Tuesday, August 14, 2018

First Year Teacher Tips and Advice


First year teacher tips and advice - Are you a first year teacher? I am so excited to share A TON of first year teaching tips and advice with you to help your first year run as smoothly as possible!

So it’s about to be your first year teaching! I am sure you are filled with so many emotions. You are going to finally get your own classroom. You’re excited to decorate it, you’re excited to meet your students, you’re excited to be a teacher! You’re also freaking out because you have no idea how to set up your tables, how you’re going to organize centers, etc. It is so normal to be overwhelmed with a ton of different feelings and panic of how you’re going to get it all figured out before the kiddos arrive. No worries, you will!

Firstly, if this is your first year AND you’re teaching First Grade, ohhh be SO EXCITED because I literally laid out everything for you in this post:

I recommend reading that any way if you’re a brand new teacher – I gave a ton of advice in it. Either way, though, keep reading on THIS post for a lot of tips!


First Year Teacher Tip #1: Surround yourself with positive, creative teachers who still LOVE what they do.

Those teachers who you walk into their rooms and it just inspires you – talk to them! Pop in their room once in awhile and say hi. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions. It’s easy if you combine it with a compliment. “Wow, I love your center rotations board. How does it work?” They’ll probably light up by your compliment and gawking and tell you all about it.

The teachers who you see walking by with their line of kids and they’re smiling, ask them for advice!

First Year Teacher Tips - 21 awesome pieces of advice for brand new teachers!

Hopefully your school has lots of them! There are some schools with a pretty negative atmosphere but there are still most likely those positive teachers in there somewhere, find them – even if they’re several grade levels different from you. Make friends. Be social. It’s so important to be happy at school so finding like minded teachers you enjoy being around that are uplifting and positive is crucial!


First Year Teacher Tip #2: Get to that committee sign up sheet ASAP!

Many schools have a committee sign up sheet and require you to sign up for at least 1 committee. This decision will affect you ALL YEAR so make sure you get to it as soon as possible and are informed as possible as to the requirements of each committee. There will most likely be an email or announcement of some kind when it’s put out and, trust me, many teachers RUN to the front office right there and then to make sure they don’t get stuck with a super time-consuming or super un-fun committee. Be one of those people there first.

First Year Teacher Tip #2 Get to the school committees sign up sheet the second it's put out (and tips for new teachers for what to sign up for!)

Before the sheet is even out, though, ask a teacher you trust if there is a committee sign ups sheet. If there is, ask them what they’d recommend signing up for. Ask questions. Once the sheet is out, you could also ask the front office staff about each position. Obviously you don’t want to sound like you’re trying to be lazy but you could be honest and say, “I want to help and am excited to pick something but this is my first year so I want to make sure I don’t pick something crazy” and hopefully they say something like, “Well don’t sign up for the ____ then! They meet weekly!” or “The ___ is pretty easy. They just have to ____ and ____” to guide you.

DO NOT sign up for something that has to meet weekly or has really intense requirements! I know you want to be the best first year teacher ever and impress everyone but you have a lot of other ways to do that.

The best thing would be something that is already well established with other veteran teachers who have been doing it for years that doesn’t have to meet/work often or something that is maybe a once or twice a year thing, preferably after winter break so you’re a little more settled into the school year. Something like field day can be a great one IF the person doing it with you is the person who has done it the past 5 years so they already planned everything and you get to help – if you’re doing it with someone else for the first time, however, that can be an overwhelming task! Again, ask someone for advice! Every school is different.

If you’re not required to sign up for anything, I’d honestly say don’t! BUT make sure you’re at a school where a lot of people simply don’t sign up and that’s normal. You don’t want it to be not technically be a requirement but then your principal pops in your room one day once all the spots are filled and asks why you didn’t sign up for anything and asks you to take what’s left (which, trust me, is empty for a reason). Also make sure it’s not tied to any bonus or something where you have to be on a committee to get the bonus before you decide not to sign up.


First Year Teacher Tip #3: Always eat lunch in the lounge.

I know you have a million things to do but it is SO important to take a few moments to be around adults, laugh, and share your day. It’s refreshing and a mental break you need. Even if you’re not BFFs with the people who have lunch when you do, it’s still important to sit down, breathe, eat your lunch, and be around other adults for a few minutes.

It is soo tempting to make copies during this time – you really do feel like you get a bunch done in that little break because you feel super focused because you know you only have 15 or so minutes – but it should be a RARE thing for you to not eat your lunch at a table of friends in the lounge. Only if you forgot to make copies or get called to the office or something. RARE. :)

First Year Teacher Tips and Advice #3 Always eat lunch in the teacher's lounge - I explain why!

It is another thing that doesn’t seem like a big deal but starts to weigh on you. Trust me.


First Year Teacher Tip #4: It won’t always be this hard.

It won’t always be this hard. Repeat that to yourself when you feel overwhelmed.

You’re doing SO many things for the very first time. Of course it’s going to feel overwhelming, but every amazing teacher you see was a terrified, panicked, overwhelmed first year teacher once. Maybe there are exceptions buuuuut I don’t think I’ve met any of them soo :)

First year teacher elementary tips and advice that is both helpful and comforting for new teachers!

You’re literally learning how to do EVERY single thing that teaching encompasses right now. Of course you’re overwhelmed! Doesn’t mean you’re not awesome and totally ready to take on this new adventure!

Realize that all of the gathering resources, laminating them, cutting them out, etc. is stuff you’ll have ready to go next year.

Next year, even if you switch grade levels, you’ll know so much more than you do now and that will be so comforting. You’ll have a year experience finding your teaching style, classroom management style, how to handle homework, how to handle parents, and literally hundreds of other things you didn’t know before the first day of school this year.

I repeat:
It won’t always be this hard.


First Year Teacher Tip #5: Get into your new classroom the moment you’re allowed to and then walk the halls!

Okay so I bet you were probably going to try to get into your new classroom the second you’re allowed to start setting it up anyway but you want to be in your new school the moment teachers are allowed into the building because, in many schools, this is PRIME purging time for teachers to get rid of stuff they don’t want anymore and, as a first year teacher, you need basically everything, right??

Beginning of the year tips for brand new teachers - a lot of helpful advice if you're new to teaching!

It may not be the case at all schools but, at many, teachers go into their classrooms over the summer and clean out stuff they don’t want anymore and put it out in the hall outside their door or in the lounge. If that is the case, it is FREE stuff!

Don’t wait a week to go into your new classroom because you’re overwhelmed or don’t have everything ready to take in or whatever – I say be there every day for at least a little bit so you can be the first to pick through any goodies people may have left outside their door!

IMPORTANT - though - make sure it is okay to take this stuff and that is what people do. Make sure it’s stuff they’re actually getting rid of, not putting out in the hall to reorganize. Before you take ANYTHING from a pile outside a door, pop in their room and ask them in a super friendly, “Hey are you getting rid of this stuff?” and if they say yes, profusely thank them as you take it.

Don’t be a hoarder, though – only take things you really need and will use.


First Year Teacher Tip #6: Ask Questions!!

It’s hard to not feel afraid to ask questions. You want everyone to think you’re the best first year teacher ever. I get it. But don’t ever feel ashamed asking questions! Especially with the other teachers on your grade level team if you have one.

First year teacher tips and advice galore!

Asking questions is a great way to bond with your new coworkers! Don’t just hit them with a bunch of questions obviously but you can always genuinely compliment something you love in their room that you think you may want to try yourself and then ask them how they do it.

Examples:
- Wow I love your center rotations board! It looks so organized! How do you do it?
- Your Monday – Friday buckets are awesome, is that how you organize your copies?
- This is so cool! Is this how your kids turn in their work?

Don’t be weird and snoopy (lol) but when you visit with another teacher in his/her room, quickly glance around at what’s on the tables/desks, walls, etc. It really helps to see the way another teacher does something in person! If you feel awkward doing that, search classrooms on social media – plenty of people share their set ups! You can ask them questions too! In my experience, bloggers are typically super helpful, nice people who don’t mind answering your questions, or at least I don’t! I mean, if you’re writing a blog or sharing pictures on social media of your teaching ideas, you probably love talking about them and are doing it to help other people so you probably love connecting with them and don’t mind helping. I love feeling like I’ve helped so please don’t ever hesitate to ask someone who posts a picture of how they do something for advice or clarification if you need it! Try to not be sad if they don’t respond, though. I know I personally get hundreds of messages a day and it’s so easy to miss some by accident. I try so hard not to but it happens so definitely don’t take it personally, they probably didn’t even see it!

There are some exceptions to this:
Try not to ask your principal or admin a question you can ask someone on your team or a friendly coworker later. Your first year is a lot of smile, nod, and ask, “Wait, what was she talking about?” later to someone you trust :D There will be a lot of acronyms or terms you might not know yet. Unless you really need to, try to save your question for later with a coworker friend in a casual setting rather than the middle of a meeting.

& DON’T dooooon’t DON’T please don’t raise your hand and ask a question during a staff meeting to ask a question :)


First Year Teacher Tip #7: Read teaching blogs!

READ TEACHING BLOGS!!!
Clearly I would be passionate about this one :)


First year teacher tip #7 of 21... Read teaching blogs including this one! There are so many great ones out there!


Seriously though, pretty much every single thing you could possibly want to know, a teaching blog probably has answered for you. & answered in a way that makes sense. & probably even has pictures.

Do a search and pick the teaching blogs off the first few pages. Teaching blogs are obvious once you recognize them. Read the info on those!

For example, if you’re a first grade teacher and wanted some fun ideas for teaching graphing, if you typed in “Graphing First Grade” into your search on your browser, a lot of results would come up, hopefully including my Graphing and Data Analysis in First Grade post. Pick out the posts from teaching blogs (rather than websites) to read as I think they’ll be the most helpful!

You can do this for everything you can think of – from how to set up math centers to open house tips to how to deal with a chatty class to how to teach numbers and number sense to fun ideas for teaching short A, etc.

I personally LOVE writing posts like that and have written so many for how to teach different math concepts, reading skills, and other fun activities you can do so definitely check out my
to see my most helpful posts organized by topic so you can quickly learn about anything you want! I love to include a lot of pictures and be as helpful as possible so I hope you enjoy those!

So, as I said, for absolutely anything you ever want help with, do a search and pick out the teaching blogs to read for tips! There are so many great ones out there!

& SERIOUSLY, if you are a new K-2 teacher, you MUST read:
Even if you’re going to be teaching kindergarten or 2nd grade, there are still so many helpful tips in that post!


First Year Teacher Tip #8: Utilize your school’s instructional coaches if your school has them.

If your school has instructional coaches, that is AWESOME! They are an amazing tool to help you become even more of the amazing teacher you want to be.

Ask them questions! They are typically awesome at whatever they’re a coach for (math, literacy, etc.) and it is literally their job to help you teach it well so ask them if you ever want help!

I feel like they’re so often underutilized by teachers at schools. Don’t feel like it makes you look super new, they’ll probably be impressed that you took the initiative to ask them for advice.

If you ever feel like maybe you could do small groups better, you could ask them to model a lesson. Be aware – though – that they’re probably going to say they want to come watch you do it then give you tips after. They might actually do this anyway as part of their job. Listen to what they say!! It’s so easy to want them to just say, “Oh my gosh that was perfect! You don’t need to change a thing!” but if they are doing their job well, they will tell you what you did well and what you need to work on. They will have critiques. Even the best teacher ever has things to work on… always. That’s actually a great lesson to learn now. You’re always going to be learning and getting better! You may be used to getting 100% on your evaluations in your internships and classes – don’t expect that! Honestly, the things they say sting a little because you want them to say it was perfect but try not to get offended, instead truly reflect on the negative feedback and try to implement their suggestions. You may be shocked that they were right! Ask them how you could do it better and then try it with your students!

First year teacher tip #8 Utilize your school's instructional coach if you have them! Click this to read a lot of awesome new teacher advice

Really though, if ever you’re lost on how to teach [whatever], ask your school’s instructional coach for advice and ideas. They may even have cool materials you can borrow to use in your lesson!

They’re also usually close to your principal so it’s nice if they like you :)


First Year Teacher Tip #9: Treat the custodians and front office staff like royalty.

Be nice to everyone of course but make a special point to be kind to the front office staff and custodians. They do SO much for you behind the scenes that you probably have no idea about!


Sooo many first year teacher tips to help new teachers with all the things they don't teach you in college!

The front office pretty much runs everything in the school so be on their good side :)

Make a special effort to thank the custodian any time you see them doing something in your room. They’re really the backbone of the school and work so hard.


First Year Teacher Tip #10: You might question your decision to become a teacher a lot this year.

It's totally normal.

First year teacher tips and advice including how to handle the hard parts of the school year

Teaching is amazing and I think it is one of the best jobs ever but it can be overwhelming! There are going to be so many aspects of teaching you never knew existed and there are going to be haaard days. Remember this is your first year and being totally overwhelmed and questioning your life a million times is normal your first year.

I think every new teacher (or at least most?) goes through a weird phase during their first year where they become really depressed about teaching. I don’t know why but it happens really often. First year teaching depression is real and it happens to even the best of the best new teachers. If you sort of anticipate it and take steps to avoid it as long as possible (be around positive teachers, laugh about silly moments, etc.), that can be really helpful. Your goal is to try to keep loving teaching as long and as much as possible because there will be times in this first year where you hate it and question your decision to become a teacher. Those freak out panic awful feelings will pass and you will get over that hill. It feels so uphill and awful while you’re climbing up the hill but you’ll get over it. And even if they hide it well, the other first year teachers feel the same way!

Don’t let me scare you with this though. Your first year will be challenging but it will still be fun, filled with so many great memories and you will absolutely LOVE those kiddos in your first class for forever and ever. You will think about them 20 years from now. They will always feel like your babies because you worked harder for them than anyone else.

This brings me to tip #11!


First Year Teacher Tip #11: Have a To Do List AND a DID list.

You guys.

My “Did List” is the best thing I think I’ve ever done to help me feel accomplished. It only takes a total of a few minutes each day to do and yet makes me feel 100% better about my day.

A weekly did list is the PERFECT way to feel accomplished each week - read about this reverse to do list where you write down all the things you DID. If you are a list maker, you will LOVE this... it helps me feel so accomplished every day!

If you ever feel like you worked so hard and yet got nothing done all day, you are going to love this trick!

Basically, as you go along each day, you write down each productive thing you did. It takes a few seconds at a time that only equals a few minutes total each day but makes you feel so much better about yourself. You’ll be shocked how many things you actually did! Or it’ll motivate you to do a couple tasks here and there to make your list look longer :)

I simply put a little dot and write each thing I did:
* Made homework copies
* Did 2 loads of laundry
etc.
and it fills up fast! :)


If you’re a list maker, you will LOVE this. It motivates me every day. I am obsessed with it. It’s so easy to stare at your to do list every day and think, “Oh I’m going to get this and this done tomorrow” only to be disappointed when you feel like you were running around everywhere and didn’t cross anything off. This will help show you that, no matter how long your to do list looks, you actually do get SO much done each day.

Yes, I know Saturday and Sunday are smaller. That’s on purpose. :)

It’s okay to not be as productive on those days… if Saturday and Sunday are blank, I consider that an accomplishment actually. Try to not work on weekends when you can!

I write ALL my things I did, including laundry, dishes, whatever. Hey you did it, give yourself credit for it so you can see how amazing you actually are and all the things you get done in a day. It’s easy to get down on yourself with mounting to do lists and this helps me SO much with that!

Check out this to teacher do list AND did list and how they're both used to feel productive and happy!

As far as a TO DO list, I recommend having a master list that you make copies of and use every week by writing down the things you do every single week THEN making copies of it. Here is the one I use:

FREE Teacher to do list and copy list! Simple and perfect! Read about how she uses these along with a did list to get tasks done and feel good about each week!

Write the things you do every single week then make copies of it so you’re not writing the same things down every week. There are some things you do
Every.
Single.
Week.
Write those down then make copies of your list.

Those are honestly the easiest things to forget to do, even though you do them every week, so it’s nice to cross them off. Plus you probably don’t even write them on your to do list since they're just assumed each week so it’s nice to cross them off and helps with that whole feeling accomplished thing. After you cross it off, add it to your did list :)


FREE Teacher To Do List! Teacher trick - Write down the things you do and copy every week THEN make copies of it before you add to it each week. Saves so much time!

If you look above at my picture example, the things in black are on my list every week. You probably have things like that, too, that you do every single week (copy homework, change class jobs, add new word wall words, etc.). I don’t write them every week. I wrote them once then made copies of the paper to use as my to do list. This saves so much time!

Then under that I add anything new that week in pencil. I usually do that in a different color other than black (usually pencil) so they stand out to me. You can see the lighter colored writing underneath the black writing - that's what I added to the list that isn't on the copy.

You could easily make your own to do and copy list to fit what you need but if you want mine already made for you, I put it in my TpT shop here for FREE!

It’s super simple but I like it that way :)


First Year Teacher Tip #12: Always submit your attendance on time.

Always submit your attendance as soon as the bell rings!

Remember how I said to treat the front office staff like royalty? This is the easiest way to get on their good side. Don’t make them call you to remind you.

First Year Teacher Tips #12 Always submit your class attendance on time and other great tips for new teachers

It’s super easy to forget to submit so I recommend having something kids do as soon as they enter the room so they’re not bombarding you while you’re trying to take attendance.

I highly recommend my kid graphing cards I show in my Fun Ideas to Teach Graphing post where, first thing in the morning, kids grab their kid card that they made to look like them and answer the daily graphing question to make a class bar graph. It also quickly takes attendance for you. You simply look at which kid cards weren’t used, do a quick glance to double check those kids aren’t in the room and that no other kids are absent, then mark them absent and submit.


First Year Teacher Tip #13: Have a system so you always know where all your students are.

Along those same lines, one reason it’s very important to submit your attendance right away is that it’s very important to always know where your students are at all times. Have some sort of system where they check in and out so you ALWAYS know where they all are.


Classroom check out system and other awesome first year teacher tips and advice

I personally love the cup trick I show in my 20 Classroom Strategies You Can Start Right Away post. Scroll until you see a picture of a blue cup that says “Restroom” on it and it will explain the simple system. That’s a post I think you could get a lot of classroom management ideas from by the way. If you have a second, read that too! :)

Always have an up to date class list handy that you can grab in case of a fire drill so you can make sure you have all of your students or see who is missing.

If you wear a lanyard, you can tuck a small piece of paper with all your students names on it behind your ID so you always have it with you.


First Year Teacher Tip #14: The first few weeks of school are all about teaching routines, procedures, and expectations

The first few weeks of school are all about teaching routines, procedures, and expectations so make sure you walk around your room and know what you want all of those to be! Even the tiniest little things!

First year teacher tips for the first week of school - classroom routines and procedures are so important! Make sure you check out the list of them!


Here is a giant list of classroom routines and procedures to get you started on thinking about it! You don’t have to figure all of these out right now but they’re nice to think about!
Setting up your expectations and strong classroom management is crucial in these first few weeks!

I have shared a lot of classroom management tricks over the years on this blog and on social media including in the post I was just talking about.

Here are some of my other most popular and helpful ones I recommend to new teachers:

You may feel like you didn’t teach much content the first week or so of school and that’s okay. Solidifying the routines and rules will help the year run smoothly all year and is super important. CONSISTENCY IS EVERYTHING. If you say it is done a certain way, it is ALWAYS done that way, no exceptions. Even 5 year olds are looking for any opportunity to see if the rules can be bent. Noope. :)


First Year Teacher Tip #15: Smile at the kids and show them you love them every day. Be Kind.

On that same note, though, ALWAYS be kind and show the kids how much you love them. Say hello. Get to know them. Randomly chat with them during the day. Tell them about you. Let them share about them. Bond. They will listen to you so much better if they know you love them.

Even when you’re stressed, greet them with a friendly and calm smile when you first see them in the morning. It may be the first smile they see that morning. Your love and attention may be the only love and attention they get from an adult that day.

Awesome first year teacher tips!

You don’t have to have the most exciting lessons on the planet or the cutest classroom ever to show them you love them. They’ll know by the way you treat them. Firm and consistent with expectations but always, always kind.

Treat them like you would want someone to treat your kids.

Have fun with them. Even a silly joke or giggle during a lesson or while they’re working can go a long way.

Let them see you’re human. Tell them how proud you are of them. Tell them when they’re making you sad talking while you’re talking. Be real. They love you. When you’re human and they can see you as a real person that they love that loves them back, they will behave so much better.

Forcing yourself to smile and sound excited when you’re explaining an activity or whatever will help them enjoy school and pretending to be happy and excited can often actually make you feel happy and excited. Especially when your students act happy and excited in response rather than groan.


First Year Teacher Tip #16: This year is all about finding your style so try new things and have fun!

You’re going to try a bunch of new things for the first time. Some things will work, some things won’t, and that’s perfectly normal! Teachers are constantly trying new things and ditching them when they don’t work. This year is all about trying new things and finding what works for YOU. What works for the teacher next door might not fit your style. You’ll develop all that as the year goes along. Don’t be afraid to ditch something you thought would be amazing that isn’t working for you and try something else. Give things time though – truly try them out before you ditch them. Most things will feel like they’re not working at first so give things time to let you and your students get used to them. Keep what works, toss what doesn’t! :)

Beginning of the year advice for brand new first year teachers!

This year you’ll be figuring out your classroom management style, organization style, how you manage centers, how you teach math, how you teach reading, how you teach writing, procedures you like, when you like to make copies, and figuring out basically everything including how to not have a cold the entire first year of teaching while your teacher immune system develops…


First Year Teacher Tip #17: Don’t touch your face!

…. Which leads me to #17 which is kind of a silly one: Don’t touch your face!

Your first year of teaching is when you develop your teacher immune system as you’re surrounded by a school full of (most likely) hundreds of kids so try to take a few precautions to not be sick with the flu your entire first year of teaching:
Try not to touch your face during the day.
Have a separate box of tissues you use apart from the students’ box.
Try not to touch their writing utensils and tools (that’s a hard one in the lower grades but try to have your own things – keep your own caddy on your desk and one on your small groups table with pencils, markers, etc. that only you are allowed to touch).
Wash your hands before you eat and try to bring lunches you don’t directly touch with your hands to eat.
Teach them how to cover their coughs and sneezes with their arms and how to wash their hands if they sneeze or cough into them, wash their hands after the restroom, etc.
Try to eat healthily and get your vitamins. (I know, I know, it’s hard)
Change out of your school clothes as soon as you get home! How many kids did you hug today that were all over your clothes? Plus, it’s the perfect excuse to get into pajamas at 4 P.M. – take it!

Great tips for new teachers! If you are a first year teacher, definitely read this list!

I know it sounds silly but it’s really common to get sick over and over your first year teaching because the kids all come to school with different strains of the cold so once you get over one, you get another one so it’s nice to take a few precautions while you build up your immune system.

You probably will get a cold a few times during this first year of teaching, though, so make sure you always have generic substitute plans ready (with copies of work to do already made in case you didn’t make copies for that week because you didn’t feel well) and put them in a specific place on your desk so if you ever need to call in sick, you can point the office to them and won’t feel so scrambled or try to crawl into work anyway. It doesn’t take a long time to prepare and you’ll feel so much better knowing you have it!


First Year Teacher Tip #18: Get resources in YEAR SETS and try to copy ahead.

I highly, highly, highly, highly recommend consistency in your activities, especially in K-2. Have your reading centers be the same EVERY week but switch out the new phonics sound. Have your sight word activities be the same EVERY week but switch out the new sight words. Pretty much have everything exactly the same each week but switch to the new skill being taught whether it’s the new phonics sound, math concept, sight words, spelling words, etc. This will save you SOO much time and stress having to explain new activities all the time. Once they’ve done it a few times, the kids will know exactly what to do every day without you telling them anything and can focus all their brain activity on just learning the new skill rather than HOW to do the activity to do the new skill. I hope that makes sense!

If your curriculum doesn’t provide that, look on TpT in your grade level for year sets of things. The beautiful thing about getting things in year sets is you know what you’re doing every week and aren’t scrambling for activities. All you really have to do is make the copies, not search and scramble to find new things and then still have to make copies.

That’s why I love my Phonics No Prep Packs because the activities inside them stay the same but the sound changes so kids always know what to do and plus they’re fun :) I talk about them more in my New to First Grade? Everything You Need to Know post so check that out if you want to see more about them! I also show pages from them as well as other fun phonics activities in my Short A Activities post, Digraphs Activities post, and EW UE UI Activities post. Most of the activities I show in those posts I have in year sets so if you love a particular center, I probably have it for all the sounds so you can use them all year. So be mindful of that when you’re shopping on TpT or wherever. Before you buy something, read the description to see if there is a bundle that has that same activity for all the sounds so you know that if you like it, you can add it to your routine and save so much time! There is a lot of cute stuff out there but if there’s just ONE of it, then you have to search for the next ONE for every sound every week – no, thank you! :)

Once you get a resource like that, when you go to make copies, bring the next week’s page too and copy both, paper clip them, and then you’re prepped for 2 weeks and it didn’t take that much more time. You could even do it for many weeks at a time and copy way ahead. Copying ahead feels sooo good when you can do it!


New teacher tips and advice to help guide you through your first year of teaching!



First Year Teacher Tip #19: Don’t get obsessed with data

It is super important to use your data to do the very best for your kids and let it help you differentiate your instruction to meet their individual needs.

However, DO NOT get obsessed with data. I could rant about this but I will keep it short. Even if your school is obsessed with it, even if your administration is obsessed with it, don’t get obsessed with it. Use it, learn from it, grow from it but don’t let it affect how you feel about yourself or your students.

It does not define your worth as a teacher nor your students’ worth as students. Your students mean way more than the things their data shows. Make sure you’re never looking at them like a number or an already passed test. They’re all there to learn and grow and have fun and enjoy school and enjoy learning :)


First year teacher tips and advice that is so great to read as a new teacher


We’re in a data crazy time right now in some schools so I wanted to throw that out there. Don’t judge a kid by their data coming in either. They may surprise you!



First Year Teacher Tip #20: Don’t feel inadequate for taking things home or staying late.

First year teacher tips don't feel inadequate if you take work home from school and other great tips for new teachers

You WILL take things home this first year. A lot of people are going to give you the advice of not staying late or not taking work home. I understand what they’re saying and definitely think you should make it a point to not make that a habit but your first year… you’re going to. You’re making all your centers for the first time, you don’t have files of things you’ve already done and made to pull from. They mean well when they say, “You’re still here?? Go home!” but it really can make you feel inadequate thinking thoughts like, “Why can everyone else get everything done and leave at the bell but I’m still here for hours?” Don’t feel that way. Feeling like you have 9485048353 things to do and not being able to get them done during the school day is totally normal. I mean you’re teaching the vast majority of the school day – how could you possibly cut out centers or make copies during that time? A small break during specials is barely enough time to pee and breathe. The differences between you and the teacher who said that to you are that a) they’ve already done that work you’re doing in previous years, or b) maybe you are actually doing more than them. First year teachers are very ambitious – after a few years you chill out and realize you don’t have to do ALL. THE. THINGS. for your students to learn a lot and love school… but I totally understand that you feel like you need to right now and are excited to but are just struggling to find the time!

You will probably take home lamination to cut out on the couch, you will bring spelling tests home to grade when your “To Grade” bucket is overfilling, you will look for cute teaching ideas online, you just will. You’re a new teacher… and it is quite a rare teacher, even who has been teaching 20 years, that doesn’t bring things home or work at home sometimes. Try not to do it a lot but it’s okay if you do. Don’t beat yourself up if you stay late and the teacher down the hall leaves exactly after the bell every day and somehow seems to have all her copies made and all her stuff together. Even if this is only their 2nd year, they still had a whole 1 more year than you to learn and perfect. You seriously grow so much every year it’s insane. Plus it ALWAYS feels like everyone else has it all together except you and it’s just not true – constantly remind yourself that you are rocking it, even when you don’t feel like you are! & Also, like I already said, you never have to do this first year teaching ever again :)


First Year Teacher Tip #21: Your first year teaching is going to be crazy… love it anyway!

This speaks for itself, I think!

New teacher advice for your first year of teaching!

You never have to do your first year teaching over again so enjoy the ride!! You are about to start the best job ever. Be so proud of yourself for choosing such an amazing career that makes such a huge difference in the lives of so many. It will be a lot of work but it’s worth every bit of it <3



Make sure you follow people who inspire you so you always see fresh new ideas that inspire and rejuvenate you during the year!

If you want to follow me, here are some fun ways to do that!

and Pinterest!


Thank you so much for reading and I so hope this was helpful for you! You have so many people (including me) rooting for you so don't be afraid to ask us for help!! :)


Sunday, August 12, 2018

Classroom Routines and Procedures for Elementary Checklist

Classroom routines and procedures for elementary checklist to help you know all the little details to teach your students the first few weeks of school to have your entire school year run smoothly - I've compiled them all into a list for you! :)

Morning Routine
- How to politely enter and exit the classroom
- How and when to turn in homework, homework folder, or parent notes
- Where to put packed lunch
- Where to put backpack, coat, etc.
- How to do lunch count if your school does that
- How to do attendance if they help with that (in my Fun Teaching Graphing Ideas blog post, I show how to use a daily graphing question to help take attendance which is also math practice and a fun way to start calendar later in the day)
- What to do after they’ve put away their backpack, done lunch count, etc. (have a specific task like start morning work or start morning tubs)

Supplies
- What goes in caddies
- When they can access backpacks/cubbies during school day (and IF they are allowed to)
- How to sharpen pencils or get a new pencil / what to do if pencil breaks
- How to safely handle scissors
- How to handle glue
- Where to put items they find in classroom (I have an awesome FREE “I’m Lost” bin label bucket you can download on my 20 Classroom Management Strategies You Can Start Right Away post that also explains quickly how I use it – it helps so much to keep things organized instead of piled on your desk or in your pockets)
- How to push down marker lids until they click
- How to push down glue stick lid until it’s tight
- How to get more glue out of a glue stick (show the height to stop turning it)
- How to use liquid glue (This awesome list of Classroom Management books has a cute book that is PERFECT to read to them about how to use glue)
- How a table/desk should look when it is clean
- How to get textbooks, notebooks, and other supplies when needed (Who gets them – each person or a table leader? Where do they get them? How do they put them back neatly?)

Behavior Management
- How your behavior system works (I LOVE clip charts when they’re used in a positive, fun way and I explain ALL about how I keep it engaging, fun, and exciting if you scroll down to #17 in my 20 Classroom Management Strategies post and also show the exact charts I use and how I switch them out to keep it effective and fun all year)
- How to line up
- How to walk in line (Blog post with a ton of tips coming soon!)
- How to ask to get a drink
- How to ask to go to the bathroom
- How to ask to go to the nurse
- What you should ask to go to the nurse for vs. what they can handle themselves in the classroom (in that same 20 Classroom Management strategies post above, definitely also download the free “Ouchie Lotion” label I put on there to save soo many trips to the nurse)
- How to raise hand to ask a question / talk
- Rules for tattling (I have a huge helpful blog post about How to Tackle Tattling if you’re struggling with this!)
- How to sit (crossed legs, hands in lap, mouths closed, etc.)
- Voice level during each activity (I am obsessed with my Voice Level Chart – I show it and talk all about how to use it in my Chatty Class Classroom Management Strategies post – definitely check that out as I share a ton of tips!)
- How to sit at their desks/on the carpet/at small group table when you’re teaching
- Classroom jobs and how they work (Here’s a giant list of Classroom Jobs with cute names to help you figure yours out)
- How to respectfully walk from seat to carpet
- How to respectfully walk from the carpet to their seats
- What to do when someone (child or adult) enters the room (NOTHING. Mind your business :))
- When a student is allowed to approach your desk or small groups table without being called (if they are ever allowed to)

Procedures
- How and where to turn in work done in class
- How to check their work before they turn it in 
- What to do when they’re done with work (might be different for each time of day)
- What to do with work they don’t finish in class
- What to do when they finish work early (definitely check out my How to Keep Gifted Kids Engaged and Learning post for tips on how to handle students who always finish their work early)
- How to always put their name on their paper and any other info you have them do (first and last name, student number, etc.)
- What to do during a fire drill (I have a super cute No Prep Writing Craft I love to do for this lesson in my October Writing Crafts post called “How to do a Fire Drill” – it’s a perfect way to introduce or practice how to writing while also going over an important classroom procedure)
- How to clean up during transitions
- What to do if you were absent (Blog post about this coming soon!)
- What happens if they don’t finish their work in class
- What happens if they don’t turn in their homework

Math
- How to know what group you’re in
- How to do each center
- How to get center materials
- How to clean up and put away math materials
- The voice level to talk during centers (again, a perfect time to use my voice level chart -  I recommend the Indoor Iguanas level for center time)
- What to do if your partner is absent during math centers

Reading
- How to open textbook to page (I have an amazing trick for this!! Go to my Phonics Fluency Notebooks post and scroll until you see the ribbon trick – it saves soo much time opening thick books to the correct page)
- How to always have your finger following along
- How to sit respectfully during reading groups

Writing
- How to ask for editing or help
- How to edit their work on their own first
- How to use the word wall (or personal dictionary if you use them) to correctly spell words
- Where to put writing that is in progress (or any work that is in progress for that matter)
- What to do when done with writing (I highly recommend my No Prep Writing Crafts for a fun writing activity they can do when done with their main writing OR as their main writing. That post explains how they’re made and used but I’ve also written posts for Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, Oct, Nov, and Dec that show the different fun writing crafts for the month. You can get to them all by going to my big Miss Giraffe Blog Posts List to find each post full of pictures and ideas)
- Voice level again (it’s important to establish the voice level you expect during each part of the day since it changes. Writing time is typically Quiet Turtles whereas centers would be Inside Iguanas, in-classroom breaks would be Chatty Chickens, etc.)
- How to respectfully listen to someone else share their writing

Classroom Library
- How to put books back & where they go
- How to select a book
- When they are allowed to get a book & if they have to keep the book they select or if they are allowed to switch it out (and, if so, how many times)
- How many people are allowed in the library at a time
- How to treat books
- How to walk with a book (ex: hug it until you get to seat)
- How many books they are allowed to have at their seat at a time

Outside of Classroom
- How to behave in the lunch room
- How to behave in specials
- Hallway behavior (no running, talking, peeking in other classrooms, touching bulletin boards, etc.)
- Bathroom etiquette (what to do/not to do in bathroom, count to 30 (or whatever) while washing hands)
- Recess rules
- How to line up quietly while they wait for you to pick them up from recess or specials

Computer/Technology
- How to log in to computer and/or devices
- How to handle devices (how to walk with them, get them, put them away, how to use them)
- How to get to websites, apps, etc. you want them to use & how to log in if needed
- When they are allowed to access technology

Other
- How to read daily schedule (this is a great one to teach so they don’t ask you every day when lunch is & also helps them practice Telling Time)

End of the School Day
- How to pack up to go home
- How to line up to go home
- How to exit the classroom and walk out of the school respectfully
- Where to go after school (bus riders, parent pick up, etc.)


If you need some fun materials or want visuals to teach some of these routines, I created these really fun behavior pocket chart centers with 126 different classroom and school rules/routines/situations for kids to sort as a Responsible Choice or NOT Responsible!

Classroom Routines and Procedures for Elementary checklist visual cards you can sort in a pocket chart center or use for whole group lessons about behavior and classroom rules.. you can use these behavior sorts for so many different classroom management lessons!

Each card has a school situation or classroom behavior that kids sort as either being a Responsible Choice or NOT Responsible - these fit perfectly in a pocket chart!

Classroom Management pocket chart sort where students sort each center card as being a responsible choice or not responsible - so many awesome character lessons you could do with this!

They can also be used whole group to show kids on the carpet the cards of what to do and what not to do so kids have visuals when you discuss all the routines and procedures with your new students! They are also a lot of fun to act out together on the carpet (either do it yourself to model or choose a student volunteer for each). The "NOT Responsible" ones are super fun to act out :) They make great discussion starters for talking about rules on the carpet at the beginning of the year or any time they need a reminder.

There are SO many cards including how to behave in the classroom, how to behave at recess, how to behave in the lunch room, how to behave during centers and in reading groups, how to behave in the hallway, how to line up, how to be kind to others, etc. so you can pick out the cards that apply to those specific categories to organize into small lessons for each time of day so you can make a lot of different behavior lessons out of these cards.

Responsible Choice or Not Responsible sort with 126 classroom rules and school situations for students to sort - these are great for beginning of the year behavior management lessons

I plan on using them that way to make a lot of anchor charts out of these at the beginning of the school year for different lessons like Morning Routine Expectations, How to Behave at Recess, How to Behave in the Cafeteria, etc. so I will try to remember to add those to this post as I make them so you can see examples! :)

Here are some more pictures of them so you can see some more examples!

Beginning of the year activities to teach students how to make responsible choices with awesome visuals for what to do AND what not to do

Classroom management lessons for kindergarten or first grade perfect for the beginning of the year and establishing classroom routines and procedures and teaching your new students about all the school rules and classroom rules

You could also pull them out in small groups to teach little behavior lessons at your table! Have kids sort them in front of you, talk about each one, etc.

Classroom Rules for Elementary Ideas and huge list of classroom routines and procedures to teach the first week of school

I hope you enjoy these!!

First week of school activities 1st grade or kindergarten that you can use to teach your new students behavior expectations and classroom rules plus a huge list of what routines to teach!

Great classroom management lesson ideas for the first week of school

If you use them in a different way, I'd love to hear about it!

If you want these, you can get them here:


Also, if you are New to First Grade (or new to Kindergarten or 2nd), definitely check out this post I just published last weekend:

You can also check out all my favorite blog posts organized by topic here:
Go to the Classroom Management section for more fun ideas like these!

If you enjoyed this, I have a LOT more posts I plan on posting soon. Here are some ways you can follow along: 
Pinterest
TeachersPayTeachers (so you can see when I post new resources!)
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Thanks so much for reading!!

Here's a pin you can use to save this post to read later if you want! :)

Classroom Routines and Procedures Checklist to teach at the beginning of the year including fun tips for how to do so!