Friday, August 8, 2014

Fifth Grade Back to School Tips Blog Hop and Giveaway



I’m very excited to join other fabulous 5th grade teachers to offer this Back to School Blog Hop! We wanted to do this hop to provide you with some back to school tips to start the year off right. We also wanted to do a little giveaway to help stock you up for the upcoming year! So hop around, get some great advice, some fabulous resources, and enter to win our terrific giveaway!

Here's a few tips for a successful year and a couple of resources to get you going!

Parent Communication

Communicate with parents often. As teachers, we have a zillion things going on and sometimes the last thing that we want to do is sit and make phone calls after school. But we don't want to avoid parents or make fall conferences the first time we communicate, especially if you have concerns. On the other hand, do not make your only contacts about concerns. I make time once per week for positive phone calls or emails, where I contact each parent once a month to share something positive that their child has done. Parents love it, but students might love it even more because they are usually rewarded in some way when their parents receive that call. I keep a chart of parent names and the times that I call/email for positive behavior separate from my contact log for behavior/concerns. That way I know that I've had at least one positive contact with each parent once a month. It does take some time out of your day, but it also makes a huge difference.

Now, just to piggyback off of that for a minute, I highly suggest phone calls for any concerns. You do not want to say something in an email that could come back to haunt you. Email can easily be misinterpreted and used against you. The best communication is a conference, but since that's not always possible a phone conversation will accomplish a lot more than an email and spare you the possibility of being misunderstood.

You can download a generic log that I made below.  I am also including a parent communication information sheet that I ask parents to fill out on back to school night. I keep them in a binder together so that everything I need to make contact is in one place.





Classroom Rewards

Now that I've had almost a decade in the classroom, I've had a chance to consider rewards and the cost of certain rewards. My students earn tickets for various actions in the classroom. They used to put those tickets in for raffles of prizes I picked up from the Dollar Store, all cheap little things, any gifts I didn't want, junk really, but I was spending a lot of my money keeping it stocked up. Two years ago I came across the idea of classroom coupons. What a money saver! Now my students use their tickets to purchase coupons. The most popular one? Stinky feet! My fifth graders love to take their shoes off, but I do have a "must have socks on" policy, no bare feet in my classroom! There are tons of great sets out there, but I created my own 5th grade cards with my 6 favorite ones in case you'd like to use them.  During the first week, I usually decide on a fair price (number of tickets) for each one. For example, the gum coupon might be 25 tickets, while lunch with the teacher is 100, and stinky feet could be 40. The amount you set should be reasonable and achievable. I think my first coupons were purchased around the 4th week last year. 




Behavior Management

A little respect goes a long way. I have had exceptional students in terms of behavior and it hasn't always been easy to achieve, but it's worth the hard work. I've often been told that behavior management is one of my strongest areas. When people ask me how I do it, I give them two words: respect and consistency. I give clear expectations that are high, yet reachable. I hold my students to those expectations consistently. I am not terribly strict, but I hold students responsible for misbehavior consistently. I am constantly talking to my students about the decisions that I make for them. I can be heard asking, "Is that fair?" several times a day. I make it clear that I respect them and care about them, and that their learning is the most important focus of each day. I share stories with my students, I laugh with my students, I get to know my students, and I am kind to my students. I truly believe that they behave because they give me what I give them.  If you create a positive learning community where students (and teachers) can make mistakes, share stories, learn together, and grow together, then you have the recipe for success!

Keep Hoppin'!

Now it's time to hop on over and visit the creative and awesome Wise Guys from Creativity in the Common Core Classroom, but before you hop over, make sure you enter our giveaway at the bottom of this post!



GIVEAWAY ALERT! GIVEAWAY ALERT!

Our group of bloggers has put an awesome pack of goodies together to help one lucky winner start their year off with a bang!

Enter below:  


a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the freebie! I know my 5th graders would love the stinky feet coupon!

    ReplyDelete