Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tips for Teachers

It’s that time of year again~

• You’ve got your syllabus prepared
• Your lesson planner is rockin’
• You even have most of your tools and props ready
• Yay!

If you are looking for some ideas, you’re in good company. Some 'Color My World' followers have asked me for tips to help teachers facilitate a good comfort level and set the perfect tone for the rest of the school year.

You know, my Mom always had the best little Italian sayings; some of them did not transfer well in English. However, there is one that I believe would have the same impact in any language. In fact, it applies well in this situation … but in reverse.

Here’s what I mean:

Whenever something was amiss, whether it was a business situation or a family matter, my Mom would ask who was in charge. She’d tell me to look at the person at the top of the chain-of-command and I’d probably find the problem because people usually take their lead from that person, and if something was wrong in the middle or at the bottom, something was typically wrong at the top.

She would say, “A fish stinks from the head down.” That’s pretty insightful; it illustrates the point well, and I find it to be true a lot. However, I still prefer to paint prettier pictures. The problem is that none of the 'pretty' scenarios I’ve come up with get the point across as well as the stinky fish.

Which brings about a more popular saying, “If it ain’t broke …” Well, I won’t try to fix my Mom’s brilliant little ditty, but this is how I believe it also holds true in reverse. If things are going smoothly in the middle and at the tail end, someone at the top is setting that tone as well.

We’ve all seen the signs posted in a lot of homes that read, ‘If Momma’s not happy, no one’s happy!’ Well, the same seems to hold true in the classroom; the teacher sets the tone for this ‘family.’

With that said, it is important to be well-rested and prepared so that you are able to then prep your students for a smooth year ahead.

A great way to set the tone is to make each student feel welcomed and important while getting acquainted.

Here is an idea that might help:

•Once you have your student roster, take some time to research their first names.
•Using large index cards or construction paper, write each student’s name and its definition on a card.
•Remember to also make a card for your name.
•Place a Post-it over the name on each card so that only the definition shows.
•When class is in session, make a game out of guessing who matches the description on each card by randomly passing out cards and making certain that no one gets the one with their own name on it.
•Give each student a chance to read the card in their hand while the rest of the class guesses who it is.
•This is not just a good way to learn everyone's name; it also gives a glimpse of each personality right up front. For instance, my name ‘Deborah’ means Queen Bee. I’m not so certain that was a good fit in grade school since I was rather shy; however, later in my life, I’d have to say that I proudly accept that description. I’m in charge of my life; I know what I want, I know how to get things done, and I appreciate the fact that I am well respected for what I do.
•By the way, these name cards can also be used as name plates for the fronts of the desks.
•And at the end of the school year, you can use them again to compare how the definitions fit or changed with each personality since the beginning of the year.

Hey, are we talking about the end of the school year already?! ... Time flies when we are happy~

Here’s to a happy Classroom!


Monday, August 2, 2010

Parental 911 ~ Summer’s End is Near

Are You Still Trying to Find Ways to Make This Summer Memorable?

Well ...

It’s NOT too late to have the BEST summer EVER with your kids! …

In today's issue, I'm sharing tips that fit into what’s left of your summer schedule and BUDGET

The key here is to SCHEDULE the time together; put it on your calendar as if you had to be at the airport hopping on a plane for a quick vacation.

Keep in mind that the goal is to make it a summer to remember, so let’s build some fabulous memories.

The best way to do that is by beginning with something that your kid loves. What lights up their eyes?

Here are 10 EASY tips to get you started:
  1. Music
    • Check out local Concerts in the Park (typically free_
    • Or, how about setting up snacks/drinks in your backyard, along with your laptop on a blanket. Everyone in the family gets to choose a music video or two to watch TOGETHER
  2. Art
    • Have you been to the museum lately
    • Or, how about packing a picnic, stop at the library and check out some art books, then heading to the park to share your bounty together
  3. Animals
    • Zoo/Aquarium, Aviary, visit local farms/petting zoos; for older kids, try horseback riding
    • Or, how about volunteering some time TOGETHER at an animal shelter
  4. Sports
    • Plenty of major league games left this season, try just visiting the ballparks, or drive to a Sports Hall of Fame
    • Or, how about stopping by some local little league games to support neighborhood ‘stars’ … even if you don’t know them
  5. Movies
    • Movies in the Park typically run through the month of August
    • Or, how about doing your own movie fest 3 nights in a row at a local drive-in … everyone participates in making the plans (choosing movies, popping popcorn, packing drinks, etc.)
  6. Cars/Motorcycles/Races
    • Check out local speedways to enjoy inexpensive entertainment
    • Or, how about racing each other … bumper cars
  7. Getting Dirty
    • Off road racing … rent a 4 wheeler if you don't own one, and see how dirty you can get it
    • Or, how about a spontaneous walk in the rain
  8. History
    • History Center or Museums
    • Or, how about researching your family tree TOGETHER
  9. Mind Exercises
    • Science Center
    • Or, how about fun online mind games … Braingym.com, ZiggityZoom, colormyworld.info, my blog gives LOTS of tips, tools, ideas and exercises
  10. Ask Your Kid
    • You might be surprised at the fabulous ideas they have ... if you just ask and listen
    • Chances are, they simply want to spend time together ~ building memories!