It’s really helpful, if not essential, to have open channels of communication with the parents of your students. That all starts with sharing contact information. Here’s a free editable file you can use to make your own teacher contact cards. Hand these out to parents at the beginning of the year or throughout the year as needed. Encourage parents to keep this in their wallet or somewhere they won’t lose it, so they can communicate to you conveniently and quickly if needed. Enjoy!
I recently learned about a cool free resource for teaching! It’s called Khan Academy. It provides tons of free educational content-based videos, with topics ranging from math and science to humanities and economics. With a log in, students (or anyone) can complete learn by watching videos and then complete tasks to earn badges. Teachers can track the data for their students and use the materials in lesson plans. You may also want to refer parents to this site if they’re looking for supplemental materials for helping their child. What’s not to love!?! I wish I had learned about this when I started teaching!
Turns out cursive is really good for your brain! Click here to view a quick video by Discovery News that shows some study results that show how good cursive is for your brain! Here are some highlights from the video:
- Cursive teaches the brain a functional specialization
- Cursive activates multiple areas of the brain at once
- Cursive improves fine motor skills because it’s more demanding (in terms of movement tasks) than print is
- Practices handwriting increases neural activity
- The broad range of letter shapes in cursive increases visual recognition skills
- Cursive engages students more in by giving them a better sense of style and giving them a sense of ownership over their own handwriting
- Cursive enhances creativity
I’ve been helping a friend plan for her first year teaching 6th grade. Here’s a letter we came up with to give to parents at the beginning of the year. We wanted to find a way to let parents/guardians help the class even if they can’t commit to a once a week in-class time. Here’s a draft of our letter. Any thoughts or suggestions?
Parent Volunteer Are Awesome!
Welcome to Miss ________’s 6th grade class! I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to work with you and your family to provide the best educational experience for your child. If you would be willing to help out our class this year, please indicate below. Thank you in advance for your help!
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -
Student Name ____________________________________________________________
Parent/Guardian Name(s) __________________________________________________
Parent/Guardian phone number _______________________________________________
Parent/Guardian email ______________________________________________________
___ I’m willing to help in the classroom on a regular basis
Day(s)/Time(s) that work best: _________________________________________
___I’m willing to help from home. Miss ___ can send things home for e to help with (cutting out laminated items, assembling packets, etc)
___ I’m willing to come on class field trips if needed
___ I’m willing to help with/come to class parties and special activities
My friend is teaching a bilingual class this year. I made her these homework coupons or homework passes (or whatever you want to call them). They’re blank so that you as the teacher can write in the value of the coupon before you copy them. Read my post about classroom reward ideas if you need some inspiration.
Click here to view my other set of free classroom coupons.
There are many ways to organize subject journal. Here’s one way to separate a spiral notebook into sections, or a single notebook into two different subjects.
Here’s a sample of how you can format your page: anchor chart tab for math journal. You can type whatever you want on the tab. Print and cut into strips. Glue anchor chart/show my work tab in middle of spiral notebook math journal. When you are making an anchor chart with the class, have each student copy what you are doing into their journal. Or when you pass out math definitions, examples, charts, or whatever that you want students to glue in their journal for future reference, have them start writing and gluing at the beginning of the book. When the student is just showing work or writing different ways to write a number or story problems, etc., have them go to tab and then start that sort of work there. That way, your student has the more pertinent information in the front of the journal and it will be easier for students to use their journals as a reference.