Teachers around Australia are already thinking about how they will organise their classrooms to maximise learning when the new school year begins at the end of January. They are as excited as the children with hopes and expectations of a successful and enjoyable school year.
To ensure a rewarding year, it is important to begin with a clear idea of what you want to achieve and the steps that will contribute to success. It is useful to keep in mind that one of the most significant contributors to children’s learning is the classroom environment, especially the relationship with the teacher. A supportive classroom environment that welcomes students and their families is essential so that children have a sense both of belonging and ownership.
Rita Pierson makes this quite clear in her TED Talk Every kid needs a champion.
Here at readilearn, our focus is on supporting teachers with lessons that are ready for them to teach rather than on worksheets for children to complete. We recognise the beneficial role of discussions that involve both teachers and students sharing ideas. We also assist teachers to establish a welcoming and supportive classroom environment.
Establish a welcoming environment
The free resource Getting ready for the first day with Busy Bee resources lists some of the available resources and suggestions for using them; including (note that not all of these resources are free unless you have a subscription):
- Busy Bee Welcome letter template which you can personalise to welcome each child to your class
- Busy Bee Welcome sign for the classroom door
- Busy Bee Desk name template for each child’s desk
- Busy Bee Name badge template which are perfect for identifying children in the playground as well as the classroom
- Busy Bee Who is here? – chart heading to encourage children to recognise their own and each other’s names
- Busy Bee Find your name – poster to go with the chart and activity
- Busy Bee Name card template for each child’s name
- Busy Bee I am . . . first day of school worksheet on which children draw a picture of themselves and write their names
- Busy Bee Birthday chart for recording the birthdates of everyone in the class.
These resources are available to download individually, or as a collection in the zip folder Busy Bee – Welcome resources for Day one.
Start counting the first 100 days of school
Many teachers of young children like to count the first 100 days of school. It’s an easy and fun way to incorporate meaningful number work into your daily program.
The interactive digital Busy Bees 100 chart provides an easy way to keep track of the days while you engage the children in other number work.
Other ideas for counting and celebrating are available in the printable resources Busy Bees celebrate 100 days of school.
Personalise the Who is here today? Interactive chart with the names of children in your class and use it on the interactive whiteboard as an unofficial record of attendance and to help children learn to recognise their own and others’ names.
It is always a good idea to organise a way of celebrating birthdays.
Use the Busy Bees Birthday chart to record children’s birthdays.
Prepare a personalised birthday card for them on their special day using Happy Birthday — an interactive resource to personalise
or give them a printable card for them to personalise.
Check out the other birthday-themed resources here.
Getting to know the children
Getting to know the children and encouraging them to get to know each other is an important part of establishing a supportive classroom and setting the children up for a successful year.
In Me and My friends children interview each other to find out ways in which they are similar to and different from each other.
Getting to know you surveys and Yes or No class surveys are also great ways for teachers and children to get to know each other. Suitable topics occur across the curriculum and are limited only by your imagination. With the incidental development of literacy and mathematical skills, they make an all-round great introduction to school.
Check out these blog posts that also suggest ideas for establishing a supportive classroom environment.
Offer for beginning teachers
If you are a pre-service or first-year teacher, I am happy to offer you a free subscription to support you as you embark on what is one of the most important and rewarding careers, after all, teaching is the profession that creates all other professions.
To receive your free subscription, simply email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know you’d like it.
While you’re here, remember to check out the complete readilearn collection of
over 450 teaching resources for the first three years of school
Resources beyond worksheets – lessons for teachers made by teachers.
Let readilearn lighten your workload.
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