First Week Ideas: Part 1

Sorting through the endless boxes of school resources I have been thinking a lot about the activities that I do in the first week with students. It is the time that you spend getting to know the students and get a feel about the dynamics the class may have as a whole. Like most teachers I do many activities so I think it is best to look at them one at a time.

Puzzle Pieces
To start with I am going to write about puzzle pieces. I really like this activity for a number of reasons:
1. You get to see each student’s handwriting
2. You get to see their likes/dislikes and interests
3. You get to see their creativity and personality

I like to do this activity on the transition day if possible. By doing it the year before I can have all the pieces up ready for the first day of school. I like to have these laminated and up on a pin-up board with Velcro so that they last the distance. Here’s mine that I use as an example:

I have tried two different sets of puzzle pieces but I really like the set by Megan McMahon on TPT. The pieces are a little more varied in shapes and not so “boxy”. There are also 28 pieces so for the average junior primary Australian classroom there are enough pieces for each student along with a few spares as students leave and enroll. Just a note about this product: when I purchased mine there was one piece though that has the arrow up the wrong way – so check before you hand them out to the students!

A great activity which gives insight into the students you’ll be teaching.

Snail and Turtle are Friends: Book Review

Snail and Turtle are Friends. A story of friendship by Stephen Michael King. Read the review at Miss Jenny's ClassroomFriendship. Snail and Turtle are friends. They don’t like everything each other does; or do what each other does all the time. But they do like being together.
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Organisation

Organising the classroom is always a tough task as it depends on how much (or little) space you have. Of course, being organised with handouts and diaries is also something I find I need to stay on top of – so I did what any savvy teacher would do – I looked on Pinterest for ideas!

It was on Pinterest that I saw mailboxes/pigeon holes for students – awesome idea. Not being particularly talented in the building department I had a local retiree make me this gorgeous cupboard.

It was made in two pieces – boxes for the students which are big enough to take an A4 ring binder – and storage underneath to keep your own things away from others!

 In my first year I tried putting laminated name labels at the back of each mailbox. What I found was that it was difficult to quickly find the correct one. I had started with them in alphabetical order but with students coming and going it was out of order by the end of term.

So this year I trialled something new. Using 50mm bulldog clips I labelled each with a student’s name and colour coded the names (black for general and red for then students who got notes). I chose to attach them on the side so nothing got caught and it worked much better. You can buy the template I used on TPT.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Mailbox-Labels-Template-to-fit-bulldog-clip-1608979

The Beginning

I am finally taking steps into the world of blogs. I have of course come across others in the past few years while searching for inspiration, but I haven’t actually delved into it myself…until now.
The reason I am starting the blog is because for the first time in years I find myself without a teaching contract. 2015 is open to a whole new experience – although that sounds rather scary in some ways.

About me then…
I am a primary school teacher who went to university later in life (by this I mean my late twenties) after years of working as a school services officer in both classroom support and in libraries. Once I graduated I worked in NIT (non-instructional time) and classroom roles – both in junior primary.

About me now…
This year started a lot of changes in my life, not least because I finally became a mum to two adorable children. I wouldn’t swap either for the world!

The only thing left to say is to let the new journey begin…I hope you come along for the ride.