Thursday, September 3, 2015

Teaching First Grade Tips!

first grade, back to school, teacher tips, teaching advice

Hi friends, it's SEPTEMBER! School is back in session!

I saw an awesome post from Mary at Sharing Kindergarten about Kindergarten tips and I thought {and asked her permission} I could use it to start a "First Grade Teacher Tips" blog. So here are my 3 tips for a successful first grade classroom!

First graders have the attention span of a gnat {pretty sure I do too...}. This means you only have about 6 minutes to get your point across and MOVE ON. Thankfully, I'm a bit ADD myself, so if things are taking too long, I get bored {sometimes I have to entertain myself}. The rule of thumb is, kids have the attention in minutes as their age {example, if a student is 5 years old, he/she has a 5 minute attention span}. 

This does not mean you have to change subjects EVERY 6 minutes. BUT you as the teacher should not be talking solo for over that amount of time. Introduce concepts in small, understandable chunks. Once you've hit your time limit, get some practice in with activities or small groups {I know this doesn't work for EVERY lesson, sometimes you have to plow through ;)}.

I learned from the great Rick Morris {the king of classroom management}, one option is to set a timer, when it goes off, switch your activity. 

Small groups are wonderful. Their attention span tends to expand when they are working independently on what THEY want {or at least what they THINK they want to be doing, we teachers are great at making kids think they are choosing ;)}.

Catherine from The Brown Bag Teacher is the queen of small group Daily 5. You should most definitely check her posts out!

Set high-measurable expectations. Your students WILL meet them! If you only expect them to write one sentence, that's all they will write. How should they act in the classroom, how should they respond when they are upset, what does finished work look like, what does my teacher expect me to do during this time? Push your students, they need you to expect much from them! We all know you believe in your students! Expect much of them, and they will exceed your expectations.

{disclaimer: I know there are some outliers in our first grade classrooms, but some of them will not test your boundaries if you set your expectations early and strong}

This is likely a no-brainer, but entertain, entertain, ENTERTAIN. I am the silliest of silly teachers. Not all first grade teachers are and that is perfectly fine! For me though, sometimes I just have to sing a song, talk in an accent, or dance-because some things I teach are BORING and I just can't make them exciting. Thankfully Teachers Pay Teachers and Teacher Bloggers have made it a little easier to think of those crazy entertaining ideas. Ya'll, we are competing with cartoons, iPhones, etc! Step up your game ;)

Here are a couple examples of making everything engaging for FREE {and it doesn't take much effort either}:

first grade, back to school, teacher tips, teaching advice
{this is a great pinning image ;)}

Do you have some simple {& easy to implement} tips for teaching first grade? Leave them in the comments :)

Happy first days of school!

No comments:

Post a Comment