Sunday, August 18, 2019

How to Make a Good Impression When You Meet Your New Students

The first day of school is one of the most exciting and stressful days of the entire year for teachers and students alike. One of the most important tasks that any teacher has is to make a good impression so that students can relax and look forward to the rest of the school year. As you begin thinking about that important first day, keep in mind that while your worries may be keeping you up at night, your students are also worried that they may not have a good teacher or even a good year.

Because it is so important that the first day of school be an encouraging experience for your students (and for you), you must present yourself to your students in as positive a manner as possible. This will be easy for you if you focus your energy on the following broad strategies.

Take Charge of Your Class

·       Have a seating chart ready so that you can show students to their respective seats and get them started on their opening exercise at once. Have an assignment on the board or give students a handout as they enter the room.

·       Before the term begins, when you have made up your introduction, class rules and expectations, consider having a friend record you presenting them. You can really have fun with this if you film your presentation at the beach, on a boat, or even in your own backyard. This would allow you to be creative and to make a polished presentation. When school starts, show the video and give your students a handout on the class expectations to fill in as they watch and listen. Showing a video instead of having to remember details on an already stressful day makes the day easier for you as well.

Calm Your Students’ Fears

·       Stand at the door of your classroom and welcome students to your class. Wear a bright name tag. Make sure to prominently display your name and room number so that students and their parents or guardians can be sure that they are in the right place.

·       Smile. Look glad to see every student. Greet each one pleasantly, using his or her name if you can.

·       Teach your first lesson as if it is the most important lesson you will teach all year. In many ways, it is. Your students should feel not only that they learned something interesting but also that they will continue to learn something in your class every day.

Introduce Yourself

Because you want the first day of class to go well, and because you want to control the amount of speculation about you, the new teacher, you should introduce yourself so that students can start to connect with you. While you should select the information from this list that would be most appropriate for your students, you can tell your students the following information:

·       How to spell your last name

·       Your title (Mr., Ms., Mrs., Dr.)

·       Where you went to college

·       Where you grew up

·       Why you are looking forward to working with them

·       The positive things you have heard about them

·       The positive things you have heard about the school

·       What your favorite subject was in school

·       Why you chose to be a teacher

Engage Your Students’ Minds

·       Design fast-paced, interesting instruction that will appeal to students with a variety of learning styles and engage their critical thinking skills. Solving puzzles, completing a challenge, quick writing assignments (if students can write), and other brief activities often work well.

·       Consider a lesson that will allow you to assess your students’ readiness levels as well as give them an overview of the skills they will learn or the material they will cover during the term. Make sure that the lesson is one that encourages them to be active, and not just one that requires them to listen passively.

Begin to Teach Class Routines

·       Teaching acceptable school behavior is part of what teachers do and is certainly part of what students expect from their teachers. For example, when it is time for students to turn in the day’s written assignment, take a minute to show them the procedure for passing in papers that you will expect them to follow all term.

·       If students lack supplies to do the assignment, lend them what they need for class and gently remind them that they will need to have paper and a pencil in the future. Instead of harsh reprimands, stick to gentle reminders instead.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

How to Make Your Students Feel Welcomed on the First Day of Class

When you begin planning for the first day or the first week of a new school year, you will probably focus your efforts on classroom management and instructional activities. Although these are crucial to the success of your students, making your students feel welcomed in your classroom is just as important. When students feel that they are valued and included, they will find it easier to cooperate, to work, and to learn. Fortunately, there are many ways to make students of all ages feel that they welcomed at school.

·       Make sure there is a large sign in the hallway so that students can find your classroom. Make it easy for them to feel confident that they are in the right place at the right time. 

·      Don’t make a fuss about students who may enter late. Just quickly settle them to work on the activities that other students are working on. 

·       Check attendance quickly so that any student who is not in the right room can quickly leave with as little commotion as possible.

·       Play music as they enter the room. An excellent source for music for your classroom is Pandora Internet Radio ( At Pandora’s Web site, you will be able to browse musical genres that will appeal to students. You can use instrumental or classical music or even music with lyrics suitable for school.

·       Make sure that every student is quickly seated in the right spot with as little confusion as possible.

·       Smile at individuals and smile at the entire group.

·       When students enter the room, have an interesting activity for them to do right away.

·       If students do not have school supplies, lend them what they need without fuss.

·       Make sure students know the names of several of their classmates by the end of class.

·       Having students interact with classmates on the first day sends a positive message about the importance of teamwork in your class.

·       If you need transitions between activities, consider showing a motivational or intriguing power point or movie clip.

·       Talk to your students about how you are nervous and that you predict that they are as well. Discuss your shared anxieties.

·       If students will be moving to other classrooms, make sure everyone knows where to go. Passing out school maps and assigning buddies to find other classrooms are both good ideas. 

·       Wear a name tag. If appropriate, ask students to wear name tags as well for at least part of class. 

·       Ask for their advice in solving a classroom problem such as how to store materials or remember the schedule for the next day. 

·       Make sure you are organized and prepared for class so that you can focus on helping your students. 

·       If you have students who misbehave, be as low key as possible in your response. It may take a while for students to learn to trust you enough to behave well and cooperate with you and their classmates. 

·       Assign buddies to students who may be new to the school.

·       If students have a written assignment, provide the paper. Odd shapes and colors are always more fun for students than lined paper.

·       Compliment the group throughout class and especially at the end.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Fifty Ways to Deal with Discipline Problems

        1.        Praise good behavior and ignore as much of the bad as you can.

        2.       Call a parent or guardian to get help.

        3.        Hold a conference with the child.

        4.       Listen to the student’s version of an incident before taking action.

        5.        Determine on a course of planned ignoring to extinguish misbehavior.

        6.       Ask the offending student what the consequences should be.

        7.        Never allow “free time.”

       8.        Ask students to tell you alternative actions they should have taken.

        9.       Move the student to a time-out area to cool off and prevent further trouble.

      10.      Reward, reward, reward.

       11.      Make students feel worthy of trust.

      12.      Post and teach your class rules, routines, and expectations

      13.      Keep your students busy from door to door.

      14.      Discuss class rules periodically—daily at first.

      15.      Smile at a student who is getting ready to misbehave.

      16.      Give a potentially troublesome student a position of leadership in class.

      17.      If a child is perennially fidgety, work out ways to channel that energy in productive ways.

      18.      Consider putting friends close together so that they can help each other.

      19.      Always have a backup plan for your backup plan.

      20.     Appeal to as many learning styles as possible.

      21.      If an exciting school event is causing your class to be out of control, go with the flow. Plan assignments that can channel that energy productively.

      22.      Arrange a lending system for those students who do not have materials.

      23.      If an infraction is caused by a student’s minor slip of judgment, offer reassurances that you now it won’t happen again.

      24.      Make sure to build motivation into every lesson.

      25.      Create a reasonable policy for students to leave the room. Enforce it.

      26.      Set behavior goals for the entire group and reward them when they reach their goals.

      27.      Offer tangible rewards for good behavior at unpredictable times.

      28.     Be emotionally accessible to your students. Grouchy teachers have more problems than positive ones.

      29.      Give a child a second chance. Sometimes a warning is all that is needed.

      30.     Remind students of their future goals to help them remain focused on what’s important.

      31.      More closer to a student who is misbehaving.

      32.      Enforce the school rules.

      33.      Model the behavior you want.

      34.      Don’t waste time in debate when an infraction is clearly an infraction. Avoid being manipulated.

      35.      There is nothing wrong with being strict or in having high expectations.

      36.      Time your students.  When you say, “You have two minutes to finish, students will work with purpose.

      37.      Use inspiring messages and mottoes.

      38.      Be so polite that your students would have problems being rude to you.

      39.      Give students as many options as you can.

      40.     After an incident has happened, examine your own actions. What did you do to cause the problem?

      41.      Control the pace of a lesson. Lessons that are too hurried or that drag cause problems.

      42.      Move students to other seats.

      43.      Use seating charts from the first day onward.

      44.      Meet students at the door and greet them. Pass out handouts at this point in the day if you can.

      45.      Stay on your feet and move around. Monitor.

      46.      Make sure your students know the consequences of their good and bad behaviors.

      47.      Accept no excuses for rude behaviors.

      48.     Make sure students understand the criteria for success on an assignment.

      49.      Tech your students the “whys” of an assignment or rule.

      50.      Consider traffic flow issues.   Keep student movement areas safe for everyone.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019


Although developing a positive outlook and turning problems into opportunities are effective tools in the battle against burnout, they are not enough to stop the cycle of self-defeat. To avoid the damage that burnout can cause, you also need to be proactive; you must prevent the buildup of the small stresses that eventually lead to distress and burnout. Consider some of the following strategies when you create a proactive plan to prevent toxic stress from consuming your life.

·        Place great value on your personal time. Working long hours every day is a sure path to burnout. You need time to just be yourself. School will always be there.

·        Allow yourself time to make effective transitions from one class to another. This is particularly difficult when you have many classes each day. One way to manage this is by having an opening routine that your students can do independently. This will free you to make the mental, emotional, and physical switch from one group of students to another.

·        Keep a flexible attitude. Get into the habit of looking for solutions instead of dwelling on your problems. If you are open to alternatives, you will be able to assess your options much more quickly.

·        Everyone benefits when you delegate responsibilities. Decide who you want to do a task, clearly explain how you want it accomplished, and then step back and allow the people you selected to get busy.

·        Plan ahead. When you know that you are approaching a tough time at school, find opportunities to prevent or solve problems and not just suffer through them.     

·        Take good care of yourself. Teachers tend to be nurturing people who focus on
the needs of others. But to succeed in taking care of others, you must take care of your own needs. Allow yourself time to rest, relax, have fun, exercise, eat well, socialize and enjoy life.

·        Slow down. Stop rushing from one responsibility to the next. Here are some ways to slow your life down: take time to eat lunch, allow yourself at least ten minutes to relax with colleagues at some point during your day, and use a journal for reflection.

·        Put some fun in your instruction. Plan activities that you and your students can look forward to. Few teachers experience burnout while they are having fun.

·        Pace the intensity of the work. Learn to plan your instruction to allow for some less arduous teaching periods. For example, you should not be “on” day after day. Instead, allow your students time for independent work, small group work, or even activities such as viewing films related to the subject under study. Being “on” all the time will quickly exhaust you.

·        Add structure to your life. Routines will prevent many stress-inducing problems.

·        Start to put together a network of supportive and positive people who can help you. Being connected to others is an important way to avoid the stress that can make every day miserable.

·        Take command of as much of your school life as you possibly can. Establish realistic long-term and short-term goals for yourself and then strive to achieve them.

·        Think before you act. If you plan your responses to unpleasant situations you will prevent many problems. Situations that you should think about before you act include dealing with incomplete homework assignments, angry parents, defiant students, cheating incidents, tardy students, and other frequent classroom disruptions.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Share My Lesson Virtual Conference Is Just Around the Corner!

Join Julia Thompson at the 7th annual Share My Lesson Virtual Conference, March 13 at 3:00 pm, 2019.

Attend Julia’s free session on How to Work Successfully with Defiant Students-- part of a free virtual conference hosted by the AFT’s Share My Lesson. With 30+ sessions to choose from, you'll discover webinars filled with "use right now" strategies and tools for teachers, paraprofessionals and school related personnel, parents and community members.

Share My Lesson is known for its expansive library of science, math, social studies, English language arts and health-related resources; and this free professional learning webinar series will provide the professional support you're looking for in your instructional practice, support for students and schoolwide programs.

So, make some time for as many of these worthwhile sessions as you can. You’ll be able to network with colleagues nationwide and have direct access to leading education organizations. And you can earn professional development credit, too. Pick your sessions today.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Included in SML's Tops Resources of 2018 List!

Exciting news! One of my blog posts and a webinar were both included in Share My Lesson's Top Resources of 2018 list!

Since Share My Lesson presents excellent material that is of immediate and practical use for educators, it is an honor to be included in their list. Here's a link to all of the outstanding resources that made the list: 

The title of the webinar is "Warm or Demanding? Develop Classroom Leadership Skills." Here's the link:

The title of the blog post is "Create a Welcoming (and Functional) Classroom on a Budget." Here's the link:

Friday, October 26, 2018

I've (Sorta) Moved! Find My New Blog at Share My Lesson!

Hi Everyone,

After experimenting with various writing schedules, I've finally decided to focus my online writing at the wonderful Share My Lesson site sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers.

If you click on this link:, you will be redirected to the site where you can find my blog posts as well as others by knowledgeable thought leaders in our profession. Just find the icon about my blog posts and click. Easy and simple. You do not have to belong to AFT to access all the resources offered to educators by Share My Lesson. Joining the group is free and an excellent way to access thousands of lesson plans, communicate with other educators online, and create your own professional development ideas through the wealth of webinars and other opportunities offered by Share My Lesson.

If you are just looking for my work (thanks!), here are some of the topics that you can read about there:

10/15/18: Be Proactive: Maintain Your Work-Life Balance

10/1/18: 11 Teacher Traits: Develop Your Front-of-the-Classroom Persona

9/14/18: What to Expect During the First Grading Period

9/3/18: Setting Your Own Professional Goals

8/20/18: Two Important Document Collections: Your Professional Portfolio and Your Teacher's Daily Binder

8/6/18: Create a Welcoming (and Functional) Classroom on a Budget

7/23 /18:  Developing a Professional Mindset

7/9/18: You've Just Been Hired? Congratulations! Here's What to Do Next

If you need some professional development credit, you can also consider participating in the webinars at Share My Lesson. Here is a link to my latest one: