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Back-to-School Tips and Resources for Teachers

Curriculum Center

Could summer break be winding to a close already? Although the calendar still says summer, the first day of school is just days away for many American educators. There is no better time than now to look back at some of the best articles from the Education World archive! Included: Icebreaker activities, classroom management tips, quick activity ideas when you have five minutes to spare, and much more!

The calendar may still say summer, but summer break is about to end for millions of schoolchildren. Classroom teachers around the world are busily planning activities for the opening days and strategies that will last the whole year.

If you are one of those teachers, you've just struck gold!

Education World offers 25 great articles from our archive, a virtual treasure chest of ideas, that include classroom activities, tips for setting the tone, classroom management strategies, ideas for motivating students, and much more!

Dig through the headlines and descriptions below. You're sure to uncover dozens of new ideas, activities, and valuable resources that will add learning, as well as fun, to your classroom!


Classroom Management: Ten Teacher-Tested Tips!
Hallway conferences, pasta discipline, buddy rooms, bell work: Those and six other ideas for taming temper tantrums and other classroom disruptions are the focus of this Education World story. Included: An opportunity for all teachers to share the classroom-management techniques that work for them!

Don't Waste a Minute: Quick-Tivities for Awkward Moments
So much to do, so little time -- you can't afford to waste a minute. What do you do when every day is interrupted by at least a few transitions that never seem to fit into the natural rhythm of your lessons? Fill those minutes with real learning by introducing your students to one of these valuable mini lessons.

Preferred Activity Time (PAT) Is Preferred by Kids and Teachers!
If you talk with any group of teachers, you are likely to discover that at least one uses PAT, or preferred activity time, a reward system described by Fred Jones in his book Positive Classroom Discipline. Because this system requires little effort and expense, teachers are taking it up. Because it is fun, students are eating it up! Whether teachers view the time students earn as free time or educational game time, they all agree that PAT works. Included: Teachers share favorite educational games from their PAT repertoires!

Icebreakers: Getting-to-Know-You Activities for the First Days of School!
One of Education World's most popular features returns this year with 19 new getting-to-know-you icebreakers for the first days of school! Consider these activities from Education World readers and share your favorite icebreaker activities on today's message board!

Reward Systems That Work: What to Give and When to Give It!
Read about ways four teachers reward students' good behavior and motivation. Learn what to give and when and how you can encourage students to improve. Included: 35 reasonable rewards!

Ten Games for Classroom Fun!
Do you need ideas for occupying students during the last ten minutes of a busy day? Perhaps you want to reward kids at the end of a particularly productive day. These ten games are great for end-of-the-day fun. You can link many of them to classroom curricula too!

Creating a Climate for Learning: Effective Classroom Management Techniques
In Positive Classroom Discipline, Jones states, "The most widespread management technique at home and in the classroom is nag, nag, nag." It's also probably the least effective. Learn how to stop nagging and start teaching. Included: 12 teacher-tested tips for behavior management!

Classroom Rewards Reap Dividends for Teachers and Students
All teachers prefer to rely on their students' intrinsic motivation to encourage them to come to school, do their homework, and focus on classroom activities, but many supplement the internal drive to succeed with external rewards. Teachers say rewards, such as free time, school supplies, or tasty treats, can help kids master the expectations of acceptable classroom behavior and scholastic achievement. Included: Ten tips for using rewards in the classroom!

Don't Waste a Minute!
What do you do with those awkward moments that arise in every teacher's day, those times between classes or before specials when there's no time for a new lesson but plenty of time for kids to act up? Try some mini-lessons, quick activities that fill time without wasting it! Included: Dozens of mini-lessons to keep kids busy and learning every minute of the day!

Back-to-School Guide for Beginning Teachers (and Not-So-New Teachers Too)!
Have you found yourself singing the new-teacher blues? Change your tune with the Education World 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 much more!


Do Seating Arrangements and Assignments = Classroom Management?
Now might be a good time to take a long look at your classroom seating arrangement. Advice and opinions about classroom arrangements and seating assignments abound, and Education World explores the possibilities! Included: Tips from Fred Jones on how to get the most out of classroom arrangements.

Let's Cooperate! -- Teachers Share Tips for Cooperative Learning
Cooperation starts at the top! Teachers who use cooperative learning in their classrooms have developed techniques that make the most of this method, and they share them. Ideas that range from forming groups to using rubrics will make any lesson of a cooperative nature a little more fun! Included: Teacher tips, a rubric for grading students' cooperative efforts, and additional online resources!

Playground Pass Creates Recess Success!
If you've done recess duty, you know the playground is not all fun and games! Wouldn't you love a simple, straightforward teaching tool that steers students away from trouble and into recess success? The Playground Pass does just that. Built on sound behavior principles, it's a system that classroom teachers and playground monitors can use together to help kids make positive choices during free play. Included: Links to the reproducible Playground Pass system and other free resources.

The King of Classroom Management! (An Education World e-Interview With Classroom Management Expert Fred Jones)
Since 1969, Fred Jones has offered teachers advice about how to manage students and classrooms effectively. The author of Tools for Teaching, his third book on classroom management, shares his thoughts about the difficulties teachers face in classrooms today. Included: Jones talks about the failure of the nation's colleges and universities to provide future teachers with adequate training and how legislators make teachers' jobs even tougher!

Your Search for Bulletin Board Ideas Is Over!
Three educators who searched for bulletin board ideas on the Web and found little have solved the problem for the rest of us! Education World talks about bulletin boards with teachers Kimberly Steele, Kathy Schrock, and Rochelle Chenoweth, each of whom created a useful bulletin board resource on the Net! Included: Links to ten bulletin board resources for educators across the grades!

Substitute Survival: Tools You Can Use
Are you a substitute or a potential substitute wondering whether you'll survive the challenges that lie ahead? Are you an administrator or a classroom teacher wondering how to help a substitute get through the day? If so, the Education World Online Substitute Survival Kit is for you! Included: Songs, games, lesson activities, and templates to help a sub survive even the most difficult experience!

Substitute Survival: Mini Lessons for Unexpected Moments
Whether you are a substitute teacher whose lessons fall short of filling up the day or a permanent classroom teacher whose days involve lots of little transitional moments, these lessons will work for you! Included: Ten great activities for substitutes and classroom teachers!

Put an End to Homework Horror!
If your students lack interest in your homework assignments, it may not be your students -- it may be the assignments! Author Nancy Paulu has some advice for teachers who want to make the most out of schoolwork done at home! Included: Three educators share their best ideas for keeping students informed, interested, and on task! Plus links to a handful of school homework policies!

'Paper Swap' Strategy Helps Students Learn
English teacher Suzanne L. Schmitt shares a win-win strategy that allows students a chance to turn in a paper, participate in a quick review, and then swap that paper with a revision that improves on the first and may even mean a higher grade.


The First Days of School: A True Tell-All Book! (An e-Interview with Harry and Rosemary Wong)
Whether you're a nervous neophyte facing your first day of school or a skilled veteran facing another first day of school, The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher, by Harry and Rosemary Wong, is a must read.

First-Day-of-School 'Icebreakers' Help Students and Teachers Warm Up!
Are you looking for the perfect way to get to know your students and help them get to know one another? You'll find it here! Included: Education World readers share more than 15 creative "icebreakers."

Fourteen Great Activities for the First Days of School
Education World offers 14 more great activities to help you get to know your new students and to help them get to know you!

Fourteen More Activities for the First Days of School
Try yet another batch of great icebreakers from Education World readers!

Getting to Know You: Activities for the First Day of School
Every veteran teacher has his or her favorite first-day-of-school activities!

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