First Day of School Goal: A Valuable, Memorable, & Fun Day

First Day of School Goal: A Valuable, Memorable, & Fun Day | Remedia Publications
Oh the joys of the first days of school. The students are perfectly attentive. You still have all 24 No. 2 pencils that you bought on sale at Target. All 120 crayons are unbroken and in their box. The desks are perfectly aligned within the tape margins you placed on the floor. And you don't have any homework to grade!  During these days of bliss is the time to grab your students' attention and get the year started on the right foot. Give your students a valuable, memorable, and even a little fun, first day of school with these activities. 

This simple gesture gives each student some initial one-on-one attention that they will appreciate
young or old.  Greeting your students at the door with a firm handshake is a great way for you to get a head start on learning their names, welcoming them to a new classroom, and instructing each where to take a seat. Plus, it's never too early to teach children how to properly greet someone.  
Pass the Hula-Hoop
This team-building exercise is perfect for the whole class (including you) or for smaller groups. How to Play: Place a Hula-Hoop over one student's arm, and instruct everyone to join hands. Without letting go of anyone's hand, the team must find a way to move the hula-hoop all the way around the circle.

Wear a Disguise
This is a fun way to build into your science lessons for the year. You can go as simple or elaborate as you’d like. The point is to make your students believe that this is how you really look. The best way to go about this is to wear a set of Austin Powers/funky teeth. Wear them with pride, like these are your real teeth—sell it. After you’ve introduced yourself to your students (looking a bit ridiculous and probably slurring your speech), tell them you are going to jump right into the first activity. Great scientists have very good observation skills, so you want them to work on making observations. Ask the class to describe you. What do you see? What color is my hair? Do I have glasses? What color are my eyes? Am I tall? Am I short? What am I wearing? What do my teeth look like? You may have to prompt them and encourage them to make observations about your funny teeth. When you’ve gone through this mini-exercise on making observations, you can reveal your true identity and remove your teeth. Expect a few gasps and a big laugh! Now ask your students to turn to a partner and write five things they can observe about their partner. Encourage them you use one more sense besides sight.

Easy to Implement Classroom Organization

Don't let a disorganized classroom stress you out! Make this school year your most organized. All you need is a little planning and dedication. Here are a few tips (and products) to get your school-year off to a great start.

Organized Classroom

If you have a file cabinet in your classroom, make a file for each student. For confidentiality purposes assign each student a number and use this for filing. In each student's file keep any parent communication, IEPs, tests, reports, notes, etc.

Another great folder to have on-hand is a "Substitute Teacher" file. Keep notes, extra worksheets, your current lesson plan, and activities there so whoever is standing in for you is not at a loss for what to do.

Organized Traveling Teacher

If you are a traveling teacher, you may not have the luxury of a big file cabinet. Use an accordion file organizer that you can take to any classroom (and even home). These typically only have 10-15 tabs, so use them wisely.

Tab Suggestions:
- To be Graded
- To Be Returned to Students
- Letters
- Tests
- Ideas
- Monday through Friday
- Fast Finisher Worksheets
- Class Roster
- Subject/Period

Time Management

Time management is just another way to get yourself organized. The Time Timer® effectively communicates the concept of elapsed time—just watch the red dial get smaller with each minute. Great for tests, reading-time, waiting for recess, homework, games, and more!

Online Organization

Are you on Pinterest? Instead of printing every great teaching, craft, or organization idea you find online, “Pin It”! You’ll always have that great idea right at your fingertips without wasting paper or valuable file cabinet space.

You’ll likely find Pinterest just as much fun for your personal life, but also create a few boards just for your “Teaching Stuff” such as:
- Printables
- Classroom Management
- Materials I Want
- Books
- Crafts
- Specific Reading Skills
- Classroom Organization

Pssst...we're on Pinterest! Come follow us!

3 Fun Dictionary Games to Build Vocabulary

Dictionary Games | Remedia Publications
Build students' dictionary skills and you’ll watch their vocabulary, reading skills, and independence grow! Each week, before you hand out your spelling list, introduce students to the words with these fun dictionary activities. 

Unique Activities to Boost Reading Comprehension

Unique Activities to Boost Reading Comprehension Skills | Remedia Publications
Help your students improve their reading comprehension by focusing on specific skills. Certain reading skills will be harder for some students and easier for others. Knowing which skills they struggle or excel at will help you improve how you teach. With these fun activities, you can work on multiple skills or focus on one skill at a time to improve reading comprehension.

Create a Visual Pinterest Board for Your Students

Using images and question prompts, you can teach and reinforce the specific reading skills—all through pictures! You can either have students access the Pinterest page directly (i.e. for homework, extra credit, or for fast finishers), or you can share the board with students in class on your whiteboard. We created a Specific Reading Skills board of images that you can use or re-pin from.  (Tip: You can also use these images for journal writing prompts.)

Unique Activities to Boost Reading Comprehension | Remedia Publications

Scavenger Hunt

Have students scavenge their homes and bring to class items or text that demonstrate specific comprehension information. A student may bring a cereal box that claims to have the “Best Prize Ever Inside!” to demonstrate opinion, the instructions to a DVD player to demonstrate sequence, share a painting (see example here) to show inference, or show a YouTube video to demonstrate predicting outcomes. The student who brings the most unique example wins a prize! Have student find at least three of the following: main idea, fact, opinion, inference, sequence, compare/contrast, cause & effect, predicting outcomes

Color Reading

Select interesting articles from a newspaper or magazine and make multiple copies, one for each student. Assign colors to specific comprehension information and have the student highlight or color the information as they read. For example, have students color two main points green, use purple to show three details, use orange on opinions and brown on facts, etc.

Compro Game

Strengthen students’ ability to recall information, determine the main idea, and find details with this simple game. How to play... Put students in groups of 3-6 (Tip: Group students by reading level to differentiate the lesson). Select one reading passage for all students in the group to read silently. When everyone has finished reading the passage, students should write as many details as they can recall (without looking back at the text). Then, each student takes turns reading his/her list of details out loud. As details are read, each student should cross off any matching details from their list. After each student has read their details, one point is given for each detail not recalled by other students in the group.

Have a Ball!

Get a beach ball from the dollar store and use a sharpie to write each: Who?, What?, Where?, When?, Why? on the ball. Toss the ball out to your students. Where the student’s left thumb lands, that’s the question he/she should answer.

Jenga Comprehension

Unique Activities to Boost Reading Comprehension | Remedia Publications
Older students will enjoy this twist to a classic game.  Add generic comprehension questions to a Jenga game: Who was the main character? What was the climax of the story?As you build the Jenga block, add the wooden pegs face up so that students can't see the question before pulling the block out (Tip: not all of the wood pegs need to have a question written on them). As students play Jenga--as normal by pulling the pieces from the tower--blocks with a question must be answered.

Teaching Materials to Reinforce Specific Reading Skills

Check out these popular Remedia materials to help reinforce and boost comprehension skills.
Specific Skill Builders
Skill-By-Skill Comprehension Practice
Specific Skills Series
Comprehension Quickies

Sneak in Some Fun S.U.M.M.E.R. Learning

6 Ways to Sneak in Some Fun Summer Learning | Remedia Publications
Don't let summer derail everything your students have learned! We know you can’t visit every one of your students over the break to make sure they are keeping up with learning, so here are some tips to send with your students into SUMMER! ...or to use with your own kiddos.

Activities to Improve Students' Verbal Communication Skills

6 Activities to Improve Students' Verbal Communication Skills | Remedia Publications
Verbal communication can be difficult--even for adults! It's one life skill we inarguably all need to work on. And the more practice we can give to our students early on, the better off they will be in the future.

“I came to realize that conversational competence might be the single-most overlooked skill we fail to teach students,” said Paul Barnwell in the article, "My Students Don’t Know How to Have a Conversation" from The Atlantic. The article is about one teacher’s concerns regarding how on-screen communication had diminished his students’ engagement and abilities in “real-time talk.”

Don't worry though! We're here to help. Below are six fun games that will get your whole class talking--not just talking--communicating.