Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Giveaway Celebration!!!I

I have recently reached 500 blog followers and 600 Facebook followers.  Woo Hoo!  So as a celebration and thank you - I am having a giveaway just in time for back to school. Hurry and enter below.  Thanks for stopping by!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bright Ideas - Back to School Home Visits

Today I want to share with you one of the BEST back to school activities I have ever been a part of - - - home visits.  I know for many this can be a scary or frightening idea, but it has been such a great way to begin building relationships and trust with my students and their families.  The following is a list of quick tips you can use to help the home visit process go smoothly and be a success for all!

1. Invite the parents to schedule a time to meet.  This way families do not feel like it is mandated that they invite you into their home.  Also, offer an alternative meeting place (like a public restaurant or park) for families to have an option to meet with you somewhere else.

2. Make sure that you schedule the home visits for short bursts of time (15-20 minutes each) so that families feel like they can share with you, but also realize you have a schedule to keep.

3. Make sure you ALWAYS have a partner that visits with you.  Also make sure the school and/or other officials know your schedule.  It is a great idea to check in every so often with the school.

4. Be prepared with a few questions that can lead families to discuss information that you would like to know - but the most important thing during this visit is to just LISTEN.  Take time to really hear what the families are sharing with you.  This is not a time to tell the families what you and your classroom is all about.  It is a time for the family to let you know about them and share their child with you. It may also be a good idea to take paperwork that you would like to have them complete and leave it with them to return to you on the first day of school.

5. Be an advocate within your school.  Invite other teachers to join in the process.  It may take a while, but soon others will see the benefits and how well you have established relationships with students and parents. Hopefully it will become a tradition for your school and then the whole community benefits!

If you liked this idea, please consider following me on Facebook, Pinterest,  or TPT.

To read about other Bright Ideas, check out the links below or follow the Bright Idea Pinterest Board.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Planning for Next Year

Well, here I sit pondering how in the world it is already the middle of July.  Where has this summer gone? It's been a great one here.  Moved into our new home, took a mini vacation, presented and attended several professional development sessions, and both of my kids have camps this month.  I guess being so busy makes the time seem to fly.

I've been thinking a lot about how I want improve for next year.  One of my major goals is to be organized in one binder - lesson plans, grades, calendar, standards, and units.  The past couple of weeks we have been working on re-developing our math and reading units, which has helped me to be organized already.

I want to share with you my teaching binder for 2014-2015.  I'm so excited to already have this put together!

The first thing I did was scour TPT looking for a planning binder that fit my needs and planning style.

I came across this great editable one by Ashely McKenzie

Next, I edited it to fit my needs and uploaded it to Best Value Copy to have it printed in color, hole-punched, and spiral bound. It turned out fabulous!!!  I then added it to a 3 ring binder and labeled each section.

The teacher planner includes a lesson plan template, a section for grades, and a calendar.

I then added my yearly editable curriculum map (purchased from Traci Clausen), copies of our updated reading and math units, and the Common Core ELA and Math Standards.

I feel really good about starting off the new school year in an organized manner.  Now to keep it that way all year long!  :)

So tell me, what are some of your back to school organization must haves????