I love the freshness of a new school year, don’t you? I also love the busy-ness of the first few weeks of school!
But, and there is always a but, I don’t love the overwhelming feeling we all get as we try to write lesson plans, make nametags, hang bulletin boards, create new projects, and teach our classroom routines.
So, let’s see if I can give you some ideas and quick tips to get going smoothly in the busiest month of the school year!
Let’s Focus on Procedures, Projects, and Preparation!
- Teaching Procedures
- Teaching Classroom Rules
- Bulletin Boards
- Pencil Structures
- Teaching the Scientific Method
- Surviving the First Few Weeks
Hang onto your hats and get ready to take notes!
Those Procedures That Will Save Your Sanity
Place a dishpan with wet washcloths in a central location. When teams have their tables cleared off a student can grab a washcloth and scrub down the tabletop. Use real washcloths! They work better than paper towels.
Links at the end of this post will take you to blog posts about each topic!
Teaching Your Classroom Rules
Oh, My, Those Bulletin Boards
Here’s another tip about bulletin boards! If you ever create one you absolutely love, take it down carefully and re-use it another year. Change it around a little bit or recreate it exactly the same.
Projects – Towers
So, it’s time for some STEM!
Projects with Pencils
So, one year I found myself with so many boxes of brand new pencils. Well, that sounds heavenly, right?
Nope. They were all unsharpened. I totally dreaded having to sharpen pencils to get started and then I noticed something. Those round pencils reminded me of dowel sticks which reminded me of building things- which led to STEM Challenges that use pencils as the main building supply!
We really enjoyed these challenges using pencils! It includes towers that have a twirling part, pencil boxes, and drawbridge models.
In a STEM Classroom, we have to be very frugal with our materials and we reuse as much as possible. I save everything and try to find unusual and inexpensive materials. With multiple classes, I have to do this. Using the brand new pencils was a perfect idea! After we took structures apart, the pencils were sharpened and ready to be used- as pencils!
Teaching the Scientific Method
I don’t know about your classes, but my students come to me with very little knowledge of experimenting or using the Scientific Method. When I discovered this a few years ago, I decided to create some fun experiment events that kids would really enjoy and throw the Scientific Method right into the middle of it!
This resource proved to be amazing for the students. They experiment with different liquids to see which will create the fastest dissolving of the effervescing tablet. Then they design their own experiment after creating a hypothesis. Highly engaging and so fun!
Surviving the First Few Weeks
My last tip is all about you! These first two months of school are overwhelming and stressful! How do we make it every year?
This post (above) is not about school! It’s about things you can do at home to make your school year begin with some organization and tips to make it a little easier!
A Little Recap
- If you are a specialist, don’t forget how important it is to teach procedures and practice them.
- Try an engaging STEM Challenge to teach your classroom rules! This hands-on method is a sure-fire way to have kids remember your rules!
- Paint your bulletin board backgrounds! Or cover them with fabric. It will save time in later years.
- Save your favorite bulletin board pieces and arrange them in a different way for another school year.
- Try a STEM Challenge that uses easy materials to work on collaboration and teamwork.
- Use materials frugally and even try some unusual materials for STEM – like pencils!
- Use an amazing experiment to teach the Scientific Method!
- Take care of YOU!