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Welcome Back! Tips and Tricks to Get Students Ready to Learn

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

lesson planners at HOD

Summer break often feels too short and before you know it the new school year is rapidly approaching. It is time to put away the beach towels and organize new school supplies. Even though teachers and parents know the drill when preparing for school to begin there are always new strategies and old reminders about how to prepare students for a successful, enjoyable learning environment. 

There are many ways to get kids, parents, and teachers ready. From notebook calendars to doodle pads and from colorful markers to construction paper, teachers and parents can set the stage for a productive year. In addition to these handy tools, it is also beneficial to include a few strategic methods that can inspire learning.  

Tips and Tricks for Parents 

Navigating the academic lives of children is like one endless checklist. New school shoes. Check. Number two pencils check. Cool backpack. Check. And the list goes on. While ensuring your kids are well-supplied as they walk through the school doors on the first day it is important for other preparations as well.  

Learning doesn’t just occur in the classroom with the teacher. As parents, you are their first teachers and should always create an atmosphere conducive to learning. A consistent time and place to read is a great starting point. Reading is not just for the language arts portion of the school day. Proficiency in reading lends itself to success in all subjects- even math and science. Lead by example so your children witness the value and enjoyment of reading at home. Schedule trips to the library and allow them to check out books about their interests. Allow for quiet time that includes reading together as a family.  

Once school begins for the new term, ensure a strong relationship with the school by introducing yourself and establishing communication with teachers, secretaries, and principals. Your children will feel supported, and the school will realize that you are involved and approachable regarding your students’ experience both academically and socially.  

This communication also extends to what is discussed with your children. Show them your enthusiasm for the things in which they are interested. It might be difficult to listen to the intricacies of Minecraft or the dreaminess of Harry Styles, but if it is important to them, then you need to emphasize that it is important to you.  

As the school days progress ask your kids what they are learning and have them explain the concepts to you (even if you know how to add fractions). This will not only reinforce what they worked on during the day but will also give you a chance to do a quick check of their comprehension. Lessons can move at a rapid pace, so it is often easy for children to feel overwhelmed with understanding what they are supposed to be learning and how to stay organized. Establishing check-ins early in the school year helps parents ensure their kids stay on track and reassures kids that they are supported.  

Tips and Tricks for Teachers    

While parents and students are making their own preparations for the new school year, teachers are equally as busy as the first day approaches. Arranging their desk pads, calendars, and lesson planners is a great first step, but a classroom is so much more. Teachers are about to steer a ship with some often distracted, unruly passengers. It is important to establish the atmosphere and expectations of the classroom early so the year is smooth sailing.  

Developing kind, productive relationships with students might seem like an obvious part of starting the year off right, but its value cannot be emphasized enough. Students require acknowledgment, validation, and constructive praise and criticism. Students are often with teachers more during the day than their parents, so teachers’ impact is powerful.  

Once the tone of the room is established and clear goals are communicated the teaching, learning, and fun can begin. Attention spans can vary especially depending on the children’s ages and grade level, so small breaks are valuable in clearing cobwebs and staying focused. Transition with something physical like standing up and stretching. Simple yoga poses can be fun for kids because they often have names that can pique their curiosity like “tree pose” or “mountain pose.”  

Kids live their lives with the grown-ups telling them what to do- what to eat, what to watch, what to wear. But they also need some autonomy to learn critical thinking and problem-solving. Teachers can build on these concepts by allowing students options and ownership. Rather than one homework assignment, create several of equal complexity and let students choose which one they want to complete. Or let democracy determine some learning goals and have students vote on homework assignments, books to read, and projects to create.  

Many of us have heard that children are blank canvasses. We can equate them to this description but should also add that they are curious, imaginative, energetic, fun, intelligent canvasses who need the time and support of those adults within their sphere of learning, growing, and thriving.  

Gather resources for a successful school year. You supply the expertise and guidance, and we will supply the tools like doodle pads, academic planners, and calendars that promote and inspire learning for every child.