Back to School Goals

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I’m woefully behind on sharing some more of my small goals for the beginning of the 2014 year here in Australia, but I’ve got a neat little tip that I honestly can’t believe took me 4 years to think of.

Here in Australia, we have 2 break times for students – a morning recess and a lunch time. At my school, morning recess is from 10:40am – 11:10am (30 mins) and the students spend the whole time outside, eating a light snack and running and playing. Our lunch time starts at 12:50pm – for 10 mins (until 1pm) students each their lunch inside the classroom, before they head outside for another 50 mins (until 1:50pm). During these times, staff get their break, while sharing the load of yard supervision. (If people are curious as to how much that is, I’m happy to go into it another post later on!)

HOWEVER. During the Winter months, invariable we have quite a few wet day timetables  – wherein it is too wet (we don’t get snow here in Melbourne, so it’s only wet weather!) for the kiddos to be outside and they spend the equivalent time inside the classroom.

And yes, the classroom ends up in quite a state, if you can imagine!

Last year I found an awesome way to combat some of that – I used a whole stack of Just Dance video clips found on YouTube and put them on the IWB for the kiddos to dance around to if it was a morning recess time. That occupied a group of the kiddos (plus our neighbours in the Grade 3/4 classes who’d come to visit and dance!). On a wet day lunch, I’d normally put on a movie, because it’s a slightly longer time to be stuck inside.

All that said, there are ALWAYS kids who don’t want to dance and don’t want to watch a movie and spend the entire time trying to find things to do in the classroom, all the while trying to remember which resources they’re allowed to use.

Here’s my new tip that I seriously wish I’d thought of in my first year when the kids emptied containers of glitter ALL OVER THE CLASSROOM during a wet day timetable.

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This little picture is going to be my saving grace during wet day timetables this year. See that cute little raincloud (drawn by the amazing Mel – From the Pond)? I’m going to laminate a whole bunch of these little cuties and attack them to the containers/tubs that students are allowed to access without asking during wet day timetables.

Obviously, it will take some practise, but I think such a simple visual will help my Preps/Grade 1s to know what is okay for them to take out on their own.

Do you have a new tip or goal that you’re trying out? Feel free to share in the comments!

Sig-StefanieSun

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Back to School Goals 2014

Here in Australia we’re currently on our Summer break.

Now, I know many of my Northern hemisphere friends are currently experiencing some quite cool temperatures, and I feel for you. I am, however, currently melting at the moment (thank you to insufficient air-conditioning in my house) because our weather’s finally warming up.

Today I made my first trip into the classroom since December 20th and I spent all day in there rearranging and trying to tidy and pack away Christmas decorations. Now, it wasn’t completely on part of being organised – we have people coming in to clean our carpets soon and I have NO STORAGE space but I needed to move my boxes and stuff off the floor. So… I had to figure out a way to do that!

Anyway, no pictures of that today, because it’s not done and I’ll be headed back in next week to do a bit of work so I’ll come back with photos of the slightly different set-up for my 2014 classroom.

Instead, I’m going to share some of my goals and ideas for the new year. Hopefully I’ll do these over a few posts to spread them out, but today I’m going to start with one simple goal I have for this year:

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I’m ALWAYS behind on correcting work. It’s not something I’m proud of, and definitely something I’m striving to work towards improving. I always give immediate verbal feedback, but getting that mark on the page proves a bit trickier when dealing with the hundred and one different things the kiddos (and school!) would like me to attend to.

What’s even worse is the pile of corrected work that I accumulate and must find time to hand back to the kids for filing in folders or books without compromising valuable learning time. (Am I right, fellow teachers? This is a time-consuming task.)

Then comes the inevitable:

Student: “Miss Galvin, which folder/book does this go in?”

Me: “Your Maths folder.”

Student: “Which folder is my maths folder. The yellow/green/blue/purple one?”

Me: *head meet desk*

And it goes on, no matter how often I explain which book or folder work belongs in.

So – here is my solution, a goal for the new year:

I correct all my work in coloured pens. I very rarely use a red pen (not if I can use pink or green or orange or purple, etc). SO. When I print off book covers for the kiddos this year, each subject will be colour-coded (as per usual), but will correct all work in the colour of the subject.

Then, when handing out work, my little ones will have a visual reference.

My simple solution.

I will also dedicate one lunch eating time (we eat for 10 mins inside before the kiddos head out to play) to handing out corrected work that the kiddos MUST file away before going outside.

People, ROUTINE is going to be my catch-phrase for the year! ❤

What little tip do you have for making YOUR life easier in the classroom?

Sig-StefanieSun