Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tips and Tools 4 Back 2 School Blog Hop

I'm so excited to join my PA blogger buddies for Tips and Tools for Back-to-School!

To help you with your back to school preparations, we each have a tip to share and a tool for you to use when you return to your classroom.

Ever find yourself starting sentences with, "How many times do I have to tell you..." in your classroom? Here's why...

When learning occurs, the brain builds connections (synapses) between nerve cells (neurons). It takes strong emotional responses and/or repeated exposure to information to form these synapses.

That's why quickly telling students, or expecting them to know, about classroom procedures just doesn't work that well. We need to rehearse each and every single procedure until it becomes routine. Or until we're blue in the face. Whichever comes first. Hehe. 
Think about it-- we have fire drills every month, because rehearsal works. 

Teach and rehearse 1-3 procedures per day. Show students the "wrong way" and "right way" to perform each procedure, and then have them critique you. Be silly or emotional when you show them the "wrong way." Make it engaging! Have students demonstrate and rehearse procedures, and respond to others as they rehearse them. Practice walking down the hall before you walk to specials. Take your class into the hallway again and again, and rehearse it repeatedly. Discuss, examine, and add all of Bloom's Taxonomy in there! When they're not following directions, say, "Looks like we haven't quite gotten this down yet. Let's rehearse again!" Or curb a behavior concern with, "Do we need to rehearse this again?" We do have to let students know academics will be part of our routine, so break this up with community-building activities and social skills lessons with academic extensions.

We wouldn't expect a football team to skip practice, figure out the game as they go, only listen to their coach during games, and make it to the Super Bowl. We can't expect our students to never practice, figure out our procedures as they go, only listen to the teacher when things are getting chaotic, and make it to success.

A teacher asked me how she could get through a year's worth of curriculum if she starts it a week late. Each time a teacher has to repeat herself, she's lost about 1-2 minutes of instruction time. If this happens every period, that's pretty close to about ten minutes lost per day. That's 1,800 minutes (30 hours) of instruction time lost per year! What?! Swap your first week of instruction for procedures/routines, and save your time (and sanity)! Beacuse... Repeating yourself? #aintnobodygottimeforthat.

(If it helps-- I have a set of illustrated classroom routines and procedures posters that I use for the first week of school, for $3 at my TpT store)


Here's a free, editable copy of my first week of school plans! It's not pretty or fancy with fonts or clip art, because I wanted it to be quickly editable for you if you wanted to copy it into your plan book. If you open it in Google Docs (by clicking on this link or the photo below and selecting the "download," arrow from the top menu), you can click on the links included.

Thank you for stopping by my blog today! I hope that you picked up an idea or two. If you would like to be the first to know about classroom management and emotional/behavior support ideas, new posts, giveaways, and blog hops, follow me on Bloglovin' by clicking the image below.

Don't stop reading here!  We have more tips and tools for you. 
Just follow the link below and visit my blogging buddy Darla at Bouncing Through Life in First:

Have fun hopping!


  1. Brandi-I am big on setting routines and teaching, reteaching, practicing, etc. Great tips and tool!
    That First Grade Blog

    1. That's great, Jen! Thank you so much! Love your blog!

  2. Brandi, in my district we take the first week of school for behavior training days. The whole school is broken into groups and travels from station to station learning and practicing procedures for dismissal, cafeteria, hallway, bathrooms, etc. The stations are interactive and engaging. We believe that practice makes perfect. We stop learning to re-train students when behavior breaks down, so that they do not practice improper behavior. So effective! Thanks for sharing your plans!
    Read With Me ABC

    1. Wendy, that's awesome! I wish my district did that! Maybe one day I'll be influential enough to make this happen out our way! You're welcome! Thanks for your comment!

  3. I love taking a peek at another teacher's lesson plans :)! Thank for sharing!!

    1. You're welcome, Catherine! I always love peeking, too! Thanks for leaving me a comment!

  4. Replies
    1. You're welcome, Kheila! Hope you like them! Thanks for your comment!

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