As educators prepare to head back into the classroom, many of us are finding that we are faced with a mix of the familiar excitement and anticipation that we have come to know so well at this time of year, alongside a different kind of anxiety that has more recently developed. Of course, we are grateful for the fresh sense of hope and possibilities that lie ahead as we begin a new year. However, there is also a very real awareness of the toll that the previous school year took on all of us as we navigated the endlessly shifting dynamics.
As classroom teachers, we are standing beside you. We are facing the same challenges, and reaching to remember the sense of joy that makes being a teacher so magical. We are breathing through the fears and the feeling of “what if…”, and turning to the work we have come to love sharing with our students, and with each of you. One of our very favorite things to do is come back to our routines and rituals in order to reimagine and keep them fresh, while staying true to the ways that each contributes to the classroom culture and dynamics we strive to maintain. In this post, we invite you to pick and choose and imagine possibilities with us. We have gathered some of our favorite goodies to share with you. We have intentionally included the resources that have worked in all learning models that we have experienced together over the last several years. In doing so, we strive to empower you to remember that no matter what shifts lie ahead, you and your students will be ready to protect your learning community and grow together.
We wish you a warm welcome into your school year, and look forward to including you in the next steps of our journey as it unfolds!
Setting a Foundation with a Class Mission Statement
- Promise Slides Resource – The facilitation pieces and activities that we use to build our kindergarten promise with the kids are included in this Google Slides resource. Last ye transferred our in-class promise building experience so that it could be done remotely; keep activities as is or adjust/swap out as you wish! There are a total of 7 promises that every human should strive for!
- We are responsible.
- We set goals and reflect on them.
- We focus and stay calm.
- We find solutions.
- We respect others.
- We use teamwork and include others.
- We take care of our minds, bodies, and hearts.
- Learn more in this blog post
Fostering Safety with Rituals and Routines
Wish You Well
- This Conscious Discipline ritual acknowledges children who are absent from school. Absent children are placed in the heart and well wishes are sent through the Wish You Well song (sung to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell): We wish you well, we wish you well, all through the day today, we wish you well!
- Learn more in Chapter 1 of our Innovating Play book.
Feelings Check-In Heart – Updated!
- Feelings Heart Resource – Facilitate a Feelings Check-In by having children look around at the face clues of others. Choose a child to check in with another child. As a class listen as one child describes the face clues of the other. What feeling might they have in their heart? That feeling can be explored with the resource by clicking on it, and then engaging in a GoNoodle video. Afterwards, students can share out gratitude after engaging in the “Be Grateful” slide.
- Learn more in Chapter 2 of our Innovating Play book
Days of School
- Number Representation in Google Sheets – Students can see the day of school being represented in numeral/digit form, in ten frames, and on a counting chart. Bonus when you have a collaborating class joining you and you can compare numbers!
- Learn more in Chapter 6 of our Innovating Play book which includes templates and facilitation questions!
- Recording the weather on Flipgrid – A selected weather reporter records a video sharing about the weather in their environment. Later in class, children can share what they notice from the video.
- Graphing the weather in Google Sheets – After viewing the weather report video, the class can head into the weather graph spreadsheet to chart the weather for the day. Over time they can share out observations of patterns they notice taking place!
- Learn more in Chapter 5 of our Innovating Play book which includes the chart template and facilitation questions!
Creating a Meaningful Start to Tech Integration
Google Login and Literacy
When it comes time to introduce technology to your kids, we have you covered! We have introduction components that have kids thinking about ‘what is tech’ and exploring the keyboard. If your school/district has access to Google for Education, we have resources to support your children in logging into their devices independently that we are offering through our EduSpark course program.
Our Innovating Play book is available in print AND digitally through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. This means, if you purchase a digital version you can have access to resources NOW. Not only are you getting the resources mentioned in this post, but even more context for how they are used AND over 60 ADDITIONAL resources offered in the book. Prime shipping is available through Amazon if physical books suit you better. Thank you for supporting our work and the time, energy, and effort it takes for us to create and share resources!