Friday, 02 September 2011 17:45

4 Priorities to Emphasize at the Start of Your School Year (Teaching Tip #39)

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Welcome to a brand new year of Teaching Tips. Last year the first seven Teaching Tips I shared on this website comprised a series that focused on four important priorities that we need to emphasize in our classrooms at the start of every school year. I wanted to begin this new year of Teaching Tips by sharing these priorities with you again. Next week I will move on to a different topic. Should you wish to read the Teaching Tips from last year, you can find them on this site. Have a great year!

1. Establish procedures, routines, and expectations so students know how to function efficiently and effectively in our classrooms.  Keep this training period going until performing these routines and procedures becomes second nature for students.  Generally, 4-6 weeks will be sufficient.  

2. Begin to build a cooperative classroom culture through icebreaking and team-building activities so students feel safe and comfortable and start to see one another as friends and assets, not rivals.

3. Establish a sense of purpose in your class so students understand why it’s important to come to school each day and work hard.  Students who understand the many purposes of their learning will behave better, work with greater motivation and enthusiasm, and find greater meaning in their work.

4. Communicate with your students’ families about the new year.  Build a sense of excitement, optimism, and possibility as you share your plans for the coming months.  Be proactive.  Doing so gives you the opportunity to package your ideas and articulate them in the best possible light.  Proactivity increases your credibility, strengthens your voice, and reaffirms your position of leadership.

New Teaching Tips appear every Sunday of the school year.