August 21, 2016

Meet the Teacher Night Must Have

There is no other sign that summer has come to an end when its time to meet all of your parents and future students. The end of this week was meet the teacher night. It was exciting and nerve wrecking! I don't know about you all, but I was still running around to the last minute. Thank god, I have an extra pair of hands to help me. This year I will be having an intern in the class and so far she is amazing! There is no doubt in my mind that she has a successful path in front of her.

For meet the teacher night, I have found it very helpful to guide parents through the mountain of paperwork they need to fill out at the beginning of every school year. For the past couple of years, I have been doing stations that explain every step of the way. Before, I used to give them all the information they need it in one big folder. I quickly realized that many of them threw out the paper without even reading it. By doing stations, they have to collect the papers and then put them in a folder. This is an efficient way of doing it because it's organized and they know exactly what they will be getting. 

So, let me take you to a walk through of each station!

Station 1: Parent Sign In

I started the first station with a simple sign-in sheet for parents. This lets me know who showed up and who do I need to catch on the first day to give them the paperwork they missed. In addition, the sheets are in clipboards just in case I have to remove them from the table. The clipboard is also useful for parents as a support when they pick up the sheets. A couple of years back, I noticed holes on my sign in sheets and couldn't pinpoint where they were coming from until I saw a parent pick up the sheets and using his hand as a support to write. I was in shock because he could have used any of the tables to sit in. But for some odd reason, they don't sit. So clipboards were the perfect solution!

Station 2: Lend a Helping Hand 

This is one of my favorite stations! I love how it came out, the lights on the board and the black frame really made this part of the room eye catching. In this station, parents have the option to donate classroom supplies. I write the donating supply in a square and number them. If they choose one of the squares they simply match the square number to the sign in sheet and write their child's name. Then they take the square home as a reminder to bring in the supply. Next time, I'm going to add a deadline. I this manner, I can keep track of classroom donations. 

Station 3: Need to Know Now Information

This station is essential. It saves the 1st day or week of school from becoming chaotic! Here parents have to let me know two things: lunch and transportation. First, they need to circle if their child will be getting school lunch or bringing lunch from home. Next, they circle how will their child be getting home. This is important to know because you want the first day of school to go as smooth as possible. Lunch and transportation are two things that if I do not know ahead of time things might get ugly. 

Station 4: Teacher Contact Information

Throughout the year parents want to communicate with the teacher nut sometimes forget how to contact the teacher. This "business" card shows them where and how. I provide my email address and classroom website. I tape to the back a little magnet so they can put it on their refrigerator. I have many parents that tell me throughout the year how much this helps them. And for all of my high tech parents I include a QR code that automatically leads them to our classroom website. 

Station 5 : Important Information

Here parents find school information that is needed throughout the year. I place them in a folder and staple a day of the week that the each form is due by. I try to give these papers is small batches so I can keep track of them as the kids start to bring them in. The folder helps to keep all papers neat and organized. 

Station 6: Thank You For Your Involve-MINT! 

This the last stop for parents! I got this great idea from Learning in Wonderland. Basically, it's a little thank you gift for coming.   

At the end, it was all worth it. I loved how everything came together especially the stations that made those couple of hours run smoothly. If you are planning getting ready for meet and greet , come and grab this pack. Believe me when I say it will make Meet the Teacher Night  a piece of cake. The best thing about this is that you can customize the signs to fit your needs!

Do you have a day where your parents and students come to meet you? I would love to hear all about what you do! Here's a little reminder for your next Meet the Teacher Night!

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August 18, 2016

4 Tips for a Nautical Classroom Theme

Heading back to school is always an exciting time for me. One of the many things I look forward to in arranging my classroom and setting up. Even though the process never goes the way I picture it! This year I was fortunate to help my one of my friend set up her classroom and absolutely fell in love with her nautical theme.

For this nautical theme, I used Created Teaching Resource classroom resources to help pull off the theme. The are three main colors I used in her classroom : red, royal blue and cardboard brown. One of the first things I do when setting up a classroom theme is to pick and chose the color and patterns I will be working with. A couple of months, I stumbled upon some great advice about color and pattern mixing that has really helped my classroom themes have that cohesive feeling. Here are some tips:
It's important to understand a little about the different patterns available.

Types of Patterns: Movement, Geometric, Small Scale

1.Movement patterns are borders that have your theme picture.

2. Geometric patterns just like the name evoke have geometric designs.

3. Small scale patterns are any pattern that has elements that are small.

Now with that in mind, this is what I do next: 

1. Pick two to three main colors to work with.

2. Keep in mind your main three colors when choosing trim and borders. Use the different type of pattern mention above to guide you when picking patterns for your borders. I usually pick two of the patterns to incorporate into the overall theme and use them frequently in the classroom.

3. Pick two of the main colors in solid colors for your trim or borders patterns to stand out.

4. Bulletin board paper color should be your main colors.

Here are the results of the patterns and colors that I chose for this nautical theme.

This is the view once you come in the room.

This is the central focus of the room. As soon as you come in your eyes are automatically drawn to this wall. 

Here you can see the three main colors and patterns.

Another view of the room. Since her theme was nautical, we decided to do some paper lamps with the main colors.

This is the front of the room and the main teaching area. 

Here you can also see the main colors and pattern for her theme. 

What are some other great tips you have in mind when decorating your classroom?

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