1. All things WHOLE BRAIN TEACHING! I have my treasured You Tube videos on an earlier post (click HERE) and I still watch them frequently to refresh my approach and add a little extra Classity Class to my day! WBT has really made a difference in my students behavior and expectations and I am so grateful for that this year! There is still so much I want to spread throughout my day, but just the Class Rules and 10-finger WOOHOO gestures really motivate my kiddos! I am inspired by the teaching resources available at Third Grade Thoughts and she had a great post recently about connecting WBT to CAFE strategies! I completely agree with that and since starting our First Grade Critter CAFE this year, students are making actions & gestures with their hands to connect each beanie critter with strategy learning. We love it and it really does help build stamina with new concepts! (I want to post more on this very soon!) In the meantime, follow this link to join the Whole Brain Teaching website stocked full of freebies to all its members!
2. Meaningful Morning Meetings are so important and can make or break your day in first grade. Currently, I start morning meeting very quietly, with CHIMES to signal the gathering. (I might also add that CHIMES are the favorite transitional signal in my classroom! My kiddos can't move without them!) Our Celebrity of the Week then leads the teaching of Class Rules, then we have our morning announcements (message). I have incorporated our Essential Questions for the day into our message. We gather whole group on the carpet for our meeting. With 26 students, we are packed on the floor so change is in the air! I am re-structuring my meeting time beginning mid-December to include a CIRCLE of FRIENDS and more involvement with a quick character-building exercise each day! I'll be sure to share that with you when it's ready!
3. PARENT Helpers for EVERYTHING! Feel less like a secretary and more like a teacher again! On open house night, I have those parents interested in volunteering stay after a bit and introduce them to their new roles as my Parent Helper. I walk them through the job and they stick with that one job for the entire year. Some jobs are weekly, monthly, and as needed.
Currently, I have weekly helpers for copying, checking sight word lists, and one-minute fluency checks.
I have one helper that comes in every-other week to make books, staple, laminate, and cut the lamination!
I have another helper that visits to dust and sanitize EVERYTHING once a month! Let me just say that I ADORE my parent volunteers!
These are practical suggestions but extremely important to running a successful and sane classroom!