Primary Chalkboard: #backtoschool
Showing posts with label #backtoschool. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #backtoschool. Show all posts

Social Skills and Classroom Expectations

Hi all!  It's Emma from Clever Classroom

Are you looking for quality books and resources to help model desired behaviors as you start a new school year? 

Social Skills book list and Classroom Expectations resources

I have previewed and selected 30 books to help your students learn a range of social skills. 

Each book contains a message that you can turn into explicit instruction within your classroom on a daily basis. 

To help you teach explicit social skills and expectations, I move on to using our posters.  I laminate and display one copy and bind another. 

Social Skills book list and Classroom Expectations resources

Social Skills book list and Classroom Expectations resources

Social Skills book list and Classroom Expectations resources

I use these posters to focus on what I expect of students. We break each skill down using our social skills flippy books.  Students notice when others are doing the right thing and congratulate each other. The posters are ideal for introducing and revisiting expected behaviours. 

Having the books organized in one area, will make it easier for you to grab for them, when needed. 

Click through to see each book listed in this collection. 

Social Skills book list and Classroom Expectations resources

Tell'em What's Up Night! [A.K.A. Back to School Night/Open House]

If you are a teacher, you have been there.

You madly prepare, you sweat, you stress, you make your classroom orderly- perfect even. You
might have projects carefully and lovingly set up on display, and you wait at the front of the room OR at the door with a nervous smile on your face, ready to share those items you feel will most benefit the parents of the students in your classroom. You are confident that this presentation will help ensure the success of all your students. 
Then the reality- if you are like my school- you get 4 parents that show up. Disheartened at the small number, you paste the smile on your face, give your presentation, and then take home a large amount of cookies to your significant other or pet. Cookies that were meant to be refreshments and an enticement to mingle with you and other parents for a few minutes.

OR, in a different scenario, you have your open house stations all ready, papers to fill out, treats to share, excitement to spread. And, during the 2 hours you are there to greet your new students and parents, you get 4-5 that wander through, most with little enthusiasm. They fill out your paper work, take a treat, and shuffle out the door.

We have all been there. As a teacher it STINKS! It frustrating, and hard. After all, you were there- prepared and ready to go. A big smile and lots of hard work. And it seems ALL FOR WHAT?

But, let's rewind these situations for a minute and look at this in a new light! Going from Teacher to Administrator has given me a new perspective on this whole tradition of Back to School/Open House  nights.

First, I tried to find in the history of school where this tradition of back-to-school nights/open house came from. Sadly, Google hath failed me in my quest. HOWEVER, I want to remind you that it is just that- a tradition that was most likely started by a teacher, administrator, and/or school somewhere that wanted parents and students to feel ready to start the year. And, I have also noticed that this seems to be a trend mainly in elementary schools.

Second, I  think that part of the push for a back-to-school event was that it helped teachers think big picture for the year in academics, to review discipline procedures, and prepare mentally. That alone, makes back-to-school/open house worth it from an administrator's point of view.

Third, we, as educators do what we do because we love serving our students and parents. And, if that means that only 4 could make it to your event, that is four kids that you got to meet and help feel special. Those four kids will come to school knowing that they are going to be loved and safe!

So, what does all this mean?
I think it means that when we have those parents and students in our classrooms, we DO need to "Tell'em what's up". AND, we need to embrace that we will rarely get every parent, or even a majority, to attend. Parents are busy, and, when faced with a choice between something they feel they have attended a bazillion times, or getting a chore done, a few extra hours of work, or something else that to them is more pressing, they will choose what will reduce the most stress- and sadly teachers, it won't be back-to-school night. It's okay- we've got this!

This leads me back to the line of thought I have had as principal, and this new perspective where I am coordinating the entire event. I love my teachers dearly, and do my best to ensure they have everything they need to be successful! I kept thinking of all the stress it was to be ready for back-to-school night AND prepare for the first day AND prepare for this...and that...

I truly wanted to simplify teachers lives and reduce stress. But how?

 This, I have decided, means that teachers, administrators, and schools need to start looking for non-traditional ways to share this same information with these busy parents, who, do want to know and be involved, but truly can't attend.

How about trying something like this:

=A prerecorded video that can be emailed or put on a school server/wiki/blog/youtube? This can include the teachers, administrator, librarian, computer lab managers, paraprofessionals, and anyone else that the school deems needful to be included.

=A short written handbook that is mailed out to the parents with the registration papers, or handed out at school registration.  (Could also include links to the videos talked about above)

=A motivation to come. If the school provides a simple dinner (hot dogs, spaghetti, etc.), served at the end of the event, parents will be given one less task at home to deal with, and hopefully feel more enticed to come. The secret is to give each family a ticket to eat for free. These are only given to parents who attend a full session in one or more classrooms.

=An Open House and Back-to-School Night all in one, where parents can come during a set period of time and meet the teacher, but then also schedule 1-2 set presentations during the last hour of the event. (NOTE: This is the option we are piloting this year- and my teachers are excited for it! We are also having a hot dog BBQ at the end to encourage parents, students, and teachers to mingle. IT IS GOING TO BE AWESOME!)

=Others that your amazing school dream up!

 Back-to-School Events aren't going away anytime soon. But, the stress associated with them doesn't need to hang around. Talk with your administrators, your peers, your parents/students. Ask them what needs to take place to make it most useful for them and YOU!

Make it your mission to change it up next year- to cause a little disruption- for good- in your school! I think you will be amazed at the results.

-John Hughes
Elementary Principal
Owner, Created by MrHughes\
Proud Member of The Primary Chalkboard

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Intermediate Back to School Tips and eBook FREEBIE

Summer is coming to an end and it's time to start setting those alarm clocks again!  Whether you've already headed back to school or are getting ready to in the next few weeks, the members of The Primary Chalkboard have been hard at work compiling helpful Back to School tips and a FREE eBook!  Below is our Intermediate eBook and our K-2 friends have also created a Primary eBook.  Now you have several resources ready to print and use from day one.  Check them out and have a WONDERFUL school year!

Here are some tips!!

I hope you liked our tips and eBook!

- The Intermediate Chalkies