Congratulations! You've landed your first teaching job. This is such an exciting time, and you should celebrate this occasion. However, if you are anything like me, the very second that happy moment ends and you realize that you are going to have your own classroom with your own students to teach, the panic might set in. So, you've landed your first job, now what? Your first year won't be easy and carefree, but it shouldn't be the most stressful year of your entire life. Here are seven tips for first-year teachers. 1. Seek out a mentor As soon as you sign your contract, ask if your school has mentor teachers on campus. Your mentor could be a department chair, or a grade-level lead, or someone who is in charge of making new teachers feel welcomed. Not every school has a mentorship program in place, so if you are a newly hired first-year teacher at a school that doesn't have mentors, find one. You'll probably be introduced to more veteran teachers toward t...
While the vast majority of schools have school libraries, classroom libraries play an essential role. There are many ways to build up your classroom library including shopping at garage sales, library sales, and second-hand stores. Additionally, you can also score some free books by asking friends to donate to your classroom. If you are looking for ways to build your library, you can read my post here. Also, I recently wrote a post about how I organize my library. Here are five reasons to have a classroom library in your classroom. 1. Accessible Books Having a library in your classroom gives students another opportunity to access books. Depending on your classroom book check-out policy, your classroom library might also allow students who have late fines in the library to read a book. This is also especially helpful before school breaks. I have many students who stop by before the end of the day to check out a book before a break. Join my email list! Subscribe to r...
This past school year was a great one. With every school year that passes, I like to take a moment and reflect on activities that were successful in the classroom and really think about why they worked. Here are nine of my top activities from this previous school year. SWIFT Poetry Analysis Collaborative Poster Projects As a way to have my students practice their poetry analysis skills while also building their self-efficacy, my students worked on these collaborative posters. Using the acronym SWIFT (structure/symbolism, word choice, imagery, figurative language, and theme and tone), my students analyzed a variety of poems about a similar subject. Not only did the read and annotate the poems, but they also identified each of the SWIFT elements, provided a quote, and explained how each element impacted the poem.  Once students complete the poetry analysis posters, we spent some time in class conducting informal presentations. Student groups presented the posters. I completed th...