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School days, school days, dear old golden rule days! Class will soon be back in session and getting back into the swing of things can pose a challenge for students and teachers. Adjusting to change, getting motivated and easing back-to-school jitters can cause some to feel frazzled and weary before the first day even begins.

This e-newsletter will offer tips for educators to establish clear expectations, set the tone for learning and fun, and encourage positive behavior and attitudes for the year ahead.

Back-to-school tips to start the year off right

Great first days can be in your future with these back-to-school tips:

  • Get a head start: Consider sending a back-to-school postcard or letter to kick the year off. Introduce yourself, welcome students and outline some first-day expectations. Tell your students about yourself, what you like best about teaching and what you hope the class will achieve in the year ahead. Include contact information about how you can be reached. Imprint this information on a Magnetic Ruler or clip for easy access.Or, invite students and parents to a meet-and-greet and classroom visit before school starts to help alleviate those first-day jitters. Assignment notebooks or school supply kits make nice welcome gifts.
  • Day one—make it fun: You know what they say about first impressions—they’re everything! Make a positive, lasting first impression by setting the tone with fun first-day activities to break the ice and set the stage for learning. Consider this icebreaker with a twist: have students interview each other without talking. Students can mime, draw or find other ways to communicate, as long as no words are exchanged.

Icebreakers are always more fun with props. Consider providing items, such as scented pens, Magic Answer Balls or eye poppers, to keep students engaged and entertained.

  • Slow and steady wins the race: While most of you have a curriculum to follow and goals to meet, teaching at your students’ pace, especially in the first few weeks, keeps everyone moving in the right direction. In other words, set the foundation, no matter how long it takes, and the rest will follow.

Smart Classroom Management’s Michael Linsin states it well: “Avoid rushing to catch up. Avoid pushing your students along too fast. Avoid comparing yourself or judging yourself or stressing out over what anyone else is doing. Because in just a few short weeks, when your fellow teachers are complaining about the pressure and the stress … and how far they’ve fallen behind, you’ll be singing a different tune.”

A good start is a successful one. Try one or all of these back-to-school tips to have a successful school year.

“Great Starts: Veteran Principals Offer Opening-Day Tips.” Education World. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 06 May 2015.

Linsin, Michael. “Why You Should Take Your Time The First Few Weeks Of School.” Smart Classroom Management. N.p., 24 Aug. 2013. Web. Retrieved 06 May 2015.

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