Back to School and Back to Blogging

In the words of The Cars, “Hello, hello again.”

I hope you had a good Summer of 2016. I did. Even though I wrote in my last post that I planned to post here during the summer, it turns out that this didn’t happen.

Turns out that during the summer I wasn’t in a writing mode, but more of a reading mood. You see I really enjoy reading novels, but unfortunately doing this is often one of my lowest priorities during the school year. So I caught up with a vengeance by reading, Lovecraft Country, Underground Airlines, Before the Fall, The Selloutand a couple of David Baldacci books as well (because I heard him speak at the Columbus Library  in June.)

Full classes begin for us on Wednesday, so I’m in full back to school mode and thinking about how and what I’m going to teach this school year. I don’t have a list of new back to school ideas. Instead, please see what I posted this time last year by clicking here, here, here, here and also here. Also, I encourage you to check out what Jared has to share over at his The Religion Teacher site.

So, I’ll wrap this reintroduction up by inviting you to check out the Sunday lectionary gospel which I’ll post before each school week. And I have a new week-daily feature which I’ll be introducing very soon.

May Christ bless you during this school year of 2016-2017!


10 1st Week Mistakes to Avoid in Religion Class

Today was the first in-service for where Rachel, Tera and I teach.  It was a valuable, focused session on key classroom technology that all of use.  Tomorrow is our full day, full faculty in-service on The Big Picture for the year. Monday has the faculty/staff business meetings.  I see my freshmen briefly on Tuesday and Wed is the first full day of school.

So, I need to get focused on the technology I plan to use in my classes this year.  I’ve gathered lots of links which will help me with this.  As I hope they’ll be helpful for you as well, I’ll make a number of posts today.

For the Religion teachers out there, here’s a great list courtesy of Jared Dees and his excellent The Religion Teacher blog.

10 First Week Mistakes to Avoid in Religion Class:

  1. Not sharing why you became a teacher/catechist
  2. Teaching on the first day
  3. Only talking about what you will teach and how they will be graded (In other words, just sharing your syllabus)
  4. Explaining how a class will run (rules & procedures), but not why they are there.
  5. Not praying
  6. Ignoring what the students want out of your class
  7. Forgetting the students’ names
  8. Not smiling
  9. Not reaching out to parents
  10. Teaching your lessons without a purpose

A good list, I must say.  Compare it to the other “don’t” list I posted recently and you’ll see some clear similarities.

If you’re still getting ready for 2015-2016 – Blessings on your preparation!

If you’re already rolling with students in 2015-2016 – Blessings on today and every day of this school year!

14 Things Teachers Should Never Do on the First Day of School

Some times the “don’t” lists for back-to-school are more valuable than the positive “do” lists.  Here’s the first of a pair – this one is from the blogger at “Brilliant or Insane.”  Before you disagree with some (or all) of these, do take a look at the link to read the rationale behind each one.

  1. Read from the student handbook
  2. Discuss classroom rules
  3. Distribute a syllabus
  4. Assign seats
  5. Seat students in rows
  6. Hand out textbooks
  7. Talk about “The Test”
  8. Say you’ll need weeks to learn your students’ names
  9. Use sarcasm
  10. Denigrate a colleague
  11. Make students introduce themselves
  12. Talk too much
  13. Assign homework
  14. Frown

I like the sentiment which concludes the post:

The first day of school should be dedicated to rapport-building and to joy.

Your goal should be that students go home that night and tell their parents: “I’m going to love (insert your subject) because Mrs. (insert your name) is awesome!”

Accomplish this goal, and you’ve had one truly great first day of school

8 Ways to Make Students Feel Welcome on the First Day of School

It’s the eve of the first day of school for my son and daughter who attend our local, public district.  My first in-service is next Thursday and I will see my students two weeks from yesterday.  So, the back-to-school vibe is jumping in my household!

I’m focusing on how to begin on day one as I’m a firm believer that how the environment is in the classroom from the first minutes truly sets the tone for the entire year.

Thanks to the NEAToday blog for these eight great suggestions:

  1. Assign seats before school starts
  2. Use students’ names from day one
  3. Don’t just introduce yourself.  Share your story
  4. Give they something to commemorate the first day
  5. Give the students the tools they need.
  6. Emphasize what students can do, not what they can’t
  7. Promise to give your best
  8. Send home a packet of important forms.

And a bonus one: Contact families before you go home for the day.

Which of these do you feel is the most important?  Which is most challenging for you?


10 Things to Not Lose Sight of This Year

And now this thought-provoking list from the always helpful Te@chThought:

10. Schools should be ready for students, not the other way around.

9. The school year is a marathon, not a sprint.

8. You don’t need a million tools and strategies to teach well.

7. People change, and students are people.

6. The students should talk more than you do.

5. A growth mindset includes a sustainable mindset.

4. You’re a professional, and you control your own attitude.

3. How you make students feel can last a lifetime. Careful.

2. It’s not your job to prepare students for “the real world”

1. The students are always watching you.

Good reminders for newbies and vets alike.