Beginning of the school year ideas

  • Class crossword puzzle, self-portrait and name
    Morning Meeting- basic greeting, share
    Explore math tools
    Go over daily schedule & class rules
    Behavior log
    Daily Five p. 45-58
    “Me Bag” & share
    All About Me Book

Teachers are the best!

Showing dedication by always trying to make the next year better than the last and helping students to overcome challenges and inspiring their intellectual curiosity! Teachers move students academically and onto bigger futures. Their love of teaching is potent and contagious.


I originally tried to run from my calling. It was put on my heart,  after I realized that I truly wanted to make an impact. Yes, teachers are called by God. I’m proud to be a teacher. What a precious job!


I know that my students’ achievement begins and ends with me. It’s me starting at 7 o’clock every morning for a lot of my kids. It’s me all day long and I can’t put the burden of that child’s success on someone else when I know that it’s me all day long. It’s a burden I shoulder proudly. It’s me on Saturdays. I want to know that I have done right by that child. They deserve that from me. That’s my job.

When I look at the kids in my classroom, I imagine them as my own children. I want them to have a great future!

Facilitation is my role in the classroom. But, beyond the classroom and even within the classroom a teacher wears many hats. You become a counselor, a nurse, and a parent.


This quality is “absolutely key.”


Meeting basic needs helps students put their education in focus. As a teacher, you’re a mom and you’re a caretaker. It’s what you have to do. We cannot improve students’ academics until we address what they need socially and emotionally.


Learning begins with establishing trust and comfort. The children must know that their room is a safe place.


Teachers meet with colleagues to exchange information and figure out ways to adapt that to their subject area.


I enjoy laughing and having a good time. I think you can make learning fun. You’ll do anything you can do to capture their excitement and get them to know that you can have fun while you learn and listen.

Reading at home is key. I feel that early on, the best thing a parent could do is read every single night to their children. If you read to them, you’re your child’s best teacher. They can’t get that anywhere else but from their home. To hear their parents read with a fluency rate and how they read with expression, it’s so, so important. They model what their parents do. If they come in with that, they’re going to have a huge gain.


If you ask me my teaching philosophy, it’s that all children can succeed. What I do in my classroom from day one is to set up the classroom as a welcoming and safe environment. It’s a safe place where they can take chances on their learning. They do have a voice. I respect them and their thoughts and strengths and weaknesses.


It takes a community to teach our students. It’s not just one teacher. Community is key. The community is what we need to help us in the classroom.

Students want to know that you care about teaching and you care about them. You have to take an interest in them as individuals. When you care, they remember you and more importantly, the lessons they learned.

Teachers know that they have to be well organized and prepared for class and maintain control in the classroom. Teachers need to seek feedback from the students to ensure that they are engaged and understanding.

Teachers need to know the material before teaching it. Teachers should be approachable and respect the students.

What time do you get up in the morning to get ready for school?

‎5:30 a.m. is the typical time for me! 😦 The plus side is that there is no traffic!

Strategy for Spelling

  • Look
  • Say
  • Cover
  • Write
  • Check

Great quote from Star Trek

The needs of many outweigh the needs of a few. -Spock

A lot of wisdom to this thought!!




We all need to be constantly sharpened. This parable may encourage you to know that you are a special person, with unique God-given talents and abilities. Only you can fulfill the purpose which you were born to accomplish. Never allow yourself to get discouraged and think that your life is insignificant and cannot be changed and, like the pencil, always remember that the most important part of who you are, is what’s inside of you and then allow yourself to be guided by the hand of God!!!

In case you want all the quotes in one place!

Teaching quotes:


  • “Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers.”  -Josef Albers
  • “Education costs money.  But then so does ignorance.”  -Sir Claus Moser
  • “Coming together is a beginning.  Keeping together is a process.  Working together is a success.”  -Henry Ford
  • “Every truth has four corners:  as a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other three.”  -Confucius
  • “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and follower.”  -Steve Jobs
  • “It is not what is poured into a student that counts but what is planted.”  -Linda Conway
  • “Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.”  -William Butler Yeats
  • “We learn by example and by direct experience because there are real limits to the adequacy of verbal instruction.”  -Malcolm Gladwell
  • “Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theatre.”  -Gail Goldwin
  • “No one but us ourselves-no one can and no one way.  We ourselves must walk the path, teachers merely show the way.”  -Nancy Wilson Ross
  • “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”  -Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “Tell me and I forget.  Teach me and I remember.  Involve me and I learn.”  -Benjamin Franklin
  • “I challenge you to make your life like a masterpiece.  I challenge you to join the ranks of those people who live what they teach, who walk their talk.”  -Anthony Robbins
  • “The secret of teaching is to appear to have known all your life what you learned this afternoon.”  -Anonymous
  • “By learning you will teach, by teaching you will learn.”  -Latin Proverb
  • “There are two kinds of people; those who do the work and those who take the credit.  Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there.”  -Indira Gandhi
  • “Every time you wake up and ask yourself, “What good things am I going to do today?,” remember that when the sun goes down at sunset, it takes a part of your life with it.”  -Indian proverb
  • “Education would be much more effective if its purpose was to ensure that by the time they leave school every boy and girl should know how much they do not know and be imbued with a lifelong desire to know it.”  -William Haley
  • “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”  -Albert Einstein
  • “The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called “truth.”  -Dan Rather
  • “In teaching you cannot see the fruit of a day’s work.  It is invisible and remains so, maybe for twenty years.”  -Jacques Barzun
  • “Teaching creates all other professions.”  -Author unknown
  • “If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn’t want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher’s job.”  -Donald D. Quinn
  • “Modern cynics and skeptics…see no harm in paying those to whom they entrust the minds of their children a smaller wage than is paid to those to whom they entrust the care of their plumbing.”  -John F. Kennedy
  • “A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron.”  -Horace Mann
  • “If you have knowledge, let others light their candles at it.”  -Margaret Fuller
  • “A good teacher is a master of simplification and an enemy of simplism.”  -Louis A. Berman
  • “A teacher’s purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image.”  -Author unknown
  • “We expect teachers to handle teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, and the failings of the family, then we expect them to educate our children.”  -John Sculley
  • “A teacher’s job is to take a bunch of live wires and see that they are well-grounded.”  -D. Martin

32 Tips for ELLs: Help your English language learners gain ground from the first day

By: Jeri S. Cipriano


2 Tips for Before the School Begins:
-Do your homework.
Learn what you can about your new ELL students, now. Can they read and write in their home language? Have they attended school consistently? Students who are literate in their home language can more easily transfer concepts and vocabulary.

-Prepare a guidebook.
Make a map of your school and a handy list of school-related words in English and the other languages. Examples: teacher, principal, student, classroom, gym, office, bathroom, cafeteria, library, hall, blackboard, desk, chair. This will be incredibly helpful to your new students.

3 Ideas for the First Day:
-Say “Hi” in their language.
Greet your new ELL students by calling them by name and perhaps, saying hello in their native language. Understand that newcomers will go through a “quiet time,” when they first arrive. Be patient. They are actively absorbing their new culture by watching and listening.

-Offer bilingual buddies.
Prepare a seating chart to help newcomers learn the names of classmates, who are seated nearby. If you can, ask  a student who is bilingual to be a “host friend” or “bilingual buddy” for each newcomer. Have hosts walk newcomers around the school to make connections to the real people and places listed in their guidebooks.

-Use sentence frames.
Prepare sentence frames for phrases students will need. Use gestures and concrete examples to demonstrate what each means. Examples: Can I please _____? I need help with _____. Where is the _____?

4 Ways to Build Vocabulary: 
-Label your classroom.
Label classroom objects with sticky notes (desk, clock, flag, chair, board). Point to the words as you use them in sentences every day.

-Create dictionaries.
Show ELL students how to keep a personal dictionary in a small notebook. Students can draw a picture or write the meaning in their home language next to words they want to learn.

-Teach little words.
Focus on “little words” that connect ideas (and, but) or signal transitions (then, next). Point out root words, prefixes, and suffixes.

-Revisit known words.
English learners need repeated exposure to words before they “own” them. In teaching new words, group them with related words. For example, myself might be linked with herself.

2 Tips for Teaching Idioms:
-Don’t go word by word.
In conversation and in reading, English learners will come across idioms that can be confusing. Idioms must be learned as “units of meaning” and not translated word by word.

-Practice their use.
Have students practice the correct use of idioms they encounter. Help them to see how the meaning of a word like take can “take on” various meanings, as in: take it easy, take care, take a turn, take a chance, take control, or take-out.

3 Math Class Reminders:
-Introduce process.
English learners may have learned math by rote and view it as “calculating.” They may never have worked with manipulatives or described their process of arriving at an answer.

-Teach measurement.
Students’ native cultures may use the metric system. Teach the measurements we use by having students work with rulers, scales, and thermometers.

-Simplify word problems.
Replace or modify cultural references in math texts that are designed for “relevance.” English learners’ lack of experience or unfamiliarity with vocabulary may get in the way of knowing which mathematical operation to use.

5 Reading Lessons:
-Walk through the text.
Introduce texts by taking walk-throughs of each. Familiarize students with the parts of books, such as tables of contents and glossaries. Show how chapters are organized. Point to the headings and subheadings that tell about each section.

-Read aloud.
Read aloud portions of texts and note differences between spoken and written language (e.g., the use of passive tense in some texts). Reread the same passages multiple times. Each time, set a different purpose: word study, comprehension, pronunciation, etc.

-Use picture books.
Use easy picture books, when your aim is to pre-teach or expose students to new academic experiences. Borrow big books on relevant topics and conduct a shared reading experience.

-Prompt reading at home.
Ask for class volunteers to create audio recordings of texts for English learners to take home. Students will love the chance to do this, and build fluency!

-Discuss what’s unsaid.
Students may read the words, but still not understand all that’s left unsaid­-what authors assume we know. Developing these analysis skills takes practice. Talk with your students about what we can infer, as we read.

7 Ways to Fill Cultural Gaps:
-Compare languages.
Encourage English learners to identify the letters and sounds that are the same or different from those in their home language. For example, v and b sound almost the same in Spanish: /b/. Knowing this helps you understand why some Spanish speakers say bery in place of very. In addition, most Asian languages do not have consonant blends, so some students may add vowel sounds between consonants (belew). The more students reveal about their home language, the better able you will be to help them learn English.

-Build background.
English learners may not know much about the United States, which makes it difficult to activate prior knowledge in social studies. Try showing a video or reading aloud from a picture book about your topic, first.

-Understand differences.
Be sensitive to the fact that English learners may not have experienced expressing their own opinions and ideas in class. They may be unfamiliar with the question-answer format of discussions and more accustomed to learning by rote and reciting what they have learned.

-Use Body Language.
Have students demonstrate comprehension through movement. For example: “Clap your hands when you hear a word that…”; “Point to the correct answer.”

-Connect their culture.
Whenever possible, connect units of study to English learners’ cultures and prior experience by having them, for example, tell about animals or weather with which they are familiar.

-Involve families.
Prepare projects that encourage family involvement. For instance, create a Family Quilt at the end of a social studies unit on culture. Send home paper squares for families to work on together. They can illustrate their home cultures or family interests with words, drawings, maps, photos, or even objects.

-Strive to differentiate.
Adapt class participation and homework to match English learners’ language proficiencies. Invite them to draw, if they are not yet able to write. Encourage them to add labels by copying the correct words.

Dive In: 
The best way to  support ELLs is to immerse them in classroom life. Give newcomers duties (pet caretaker, line leader) like everyone else. Pretty soon, they’ll be going with the flow.

I find Taylor Mali’s ‘What Teachers Make’ very inspiring!

I think Maya Angelou has it all right!

Maya Angelou once said “…at our very best, we are a teacher.”