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Back-to-School Guide
For Beginning Teachers
(And Not-So-New Teachers Too)!

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Curriculum CenterWelcome to Education World's Back-to-School Guide for Beginning Teachers. Not-so-new teachers will also find classroom-friendly materials to expand their teaching files in this compilation of online resources from Education World writer Joan Luddy. Included: Resources for getting your feet on the ground, lesson planning tips, assessment ideas, time and behavior management resources, classroom freebies, technology information, humor and more.

Education World has surfed deep into the Web to pull together this Back-to-School Guide for Beginning Teachers -- a virtual survival guide for educators about to begin their first year in the classroom or for classroom veterans who are always looking for fresh ideas.

Before you go any further, have you visited Education World's Back to School theme page? There, you'll find links to dozens of stories that provide practical tips and advice for starting out the year on the right foot. You'll find great activities for the first week of school, advice to new teachers from principals and from teachers about to begin their second year in the classroom, tips for classroom management, and much more.

Scroll through the Back-to-School Guide for Beginning Teachers list of great resources below, or click on one of the section heads in the list that follows to find the specific resources you need:

  • Back-to-School and Anytime Activities
  • Lesson Planning
  • Assessment
  • Behavior Management
  • Humor and Inspiration
  • Reference Desk
  • Technology
  • Need Help?
  • ADVICE TO GET YOU STARTED

    Gain a realistic perspective on the teaching profession before you start the year at Great Expectations: Helpful Hints for Beginning Teachers. A consultant on teacher training (and a former teacher) offers advice on setting reasonable classroom and professional expectations to reduce stress. The article includes helpful tips on managing the classroom and interacting with staff.

    BACK-TO-SCHOOL AND ANYTIME ACTIVITIES

    • If your students seem very quiet on the first day (and you find this unpleasant), try some Icebreakers from Education World.
    • If you think you need to do a million things at the start of the school year, cut the list down to 101 Things You Can Do the First Three Weeks of Class and First-Day Activities. High school teachers in particular can use these suggestions for building a classroom community, providing support, challenging students, encouraging active learning, helping students make transitions, and directing attention.
    • Unexpected events can derail the best lesson plan in the first week or any day of the year. Be prepared with a file of emergency activities to use extra time. Time Filler Ideas for grades K-6 provides links to puzzles and bingo, hangman, code-cracking games, and other favorites.
    • When a visitor or child demands moments of your undivided attention, keep the class engaged and quiet with Take 5 Micro Activities. They include many brainstorming exercises suitable for individual seatwork.

    LESSON PLANNING

    Education World is a great place to start if you are looking for lesson plans: Check out our Lesson Planning Center.

    • Daily lesson planning will be less overwhelming to a beginning teacher with a systematic approach. 10 Steps to Developing a Quality Lesson Plan provides a general overview of the process, with detailed descriptions of each component. More than 1,000 free Lesson Plans are also available at this same site, searchable by subject and grade level.
    • In general, the best lesson plans are the ones you write yourself and customize for your own students and curriculum. For inspiration, look no further than The Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM). This project provides 11,000+ lesson plans, curriculum units, and educational materials, searchable by topic and grade level.

    ASSESSMENT

    • Grading headaches are minimized when you set standards for your assignments and make expectations clear to students. You can borrow all kinds of Creating Rubrics: Tools You Can Use. Learn how rubrics can guide your students and support your assessments. Three online tools for creating rubrics are included.
    • Do you wish someone else could do correcting for you? Quiz Lab supplies the grades when students take your own online quizzes -- and those grades can be automatically e-mailed to you! Choose from true-false, multiple-choice, and single-word answer problems for students to answer at school or home. After the quiz, the class can search the rest of FunBrain for other interactive games and activities.
    • There's no rule that testing must be miserable. Crosswords and number blocks can make testing fun for students. Puzzlemaker allows you to easily generate custom puzzles with your own word lists. Use the site to create mazes and word searches for students who finish work early and to design activities with holiday themes.
    • Do you need help with appropriate Report Card Comments? The first marking period will be here before you know it. Jump-start your thinking process with this sampling of messages.

    BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT

    • Learning how to deal with misbehavior can be the most difficult part of the job for beginning teachers. You can handle all types of behaviors with the You Can Handle Them All resource! Just use the index to identify the problem student's profile. The site matches that profile with a detailed description of typical behaviors and their effects in the classroom and follows up with recommended corrective actions.
    • The issue of bullying is receiving more attention at all levels of education. Education World's special Bullying theme section provides classroom activities and advice from experts that can help stop the bullying!
    • Another resource is the Stop Bullying Web page. This page includes guidelines to help teachers identify bullying behaviors and deal with incidents.
    • Review these tips on Classroom Management to help you maintain a learning atmosphere. The site covers such topics as arranging your room, setting expectations, managing inappropriate behavior, and using praise effectively.

    HUMOR AND INSPIRATION

    • Take a Stress Reduction Moment for a look at life only a teacher would understand. These humorous contributions from teachers are updated weekly.
    • If you're in need of Uplifting Stories, humorous anecdotes, or just plain silliness, look no further. You'll find a compilation of it all from this teacher's site.

    REFERENCE DESK

    • You can reduce the number of students wandering in the hall en route to the library with a virtual Reference Desk on your classroom computer. This extensive collection includes encyclopedias, dictionaries, calculators, newspapers, weather reports, biographies, history references, homework help, and much more.
    • Fine literature and historical documents in the public domain are available in their entirety online for free at Project Gutenberg. The diverse collection includes the Bible, works of Shakespeare, and literature for all ages such as Aesop's Fables, Peter Pan, and Alice in Wonderland. Here's the place to look up book passages and quotations and to direct any student who claims he has nothing to read.
    • Put homework on hold until you review this guide to Helping Your Students With Homework. Teachers of the Year throughout the United States contributed to this government publication. It includes tips for getting homework done, creating purposeful assignments, laying out expectations, and communicating with parents.
    • In case no one told you, you can find out What to Expect Your First Year of Teaching from award-winning elementary and secondary first-year teachers. If you don't have time to read the entire 35-page report, start out with the Tips and Strategies for First-Year Teachers.

    TECHNOLOGY

    • Keep your students away from inappropriate material by starting Web searches with Kid's Search Tools. Search engines here lead exclusively to thousands of selected and screened sites.
    • You don't need advanced computer skills to design an Internet WebQuest, Treasure Hunt, or Sampler for your class. The interactive Filamentality site will guide you in gathering Web resources and constructing these learning activities. The fill-in-the-blank format and hand-holding advice make the process as easy as possible.
    • Add a professional touch to anything you create on the computer with A-1 All Free Clipart. Here, you'll find 10,000+ free clipart images with a link to 5,000 more clipart and graphic possibilities.

    NEED HELP?

    ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR BEGINNING TEACHERS

    Related resources

    Article by Joan Luddy
    Education World®
    Copyright © 2010 Education World

    Updated 07/08/2011

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