Monday, August 26, 2019

Connect Connet Connect

Although you may want to connect with your students right away, it takes time to not just build the necessary rapport, but to gather as much information about individual students as you can. Even if your class size is small, you will have students with various quirks, life experiences, and personalities to try to decipher and that cannot be done in a hurry.

Another reason that it takes time to learn about your students is that every day will bring new maturity and growth. Interests will develop or evolve, and life experiences will create change. Even though this can be challenging, learning about your students is one of the most rewarding aspects of your teaching practice. Here are just some of the ways that you can learn about your students:

·       Review your students’ records. Be sure to follow the correct procedures and confidentiality regulations. You may want to jot quick notes on each student as you scan his or her information.

·       Make a point of observing your students as they interact with each other. Who appears to be shy? Who is a peacemaker? Who is generous? You can learn a great deal about them simply by being mindful of their interactions with each other.

·       When you make a positive phone call home, you have an opportunity to ask questions. Likewise, when you send home an introductory letter, you can add a section asking parents or guardians to tell you about their child.

·       Your students’ previous teachers may be another good source of information. One drawback of this method is that you may sometimes get information that is not completely objective and that may bias your view of a child.

·       One of the best ways to get to know your students and to help them get to know each other is to use icebreakers. As you watch students interact with each other, you will learn a great deal about them. In addition, icebreakers will give your students an opportunity to learn to value each other’s contributions to the class. Try these icebreaker strategies to learn more about your students:

o   Have students work in pairs or triads to fill out information forms about each other. Include questions that will cause them to learn interesting and unusual details such as their favorite performers or athletes or a pet peeve.

o   Pass around a large calendar on which each student can record his or her birthday. Also consider having students mark their birthplace on a large map.

o   Play “Would You Rather?” with your students. In this quick game, you call out a question with two answer choices. Examples would be, “Would you rather be famous or be rich?” or “Would you rather have a dog or a cat as a pet?” Students can indicate their choice in a variety of ways such as standing, raising hands, or moving to a designated area of the room.

o   Put students in pairs. Give each pair a blank Venn diagram; have them chart how they are alike and how they are different. After the initial pairs have completed the diagram, each pair should then join another pair and create another Venn diagram that shows how the pairs are alike and different.

o   Have each student create a timeline of his or her life. If you let students use large sheets of bulletin board paper and bright markers, you will be able to decorate your classroom with work that students will find fascinating.

o   Have students group themselves according to birthday, eye color, favorite sports team, favorite music, or other common interests.

o   Check out the many icebreaker sites online. One that is particularly useful for classroom use is Youth Group Games (

o   Ask your students to list five things they do well. You will be surprised at how difficult this is for many students; too often, students focus on their weaknesses, not on their strengths.

o   Put your students into pairs and have them determine seven things they have in common. Insist that they go beyond the obvious to discuss such topics as shared experiences, attitudes, or aspirations, or other appealing topics.

o   You can also learn a great deal about your students from brief writing assignments in which students respond to quick questions. Here are some quick suggestions for topics in the form of statements to be completed by students that you could use at any time of the term.

1.     When I am grown up, I want to...

2.     My favorite things to do at home are...

3.     My favorite things to do at school are...

4.     The subjects I do best in are...

5.     The subjects I need help in are...

6.     I am looking forward to learning about...

7.     I like it when my teachers...

8.     I would like to know more about...

9.     I am happiest when I am...

10.  I handle stress by...

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.