Teachers are some of the most creative people out there. If you disagree, just visit Teachers Pay Teachers or Pinterest. Both community sites are overflowing with classroom, lesson, hand-out, activity and organization ideas from teachers themselves. Here are some of the best ideas that we’ve collected from across the Interwebs from teachers to engage their students and instill a lifelong love of learning …
This video is from Singapore but shares the universal message that teachers inspire and impact the lives of their students. Kids never forget their favorite teachers and the memorable moments from their school career.
The Wise Guys from Creativity in the Common Core Classroom get their students out of their seats and talking with their classmates. “When students get to know each other, they realize they have much more in common that what they thought,” adds the Wise Guys. Students have to talk to their classmates to learn more about them to get a Bingo. The Wise Guys also offer a print out of their Bingo card on their TpT site.
Guess Who Board for First Day of School or Back to School Night
We found this idea on Pinterest without any attribution but we liked it so much, we have to share. If this is your original idea, please let us know so we can give credit where it is due. Have students write down fun facts about themselves on cards but don’t put their names. Have the class guess who each card belongs to for a “get to know your new classmates” exercise or have parents guess at Back to School night.
Giving Tree for Parents
Scholastic has a lot of great tips and ideas for teachers. One teacher submitted this idea to it and we love it - In my classroom, I have a “Giving Tree.” I put up a big tree and cover it with paper apples. On each of the apples, I write a supply item that parents can donate to our room. Supplies range from Lysol wipes and Post-its to dry erase markers. The parents take an apple and return it with the supply. I put the apple back on the tree with the parent’s name on it. At the end of each month I have a raffle for the parents who have helped to make our classroom a success. Last year was amazing! I had an overwhelming response. Needless to say, I am ready to put it up again this year. –Submitted by Heather Milani (Grade 4 teacher, Illinois)
Send Text Messages and Reminders
Sign up for an app like Remind101. Instantly send messages to your students or their parents with homework or field trip permission slip reminders. Keep everyone in the loop by sending one text. The teacher never sees the students and their parents’ phone numbers and they never see the teachers.
Recipe for Success
Kendel from Eating Abroad – Adventures of the Traveling Teacher has several activities for her students to work on in the first days of school. Our favorite was her Recipe for Success. She created a recipe that combines personality traits and behaviors with trail mix ingredients. She makes the recipe while explaining each trait and why their classroom needs them to be successful. When the recipe is complete, Kendel then tells her students that success is always better when shared and gives each child a small portion of success.
“Now that they had a taste of success, they needed to share it with someone else!” adds Kendel.
Mia from Ethical Island – How to Teach Without a Lecture, offers 27 different ways to greet your students in the morning. Get them moving, thinking and collaborating right after the first bell rings.
Einstein of the Week
Sue Blevins is a second grade teacher at Rockford Christian Elementary School. She has taught for 26 years and is also an adjunct college professor. Her class has an “Einstein of the Week.” Each week, one student becomes the class scientist. They choose an experiment and bring all of the directions and materials to class. The students start by asking questions, gathering predictions, doing the experiment and discussing the results with the class. If you think this will overwhelm your parents, you can also choose the experiments and materials and have a student be the lab assistant and help perform it.
Team Building Activities for the First Days of School
We also have shared a lot of our favorite activities to welcome them back to the classroom in the First Days of School. Make bracelets that change color in the sun, build structures from long balloons, and help encourage your students to trust you right from the start with these class team building exercises.
We know we have barely scratched the surface with these amazing ideas. What are your go-to activities to welcome them back to learning?