Back to School Resources for the Minimalist Teacher
Hey, y'all! The longer I teach, the more of a minimalist I seem to become. I love all the first week of school crafts, but I'm feeling the need to get more to the point and keep things more student-centered. Don't you think?
We start off the school year creating our classroom vision statement. As a class we ask "why do we come to school?" and we articulate our purpose through a series of questions. It helps us focus on our "why" throughout the year and keeps us centered and grounded in our learning.
This year, my students are also going to create their own personal vision statement. The sequence guides them to create their own "why" in addition to our whole class vision.
As I'm getting to know my students, I want to know what their ideal classroom looks like, sounds like, and feels like. Most students say things like they want a calm and relaxing environment. This gives us an opportunity to talk about how each of us can help create that common goal. This helps us hone in on the fact that since most of say we need a calm classroom in order to focus, it shouldn't ever feel like a three ring circus in here.
We also take the time to write out our hopes and dreams for the school year and to develop our learner profiles. This is kind of like an "all about me" but more specific to students learning styles, strengths, areas of growth, and how students think and feel.
No first week of school would be complete without some getting to know you activities or discussions of expected behaviors. The page above is an open-ended mix and mingle activity. Students talk to five classmates with the goal of finding at least one similarity and one difference with each person.
We also illustrate what it means to be safe, respectful, responsible, and kind in our classroom. A lot of times, students can say that they're supposed to be those things but don't really understand what each of those words means or looks like. We spend an extensive amount of time the first few weeks of school making sure students know how to "do" each of those things. After all, if they don't understand what it means, it's hard to get them to do it or discuss the behavior with them if they need some reminders.
You can explore these resources a little more by heading over to my Teachers Pay Teachers store here. I'm always adding new resources so be sure to follow me for the latest updates.
I hope you found some ideas you can use in your classroom this year. Have a wonderful week and I'll talk to you soon.