach, nurture, and connect with my students.

If you'd like you can grab them {HERE}. 

I will be back soon with more beginning of the year goodies soon. Cheers to enjoying sleeping in and the pool!