Happy back to school season! It can be a stressful time of year as you prepare to welcome new students to your classroom, but I want this year to be your best teaching year ever! To help you out I’m giving away a $10 TpT gift certificate so that you can buy the product thats been sitting on your wishlist all summer long. Use the Rafflecopter below to enter! The giveaway will end on the 2nd so that you have time to purchase your product ON SALE during the TpT back to school sale.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Every year when back to school season hits, social media is flooded with teachers sharing their ideas and purchases as they set up their classroom for the new year. And that’s great! Social media is a fantastic place to find new inspiration and bounce your own ideas off others. So what’s the problem?
Sometimes a trend will take social media by storm, and every teacher scrambles to get the latest and greatest decor item for their classroom. Milk crate chairs, bright pom pom accents, chevron carpets, even a certain color scheme can become trendy. This year the big trend seems to be lightboxes. Don’t get me wrong, many of these ideas are awesome and help to create a learning environment that both you and your students can enjoy. Classroom improvements like adaptive seating, or a new carpet for group time will always be beneficial. I only caution that sometimes these trends can become overwhelming. Back to school is stressful enough without worrying about whether your color scheme is trendy this year! Ask yourself a few questions before buying a new decor item for your classroom:
What is motivating me to make this purchase? Will it improve the learning environment for me or my students? Do I have the time and energy to impliment this in my classroom? Is the cost worth the benefit? Is there a way I could make this myself instead? Am I buying this because I need it, or just so I can take a picture for Instagram? Is this something I will throw out in a year, or does it have durability? Does this match my own design wishes for my classroom?
You can also consider these questions in a handy infographic form!
These questions aren’t meant to make you feel bad for buying something that is trending, or to say that you shouldn’t buy trending items in the future. That lightbox you purchase might be the highlight of your classroom this year! It’s simply important to be clear and honest with yourself over why you are purchasing something, and to make sure its right for you and your students, so that you can save time, money, and energy this busy back to school season!
With all the media attention about the upcoming 2016 Election, now is the perfect time to get students engaged in critically understanding election coverage. This is a great opportunity for students to dialogue about citizenship, media, bias, and facts vs. opinions. Here are some great resources I’ve found for you to help your students understand election time this year.
Video: US Elections- How do they work?
The UK Parliament has put together a very good video explaining how US Elections work with great visuals.
Video: The Electoral College- does your vote count?
It can be difficult for students to understand why some states are constantly referred to as the ‘more important’ states. This video clearly explains the electoral college.
Website: Candidate Platforms
This website presents the platforms of each candidate in an easy to navigate way for students to compare and contrast.
Resource: Election Ballot
Busy Bee In Grade Three has provided a great freebie of classroom voting ballots if you would like to hold a vote in your classroom after learning about each candidate!
Resource: Analyze Political Ads In History
A through lesson plain is available here to guide students through an analysis of political ads, and specifically the use of children in political ads.
Resource: American Election Vocabulary Posters
While you dialogue with your students there is bound to be new vocabulary pop up. Use these half-size posters on a bulletin board to remind students of key terminology.
Website: Scholastic Election
Scholastic has created a website with many lesson plans, videos, and other information for students and teachers about the election. I especially recommend taking a look at their ‘Kid Reporter’ section.
Pinterest Board: Teaching Government
For many more resources for not just the election, but other government topics, you might like to follow my ‘Teaching Government’ Pinterest board.