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.

Classroom Organization

Easy to Implement Classroom Organization | Remedia Publications
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.

Get Organized
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.

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. Here are some tab suggestions: To be Graded, To Be Returned to Students, Letters, Tests, Ideas, Monday - Friday, Fast Finisher Worksheets, Class Roster, Subject/Period.

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. Visit our Specific Reading Skills board. (Tip: You can also use these images for journal writing prompts.)

Unique Activities to Boost Reading Comprehension | Remedia PublicationsScavenger 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.   

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
After reading the article, "My Students Don’t Know How to Have a Conversation" from The Atlantic, we were inspired to gather some activities you can use to improve your students’ verbal communication skills.   

In the article about one teacher’s concerns regarding how on-screen communication had diminished his students’ engagement and abilities in “real-time talk,” Paul Barnwell says, I came to realize that conversational competence might be the single-most overlooked skill we fail to teach students.”  So let us help you work on this oh-so-important life skill with your students.