10 Back to School Tips for An Awesome Year!

“The best thing a human being can do is to help another human being know more.”- Charlie Munger

The new school year is approaching fast. I will miss spending all day with my toddler, Savvy, but I am looking forward to trying new ideas with my elementary students. I work with all grades at my school and this is my second year with this group of students. I am now equipped with new procedures, web tools, activities, grading strategies, and classroom management strategies to make this an even better year than last year! I also am excited with new ways to transform the learning space and some strategies for strengthening relationships with students and their guardians.  I have taught now for over 2 decades in more than 20 countries with learners of all ages and the 10 tips below have helped me be an effective and energized teacher. I hope you will find them useful as you begin your year with new learners! Scroll down to see the infographic with these 10 tips!

Tips and Resources

  • Walk in motivated– You will have the rest of the year to get bogged down, stressed, and in the dumps. What’s wrong with walking in believing you can really make a difference to your learners? Click here for resources to avoid teacher burnout.
  • Engage parents– Contact parents  with positive messages about their children to let them know you believe in their children. Some great tools for engaging parents include Class Dojo (this is what many teachers at my school currently use and love), BloomzRemindClass Tag, and Gsuite for Education Apps and Tools. For parent digital newsletters you can try BunceeCanva, or Smore. Also, feel free to copy and and edit my parent newsletter as you like! I share in this post how to Find more great tips here!
  • Change the classroom environment– In chapter 24 of The 30 Goals Challenge, I talk about different ways to change your classroom to enhance the learning. Take students outside, use learning stations, use mobile devices, or makerspaces. Encourage learners to take part in creating their own learning environments:
       Have them graffiti on butcher paper on the wall
       Have them post their inspirational quotes on the wall
       Have them help design the bulletin board, calendars, or your virtual learning spaces!
  • Get to know your students– I teacher over 400 students and getting to know their names can be tricky. Here’s a post with great tips to learn their names and help others learn their names. It is also important students learn about each other. Digital storytelling and culturally responsive teaching is a great way to do this!
  • Be preventative and proactive when it comes to classroom management– My class is full of routines, procedures, expectations, student leadership roles and responsibilities. Building relationships between students and also with me really helps maintain my classroom. Classroom management tips and strategies are discussed in chapter 19 of The 30 Goals Challenge.
  • Unbind yourself from textbooks– You know what your students need to learn so feel free to pick and choose what will work in the book and try having students be the main content creators of materials. Find more than 20 strategies to engage learners with the knowledge in the textbook here.
  • Build a teacher survival kit– I knew a teacher, who carried in her purse, masking tape, scissors, a small cushion ball, and other supplies for emergencies. This was her kit, which made her flexible to change her lessons or get kids moving in case of fire drills, student restlessness, etc. I talk about this more in detail in chapter 9 of The 30 Goals Challenge. Find more resources here!
  • Cultivate relationships– Check out my icebreakers for children and icebreakers for teens and adults. Find plenty more get to know you activities on my Icebreakers page.
  • Integrate technology effectively– Pedagogy first then technology. Find more tips on my page, Survival Tips for Integrating Technology and my post, Putting the “T” in STEM! 60+ Resources for Teaching Children with Technology! When we use technology it should:
        Support students ownership of learning
        Allow students to be content creators
        Engage and motivate students to be continuous learners
        Support effective communication, especially with peers worldwide
  • Have fun!– Students should leave your class feeling that math, science, reading, writing, etc. can be fun so that they continue the exploration and learning outside your class! Check out my posts about coding, creating digital gamesTPR, or using games in the classroom!


Infographic: 10 tips equip you and your students for an amazing year

(Image credit: Shelly Terrell)

Challenge: Try these ideas in your classroom and share your tips with us in the comments!

cross posted at teacherrebootcamp.com

Shelly Terrell is a Technology and Computer teacher, education consultant, and author of books including Hacking Digital Learning Strategies: 10 Ways to Launch EdTech Missions in Your Classroom. Read more at teacherrebootcamp.com.

Shelly Terrell is an education consultant, technology trainer, and author. Read more at teacherrebootcamp.com