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teachers’ toolbox and more!

A toolbox of ideas. Be the best teacher you can be.

Ideas for teachers to devise a strong classroom plan, manage parent relationships and create a place where students enjoy learning and thrive!

Try one of these tips and send me your favorite ideas to share with others. Together we can keep the curricula fresh and fun!

EARLY CHILDHOOD (Pre-school–Kindergarten)

Try This
Create a routine. Repeat.
Children thrive on repetition. Make a routine and stick to it. Then, make small changes as you see how students respond and your class develops throughout the year.
Enter room, put away jackets. Go to a rotating table activity for 10 minutes. Clean up, have rug time with story and calendar. Take a bathroom break, recess, wash hands, snack. Circle time with basic math or comprehension concepts, rotating table activities. Repeat.

Practice makes perfectChildren cannot be expected to understand and follow multi-step directions. It takes time and practice for them to understand the routine.
Post the routine in class and send home to parents. Practice all parts of the routine, especially what children are doing correctly, for several weeks. It may take up to six weeks for young children to truly process the routine. Give them time.


Try This
Focus on the positive
Negative commands such as “Shh,” “don’t,” “stop” and “no” are not teaching tools. They simply illustrate the negative without giving a student anything to learn or build upon for next time.
Focus on behavior you want to see. “Johnny, please stop doing that,” is less effective than, “Johnny, I would love to see you place your hands in your lap rather than pull Monica’s hair.”

Ask 3 before me
Many students develop a sense of “learned helplessness” and don’t attempt to solve problems on their own. Give them steps to look inward at their resources and build independence.
Encourage students to make three attempts to find a way to solve a problem before coming to you for help. For example, ask a classmate, use a classroom resource and see what her ideas are to solve the problem.

MIDDLE SCHOOL (Grades 6–8)

Try This
Talk the talk. Walk the walk
Middle school students are tough. If you expect them to be neat, you must be neat. Want them to respect you, show them respect in return. Middle-schoolers are at a wonderful age to learn moral and ethical behavior on many levels. However, the expectation of behavior must start with the teacher.
If you want students to take pride in how they present themselves, you must ditch the sweatshirts and sweatpants at school. Dress professionally to be treated professionally.

Ethical Internet use
The World Wide Web isn’t going away. Sticking your head in the sand or simply not allowing the use of technology will only leave you with a headache. Use this as an opportunity to teach ethical and moral behavior.
Say no to social media contact with students (e.g., Facebook) and refrain from texting or emailing students directly (without copying their parents or backing up what you’ve written).Become an Internet-savvy teacher, read Dr. Jason Ohler, Digital Community, Digital Citizen and Digital Storytelling in the Classroom.

Invite Melissa to speak at your next staff development workshop on topics such as:

  • Internet Use For 21st Century Learners
  • Building a Bridge Between Home & School
  • Professional Learning Communities
  • Fostering Communities of Caring

Email Melissa or call (713) 444-6471