Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Eleven Ideas To Make The School Year Great

Where oh where did the summer go? It was just as long as last summer but it sure seems like it went back faster. As I head back to my second grade classroom and your children head back to theirs, here are some tips to help make our year the best.

1. Bedtime
This goes for the teacher and the students. We all need to get enough sleep. Children especially need at least 10 hours of sleep. (I'd like that much too but it just doesn't happen.) I can always tell right away in the morning who hasn't had enough rest. Going to sleep with the tv on is a bad, bad habit. Going to sleep listening to mom or dad read a story is a very good habit.

2. Breakfast
This also goes for the teacher and the students. Most of my students eat breakfast at school. I can always tell later in the morning who hasn't had the fuel they need to be the best learner they can be. If your child doesn't eat breakfast at school they really need to eat at home before they come. Breakfast is not my favorite meal  but with a little creativity I can get the nutrients I need to start my day. Check out Cute Foods for Kids for some fun ideas.

3. Communication
I would love to be able to read minds but that just isn't my talent. I can't tell what students or parents are thinking/feeling if they don't tell me. In my classroom I send home a newsletter each week. One of my partners does hers online. It gets frustrating when my students tell me that their parents don't read the newsletter. I put some effort into getting it ready to be sent out on Fridays. Please read information that is sent home.
Communication is a two-way street. Please communicate with your child's teacher. I really appreciate feedback on homework assignments or a note if your child is going to be absent.  I would love to answer any questions you have about what is going on in our classroom. I have school email and phone. I'm guessing most teachers do. 

4.  Homework
This is a touchy subject for a lot of parents. As teachers, we assign homework to reinforce the teaching that we do. It is my personal opinion that at the very least children should be reading every night. Most kids also can use practice on math facts. I don't feel that  homework should take very long (especially for younger students) because your child needs down time after school just like I do. If you have questions or concerns about homework please share them with your child's teacher. And parents, it sure doesn't help your child if you do their homework or sign off that they did it when in fact they didn't. Really, what does that teach them?

5.  Hygiene
In my building we do not have air conditioning or showers and our playground is covered in pea gravel. On hot days, kids get sweaty and dirty. Even small children can be taught to wash up and put on clean undies. It doesn't help in making friends if your child smells. Help your child out by teaching them to use soap and water. Deodorant for older students makes a difference too. (Personal hygiene is a subject teachers don't enjoy having to discuss with students.)

6. Respect for Others
I have been teaching for many years and I have seen changes in how children respect their elders at school. We now have kindergarden students who sass back and absolutely do not follow directions. You don't have to like us teachers but I think we still deserve your respect. If your children see and hear you bad-mouthing teachers and school personnel they will carry on that attitude. It is very hard to do our job of teaching if we have to deal with a lack of respect.

7. Respect for Things
I've seen  a change in the regard for other's things and our own. Last year I was amazed at the number of children who would not stoop down to pick up a pencil. It didn't matter if it was theirs or someone else's. Our Lost and Found Box was overflowing and then some. Library books come back scribbled in or full of jelly fingerprints. Yes many things can be replaced but this is about teaching your children to be good stewards of all their treasures. (It will carry on in how they treat the earth.)

8. Be a Joiner
One of the saddest things about my school is that it has no parent support organization. There is a Booster Club at the High School that supports arts and athletics but nothing at our elementary. I think there are so many opportunities we are missing because of it. If your school has a PTA or parent group--join. Here you can have some influence and make a difference. (In my own children's school they have a very active parent group. So many good things have come out of it.)

9. Don't be a Stranger
One of the best things about my school is that we invite parents in all the time. Moms, Dads, Grandparents and special family members are invited in to watch plays, poetry readings, track and field events to name a few. It means so much to our students to have family share in their school experience. Even having lunch with your child is a special treat.
We also encourage parent volunteers. In our large classrooms it is so wonderful to have an extra set of hands. Having a parent or grandparent who can help with small groups or give some one on one time to a struggling student can be such a boost for  students.

10. Attendance
This may seem pretty common sense but the more days your child misses, the more learning he/she misses. While we really don't want your child in school when they are sick we don't think letting your child stay home when they are not sick is a good idea. You know what I mean.

11. Show Gratitude
Who doesn't like to be thanked for the job they do? It only takes a minute to jot a short note of thanks or leave a voicemail. You have the power to make someone's day. This could be a teacher, librarian, para, bus driver, lunch people, office staff, principal or even your child!

Wishing you and your family a wonderful fun-filled year of learning!  Now I'm going to go head for bed since tomorrow is our First Day.

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1 comment:

Rana said...

These are great! So true too. It doesn't matter where you go to school-they apply everywhere.


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