Some things haven’t changed…
Don’t forget the long-time principles that have always helped teachers in the classroom:
- Be prepared: Knowing that the teacher is well-organized will help students pass from a state of uncertainty to a state of knowing and understanding.
- Motivate students: Make sure, whatever your activities, that kids will respond to the traditional question “What did you do in school today?” with a glowing smile and excited report.
- Establish routines and schedules: Students appreciate knowing how the two- or four-hour time blocks will be divided. They like to see if an exciting activity is coming up.
- Establish classroom rules: Collaboratively establish rules and then show the students you are consistent and fair in enforcing rules.
- Preview the curriculum: Let students in on some of the exciting things they will be learning this year.
- Let students decide and choose: Share responsibility for decision-making with your class from the outset. Let them know they will be encouraged to make choices.
- Include a literacy experience: You can turn the tide toward reading by showing great wonder and enthusiasm for the world of books yourself.
- Acknowledge every student: Enable each student to feel unique. Let each one know with a verbal or nonverbal response from you that she or he is welcome, valued, and special.
- Review, assign and post easy work: Students should go home that very first week feeling successful, feeling that they have accomplished something. You have the whole year to challenge students and encourage them to work beyond their capacities.