Friday, June 5, 2015

Looking Ahead Blog Hop

I know that many of you have already begun your summer vacation while others are enjoying the last days of this school year with your students. If you are like me, it's never too early to start reflecting on this school year and beginning to plan ahead for next school year. That's why I have joined together with other members of The Literary League in a Looking Ahead Blog Hop! This is a great way to get Back-to-School tips from some amazing Teacher Authors.

While we all know that there is a push to begin classroom instruction on Day 1, it is essential to build a sense of community with your students to create a positive and effective classroom learning environment. This is not something that will be developed after a five minute icebreaker with students.  One activity that I always complete with my students to allow them to be an active part of this process is a consensus map activity where students decide what they need to be successful in our classroom this school year. After students have worked in groups to complete this, groups are responsible for sharing out their ideas and agreeing on what information we should include on our class anchor charts. The class anchor charts are always displayed in our classroom so that we can refer back to the agreement that we created together. 

In addition to having your students be active members of creating your classroom learning environment, it is also a necessity to get to know your students to build a relationship with them. One way that I do this is to have my students complete the All About Me: Letter to My Teacher Writing Activity. 

Students go through the writing process to tell me what they think I need to know about them. Not only is this a great way to get students to open up, but I also use it as a writing pre-assessment to gauge my students' writing skills. You can click here to purchase this product from my store! 


  1. Hi Stephanie, you first day of school is ideal. I love it. There are many acceptable distractions throughout the year - why not take a purposeful "time out" on the first day of school to bond with your students. Setting up rules between you and the students, and among the students is so important. Thank you for sharing your ideas and resources!

  2. I had students write me a letter at the beginning of the year this year as well. It always cracks me up to see what they share as things you "need" to know about them.

    Brynn Allison
    The Literary Maven

  3. I love your anchor charts and so agree about creating those relationships! I work on that almost the entire first week in one way or another! :)

    Mrs. Spangler in the Middle

  4. I love not only the classroom norms but the small group ones, too! Thank you!

  5. What an awesome way to start the year and to build community. Thanks!

  6. I love the classroom norms. That's a great way to get student buy in!

  7. Some fabulous ideas here!! Your new blog looks AMAZING!!! I love it!

  8. I love this consensus idea! I will be using it and I pinned it for others to be inspired by. Thanks!

  9. Your anchor charts are great! I love your first day idea. Thanks for sharing it :)

  10. I also use the anchor charts to define what class/groups/partner work looks like and sounds like. I leave them up all year and when students need reminders, I just point to the anchor charts. It really helps students take ownership of classroom management and manage themselves!

    Literary Sherri