Keeping Students Informed and Engaged

Six strategies for keeping your students informed and engaged in class. The last one is so simple, but works miracles!
The back to school season is a big change for all of us, students and teachers alike. Getting into the routine is hard, but necessary, and especially important for our students that need a bit more structure. You know the ones I am talking about. As a matter of fact, I am that kind of person. I thrive on routine, and I know that so many of my students do too.

While there are many things in the classroom that can change at a moment's notice, it is important for us to keep our students in mind the whole time through the changes. In this post, I wanted to share a few ideas for how to keep students informed and engaged while still keeping the classroom exciting.

Practice Procedures

Do it right, or do it all year. This is so true for all students, but especially important for students who need routine. It is vital that we practice procedures for everything that we do. 

I know as a fourth grade teacher when I first started I thought there were some things that students would already know how to do. I could not have been more wrong. Have a procedure for everything from asking to go to the restroom, to sharpening pencils, to how you expect students to push in their chairs. It may sound like it is a bit totalitarian, but I am a strong subscriber to the theory that it is a lot easier to let up a bit than it is to tighten up routines. 

While all students will benefit from this, our students who need more structure will thrive with specific routines and procedures. 

Peer Tutors or Buddies

When I see that students are still struggling with routine after we have gone over them many times I try to take a different approach with a peer buddy. My goal with this is to empower both students. The "coaching" student has to be chosen carefully. I try to find a student who could use a confidence boost, but knows what is going on. It is also important that this student not try to take over the situation. 

With a peer buddy or tutor a student has a go-to person to ask questions and get advice that isn't the teacher. Sometimes they just need to hear it another way, and a peer buddy is perfect for this. 

Follow Routine

We all have schedules for our day, and we should stick to them. I understand that things happen and routines or shedules change, but we should let students know about these changes as soon as we know. This gives students a chance to prepare themselves for change. 

One of the best things that can be done is to post a schedule, or calendar, with any breaks in routine labeled for the whole class to see. 

Also along these lines are sticking to the procedures that you established in the first weeks of school. I have seen many teachers work tirelessly to teach routines and then just drop them. This doesn't do anyone any good. Now, I totally understand that sometimes we figure out that a procedure is not working and change it. That's all good, but don't be too quick to dump a routine until you give it time to see how it works. 

Six strategies for keeping your students informed and engaged in class. The last one is so simple, but works miracles!Teach How to Ask for Help

Many students, and adults, don't know how to ask for help, and will instead just sit silently lost rather than ask someone for help. It sounds so simple, but to others it can be too intimidating to think about. 
As a solution to this, it is possible to create an environment where your students will feel more comfortable with asking for help. You can show them how to explicitly ask for help, but there are also alternatives that work wonders. 

Things I have tried include:
-Having a secret signal to show a student is confused.
-Having the "stoplight cups" on each student's desk where they keep the green cup if they are good, the yellow cup if they have a question, and the red cup if they need immediate help. 
-Having a "parking lot" with sticky notes for any questions.
-Have a journal where you can write back and forth to one another with questions or misunderstandings. 

Meet One on One

For one of my more difficult students I had a standing meeting every day. He happened to be in after school care at our school which worked out perfectly, because I was able to do bus duty and then drop by for a little chat each day. We would basically recap the day and talk about what we had done. This gave him the opportunity to ask any questions that he had with just me, and not be embarrassed in front of the class. 

    Hypothesizing the School year

    A great exercise for the beginning of the year to get students thinking and find out about any misconceptions ahead of time.
    The beginning of the year is a busy time, and it is easy to get caught up in all the hullabaloo, but it is important to remember what we are there for. We are there to build relationships with our students and foster a community of learning. So why not start the by encouraging students to share what they know about learning?

    This idea is really rather simple, and I have done it in one form or another several times. The best part is that what takes only about thirty minutes or so at the beginning of the year has a big payoff all year long!

    Now to get down to it:
    Look at your curriculum map, or plan, and make a list of the major topics that you will be covering throughout the year. You can choose to focus on one subject, a couple of subjects, or all of them. I generally chose to focus on math, science, and social studies, but that is just me.

    For each topic write the title, just a couple of words, on a piece of paper leaving plenty of room around it. Make sure that you have a paper for each topic you want to know about.

    Decide how you want your students to complete the activity. This will depend greatly on how many students and how many topics you have.
    A few options are:
    Hang the papers around the room and students circulate freely.
    Play a game of SCOOT with the papers on desks.
    Disperse papers to table groups to complete together.
    Set papers in a station for students to complete throughout the week.

    A great exercise for the beginning of the year to get students thinking and find out about any misconceptions ahead of time. Once you decide how you want your students to get to each paper the fun begins! Their job is to look at the title on each paper and write down something they know about the topic without reading what others have written.

    **An alternate way of doing this is to give each student a sticky note for each topic and collect them. This is a good idea if your students struggle with not reading what other's have written.**

    After students have completed the activity collect all the papers and file them with the information for the topics they go with. I personally chose tom take a picture of each of the papers and keep them digitally to project, rather than hold onto the papers.

    **For a completely digital form of this activity Google Forms would be a perfect solution!**

    When you get to each unit go ahead and pull out the paper for the topic and go over it as a class. You can also take the opportunity to check for any misconceptions that students may have listed and build in the corrections to your lesson plans. I like to leave it displayed in some way during the unit, and then we go over it again at the end of the unit.

    I made a real habit out of this, and my students really came to expect it with each unit!

    Helping Students Work Through Anxiety

    Ideas for helping students work through their jitters and develop coping mechanisms for dealing with anxiety.
    The beginning of the school year brings up lots of emotions. One of the overpowering emotions can be anxiety. Struggling with anxiety as an adult is tough every day, but struggling with anxiety as a child can be even tougher, especially when you don't know what it is.

    As teachers, or parents, it is important that we help our students to realize what anxiety is, and what we can do to help ease it. Sometimes it is not the grand gestures, but the little things we do throughout the day that make the larger impact. These suggestions are by no means a catch all, but they can begin the process of  alleviating nerves that can get in a student's way.

    Validate Their Feelings

    I cannot even begin to tell you how many times, even as an adult, I have been told to just stop worrying or being anxious because everything was fine. I know it's fine. I know nothing is catastrophically, life ending wrong, but my brain is playing tricks on me and telling me that it is. PLEASE do not tell students to just move on. 

    Instead, recognize what students are feeling and talk to them about it. While you are talking, listen, really listen to what their concerns are. Encourage them to really share with phrases such as, "Tell me more about that," or "Let's make a list of all the things you are worried about."

    By encouraging students to talk about their worries and validating how they are feeling about a situation it allows them to take ownership of the situation. Many times, just having someone who agrees with you is a lifesaver when you are worried, and talking about it will allow it to be worked out in your mind to a certain extent. 

    Reassure Them

    Many times students who are anxious or worried are looking to the adults around them for reassurance, and it is important that we offer it to them instead of brushing off their feelings. Reassurance goes right along with listening, but takes it a step further. Instead of just hearing them out, reassurance takes it a step further in letting the student know that their feeling will pass. 

    This is a tricky one, because all at the same time you want students to know that you hear them and understand that their worries are real, but also that it will be okay. The best way I have found to do this is to commiserate a bit and tell the student about a time you were feeling the same way, and how the situation worked out. You can also say something like, "This feeling will pass," but be careful when using it to not gloss over your student's feelings. 

    Role Play

    Don't roll your eyes just yet. I am not talking about a full on production or anything, but I am talking about a little use of imagination. Try taking a little time to use some imagination to talk through situation. You might ask a student, "What are all the ways this could end?" or "When is another time that you felt this way, and how did it turn out?"

    By asking questions like this you can lead students to think through the situation and arrive at their own conclusions. This can be a very telling exercise, because students will either talk themselves down, or reveal to you deeper concerns. 

    Share Your Feelings

    As someone who has struggled with anxiety for most of my life this is kind of my go to response when students are struggling as well. When I share my feelings and thoughts on anxiety with students it comes from a very real place, and I am very honest. I tell them about times when I thought the world was ending, truly, and then how it actually ended. 

    This strategy only works when you are honest. If you are someone who is really not a worrier or have never experienced anxiety this one is not for you. Please do not try to fake it, because it can make the situation worse instead of better. 

    Ideas for helping students work through their jitters and develop coping mechanisms for dealing with anxiety. Read About It

    There are some GREAT books out there about characters that are worried or working through anxiety. It can really help a student out to know that there are others that feel the same way, and how their situations turned out.
    Here are some of my favorites: (affiliate links)

    This is by no means an exhaustive list, but they will get you started! 

    Brainstorm Calming Strategies

    Different strategies work for different people. Some need to get up and move, while others are best served by a few deep breaths. 

    A few of my favorites include:
    5 cleansing deep breaths
    Jumping jacks
    Tearing paper
    Blowing on a feather
    Reading a book
    Making a list
    Drawing a picture
    Setting a time
    A glitter jar

    The most powerful part of this tool is the brainstorming process with the student themselves. They can come up with some pretty creative stuff! 

    What Now?

    The most important thing to remember is that worry or anxiety presents itself in different ways in each person. Some people may get quiet while others act out, and this is what makes anxiety tricky. Remember that anxiety and worry is often out of our students' control, and so are their emotions. 

    Ask questions, involve your counselor and the student's parents, and never give up! 

    Creating Problem Solvers

    As a teacher we are in the unique position to see students really start to become themselves. This can be both a blessing and a curse as it is fascinating to see them develop as individuals, but it can be very trying on your patience and nerves to see them struggle there way through awkward or difficult situations.
    Five ideas for helping your elementary students to become problem solvers. #3 is my favorite!
    Along the way most students hit a road block at some point that seems insurmountable, but with some problem solving skills they can work their way through any problem whether it be in the classroom or on the playground.

    The thing is, problem solving is problem solving. The same set of skills that will help a student solve a difficult, multi-step math problem will also help them to work their way through a hard situation with a peer or family member.

    Unfortunately, most students are not born problem solvers and need some help along the way, but with a few simple ideas practiced in a concrete and meaningful way, they will be set for life!

    Model Problem Solving

    In my opinion, modeling problem solving can be the single most important strategy. It is absolutely vital for students to see how adults work through problems in a healthy way. Don't be afraid to point out when you are having a tough time with something and how you are playing on helping to make it better. 
    When a student comes to you with a problem gather all of the students involved and lead them in working it out. So many times social situations arise from a misunderstanding, and by modeling how to talk it out with your students they will gain a valuable life skill.

    Break It Apart

    I don't know about you, but even as an adult sometimes I encounter a problem that just seems unsurmountable. I mean, I would rather hide under the covers and eat chocolate than have to deal with it kind of problem. Unfortunately this is life, and it is important for us to learn how to break a problem down into pieces that can be dealt with. 

    Showing a student how to think about a situation and break it down into easy to do parts can be a real game changer. Perseverance is a major key in problem solving, and it is a ton easier to stick with smaller parts of a problem, academic or otherwise, than it is with a huge problem. 

    Show Your Thinking

    We all make mistakes and face issues on a daily basis. Instead of trying to cover up your mistakes embrace them and treat them as a teachable moment. When you encounter a problem in the classroom talk about how it could be the end of the world. I like to really play this one up, I mean, we are kind of actors right? Then have a "light bulb moment" in which you realize that you can conquer this problem and talk out the steps you take to work your way through it. 

    It may seem silly, but it makes a big impact. 

    Five ideas for helping your elementary students to become problem solvers. #3 is my favorite! Identify Patterns

    This one is a little trickier to help students with, but it again, is an important life skill. (Is that a pattern?) Especially in social situations it is vital to recognize patterns that you see in others or yourself for that matter. 

    When you are able to recognize these patterns you can adjust your own behavior to cope with or overcome the patterns. For example, if every day your students play tag at recess, but every day someone gets hurt because of tagging too hard you can help students identify the situation in which the problem is happening and brainstorm solutions for the problem.

    Write It Out

    I am a HUGE fan of lists. I use lists in every single area of my life. Basically I don't know what to do without a list, and I have always shared this strategy with students. By listing the steps you need to solve a problem you demystify the process and put it into such a concrete form that it almost always makes it instantly more manageable. 
    What strategies do you use to help students problem solve? Let me know in the comments below!

    Want to Know More?

    These books (affiliate links) have really helped me to think about problem solving in a different way. 

    Creating a Giving Tree for Classroom Donations

    An easy and fun way to ask for classroom donations!
    Back to School time is here, and if you are anything like me this time of year you are a little stressed about all the items that your classroom needs. As teachers we do everything we can to make sure that ALL of our students have everything they need to be successful all year long.

    Supplies can be expensive, and school budgets are lacking, so it is great when a parent asks if we need anything else. In order to capitalize on this at the beginning of the year, and throughout the year, I used this Giving Tree. It is a great little display for Back to School Night, Meet the Teacher, and Parent Conferences.

    I have done this Giving Tree in a couple of different ways. You can download this FREE template here if it works for you, and I have to admit it is way cuter. BUT sometimes I ran out of time setting up my room and getting ready to meet students, and this cute version just didn't happen.

    These, slightly more manic, years I would sketch a little tree on our whiteboard and then use these leaf sticky notes (affiliate link) to write the wish items on.

    Either way you choose to do it, families can choose a leaf to take home with them for an item they wish to donate. Families love to help, and this is an easy way of reminding them that their student's classroom is in need.

    An easy and fun way to ask for classroom donations!
    Tips for a Giving Tree that Rocks:

    Have it ready for any event where families will be in the classroom.
    Make it easy for families to take a leaf.
    Include a variety of items with different price points.
    Include none physical items such as volunteers to read with students, make copies, or cut laminate.
    Include a section in your newsletter that has items from the Giving Tree.
    Write simple thank you notes when a family donates an item or time.

    Get your FREE GIVING TREE set up here!

    Using Google Forms with Task Cards

    Have you ever tried using Google forms in your classroom? This step by step guide to creating a form to go with task card sets will change your life!
    In the education world, as a whole, we are working on making the move to be more digital. This means going paperless. As a teacher, I love the concept of being paperless, but the actuality of it didn't always work for me. BUT I do have one strategy that I used with task cards over and over again that rocked!

    In order to minimize, while still not completely eliminating, paper in the classroom we used Google forms as answer documents instead of paper recording sheets. This meant that while I was still printing and laminating the task cards, which is a task I only do once, I could use them over and over again, year after year all with the same Google form which greatly minimized the copying I had to do. Sounds a little bit like a dream doesn't it? AND it is SO EASY!
    Have you ever tried using Google forms in your classroom? This step by step guide to creating a form to go with task card sets will change your life!

    To create a Google Form:
    1. Go to
    2. Click the big purple +

    Have you ever tried using Google forms in your classroom? This step by step guide to creating a form to go with task card sets will change your life!
    It will bring you to a page that looks like this. From here, you can make your form be exactly what you want, which is pretty amazing.

    Have you ever tried using Google forms in your classroom? This step by step guide to creating a form to go with task card sets will change your life!
    I title the form with the name of the set of task cards that we are using, it only makes sense. In the description I write the student directions for that set. While I am here I also take the opportunity to make the first question ask for the student's name. For this questions I change the type of question to short answer, but the form's default is multiple choice. 

    Have you ever tried using Google forms in your classroom? This step by step guide to creating a form to go with task card sets will change your life!
    Next, add you question. If you really wanted to you could retype each task card, but who really has time for that? Plus, I will show you a trick that makes this system unbelievably easy to use over and over again. So instead I just put "Card 1" as the question. If I am using multiple choice task cards I use the multiple choice default and put the options for ABCD. As you type each one another will option will appear below, and you can have as many answer choices as you would like. 

    I have also used this strategy with open ended task cards, particularly math word problems, and just use the short answer option for all of the questions instead of multiple choice. 

    A tip for this step is to turn on the "Required" option with the purple toggle in the bottom right corner of the form. This makes sure that students answer all the questions before submitting their responses. 
    **Make sure that you also do this for the "Name" questions with the short answer response, if you think you have a hard time with no name papers, just try to figure out a no name form. 

    When you get the question looking how you want just click the icon that looks like two pieces of stacked paper next to the trash can. This will make a copy of your question. If you are using multiple choice task cards all you have to do is change the number of the card as the question and keep on copying until you have the set number of questions. Talk about easy peasy. 

    Have you ever tried using Google forms in your classroom? This step by step guide to creating a form to go with task card sets will change your life!
    Next you are ready to to share the form with your students, and there is a variety of options for doing this as well. To share the form click on "Send Form" at the top of the page. The first option is gives you is to email the form. If you are in a Google classroom where students have their own email addresses this is a great way to get them the form. 

    I did not have this option, so I would click on the link icon next to the email icon (looks like two chain links.) This gives you a link, that I would then either create a link or QR code that students could scan in order to get to the form.  

    Have you ever tried using Google forms in your classroom? This step by step guide to creating a form to go with task card sets will change your life!
    Then students used their device to complete the task cards ad the form. Students can use just about any device to complete a Google form as long as it connects to the internet. 

    One of the reasons that I LOVE using Google forms is that students can complete the assignment over a period of time whether it be in stations, in small groups, independently, or just about any other way you can think of. Instead of trying to keep track of recording sheets over a week or longer, Google forms keeps the information nice and tidy in one location waiting for me. 
    Have you ever tried using Google forms in your classroom? This step by step guide to creating a form to go with task card sets will change your life!
    Once you are ready to look at responses there are a few options for that too! From the top of your form (if you don't remember, you can find it by going to you just click on that form instead of the + to add a new form) click on the tab for responses instead of questions. The default is to show you the summary of responses. This will list the student names that have completed the form since it was your first question, and then give you a pie graph (for multiple choice questions) of how student responses were chosen. I absolutely love this view, because it is so obvious what the whole class needs a reteach on, and what items need a more specific reteach with just a few students. 

    The next option is to view individual responses. This view basically shows you the form again, but with the student responses completed. 

    Now to my favorite! If you click on the option to create a spreadsheet it does just that. I love spreadsheets, and I am fairly certain you will like this one too! 

    Have you ever tried using Google forms in your classroom? This step by step guide to creating a form to go with task card sets will change your life!
    Go ahead and click new spreadsheet, and voila! You get a spreadsheet like the one below. 
    Have you ever tried using Google forms in your classroom? This step by step guide to creating a form to go with task card sets will change your life!
    Are you seeing this amazingness? The spreadsheet gives you the date and time completed, the student name, and their response to each question. This is my above and beyond favorite, because it is soooooo easy to read and grade for individual students.
    Have you ever tried using Google forms in your classroom? This step by step guide to creating a form to go with task card sets will change your life!
    All of this seems pretty great right? Well, I have to say, it gets even better because once you have created your first form all you have to do is copy it by clicking on the three dots in the upper right hand corner and selecting the first option which is, "Make a Copy." This will copy your form so that all you have to do is change the title, the description/student directions, and possibly the number of questions you have for that set of task cards. AAANNNNDDDD, say you created a form for each set of task cards this year, next year you can just make a copy, change nothing, and you are ready to go! 

    Have you ever tried using Google forms in your classroom? This step by step guide to creating a form to go with task card sets will change your life!

    Are you ready to try it out?

    Here are some great sets of task cards to get you going:

    Multiple Choice:

    Open Ended:

    Setting Up Your Classroom

    Time to think about what you want your classroom to look like this year. Every year setting up my classroom was one of my favorite times, and I had it down to quite the science too. Setting up your classroom can be fun and exciting if you plan a bit before you start, otherwise it can turn into a stressful mess. Here is my general plan for a smooth classroom setup that will make a difference all year long. 

    On that note... it is never too late to reorganize your classroom. If you are mid-year, two weeks in, or a month form the end of school and something isn't working, change it! 
    Things to keep in mind while setting up your classroom at the beginning of the year. Great ideas!


    After your classroom has sat empty for the summer, or there were people using your classroom, it is going to need a good scrub down. I usually spent the first morning in my classroom just cleaning. Clorox wipes were by best friend on this day. I would sometimes don a mask, because the dust can get a little out of hand and the cleaning process was really slowed down by all the sneezing. I always started at the top of the cabinets and worked my way down pushing all the dust and grime onto the floor and sanitizing all the things. When I finish wiping down every last surface I give the floor a good sweeping. For this, I usually try to find one of the janitorial dust mops, because those things rock, and can cover the classroom quite quickly. After this, I sit and marvel at my clean and sanitized classroom for a moment, knowing that it won't ever be this clean or germ free again for the school year. 
    **A note on dusting mops. Seriously, they rock. I have one at home, and even gave one to my friend as a wedding gift. If you have pretty much anything other than carpet for flooring at home or school they can be your best friend. I have a long haired dog, and it works miracles my friend, miracles I tell you. This is the one I have and have given as a gift but I have never met one I didn't like.  

    Student Seating

    This is the task that always takes me the longest, because I truly believe it is the most important. I want my students to feel at home in the classroom and know that it is their space, not just mine. After moving things around a million times, of course lifting them as to not scratch the new floor wax, I usually settled with table groups and a few alternative seating options scattered around the room. If you would like to read more about how what your student seating arrangement is telling your students check out this post

    It is during this time that I also set up "special areas" around the classroom. These areas include our classroom library, carpet for whole group learning, a reading nook, a writing table, and countless other little areas for working. This is where my alternative seating options come into play. 

    I choose to use many, many rugs to differentiate these areas around the classroom. I have found that the best rugs come from IKEA. They are inexpensive and hold up to the test of time. I have also purchased a few rugs from Target when they are on clearance with all the dorm items after the school year starts. Either way I do two thing to help the longevity of the carpet. 
    1. I buy a can of ScotchGard and go to town. This stuff is easy to apply and makes it so much easier to clean up those little oopses that are bound to happen. 
    2. I duct tape the edges of the carpet to the tile floor. This serves two purposes. The first is to keep anyone from tripping. The second is to keep the rug from curling up or moving. I match the color of the duct tape to the carpet and call it a day. 

    For alternative seating I use basically anything I can find. I have a collection of about fifteen pillows that I bought at Goodwill and made new covers for that matched our decor. I also have some outdoor furniture cushions to sit on along with a couple of different chairs and a bean bag. I purchased some stools from IKEA at the same time as the rugs that are great for tucking under tables. I also lowered a few tables so that it is easier to sit on the floor or a cushion and reach. 

    In my dream world I would have these Hokki Stools available, but they are a bit pricey. Instead I opt for balance balls. I kept about five of them in the classroom and they would rotate through the students. To keep them from rolling around I used dollar store frisbees turned upside down. They were truly lifesavers, otherwise I may have gone nuts watching them roll off every time a student got up. 

    Your Desk

    The first question I wan to ask is, "Do you need a desk?" For many years I did not use a traditional teacher desk, but instead used our large blue kidney table instead. For storage I used a bookcase and a couple of these storage containers. The reason for this was that teacher desks are big, and they take away valuable space that could be used for students IMHO. 
    Things to keep in mind while setting up your classroom at the beginning of the year. Great ideas!
    The last couple of years our school was crowded and we had no where to put the teacher desks, so we had to have one. I chose to take advantage of the space actually on and below the desk to make the most of it. In addition to the computer, I placed a small bookcase on top of it and rolling storage below it. I shoved it in a corner basically. My students used the desk as much as I did and it came to be used as just another workspace for all of us. 

    All the Stuff

    After you have set up spaces for your students and your space, this is when it comes time for all the stuff. I never opened a single box until all the spaces were identified. This was my least favorite part of setting up my room. I don't know how in the world I acquired so much stuff, but I did. Fortunately everything had a place, it was just a matter of getting it there. 
    Things to keep in mind while setting up your classroom at the beginning of the year. Great ideas!
    On this note, don't be afraid to purge. I never was. Honestly I get rid of things with reckless abandon, because I have this fear of becoming a hoarder. It is deep seeded and dark. 


    All the stuff has to go somewhere doesn't it? I have a small obsession with containers of all sorts, as many teachers do. Most of my containers come from the Target Dollar Spot, IKEA, and Dollar Tree. Occasionally, if I find something just right, I will splurge elsewhere. I have found that Hobby Lobby has amazing storage containers for scrapbooking that fit many classroom needs. I bought these containers one at a time using my trusty smart phone 40% off coupon. It was a little painful, but I made it through. 

    I am a hug fan of my "teacher toolbox" that I created a few years ago. I used Avery labels and this set of drawers to create it. There are lots of super cute tutorials out there for the inserts, but the labels and washi tape was much for my style. 
    Things to keep in mind while setting up your classroom at the beginning of the year. Great ideas!


    I have the firm belief that when it comes to decor in the classroom less is more. I always had a racing theme, but that basically meant that I had black and white checkered fabric with splashes of red, yellow, and green. I never took it further than just the color scheme. 

    To me, the classroom is a place to show off student work, not a designer's dream palette. With that being said, I have seen impeccably decorated classrooms that are completely functional, and maybe I am just jealous of those teachers' design asthetic. 

    Things to keep in mind while setting up your classroom at the beginning of the year. Great ideas!Basically, form should follow function when it comes to a classroom. Your decor should not take away from learning or take the spotlight off of your students. I will get off my soap box now...

    Planning Ahead

    The absolute most important part of setting up your classroom is to not get stuck in how it looks, and remember that the vital part is how it performs. How will your setup help students to achieve their goals this year. What systems have you set in place to make them all successful? 

    Plan time to really dive into your standards and curriculum. Push yourself to find something that will hook your students and drive engagement from the very beginning! You are a teacher, a magician, and a performer. You are awesome! 

    Want to Know More?

    These are some of my favorite books for classroom inspiration. These links, as well as others in this post, are Amazon affiliate links which means that if you click and buy something Amazon pays me a little bit for the referral, however your cost does not change. 

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