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5 Ways to Get Your Classroom Ready for the New Year

Are you ready to start thinking about getting back into your classroom for the new year?  Okay, maybe not quite ready yet...But we know it's coming and it is hard to shut a teacher's mind off!  So let's make the transition back into class smooth, organized, and easy!

Clear out the clutter!  Get all the paperwork and clutter put away.  And put it all away in the right places.  Take a few minutes to get every. single. thing put in its place.  Trust me, you will thank me later!  And while you are at it, have the students when they start back clean out those desks!  They need to start off in a clean and organized way too!

Take a few minutes and spruce up your supply baskets.  Replace the old and worn out with new pencils and erasers.  Clean the dry erase erasers, top off the glue bottles, etc...  Clean work areas and supplies feel like a fresh start to both you and the kids!

Take a few minutes and replenish all your copies that you use the most.  Copies for our Reader's Notebooks and my Anecdotal Records Notebook is what it would be for me.  Get all those copies made and filed so you are ready to go the minute students walk in the door.  

Students and parents love positive notes!  Make it easy on yourself by getting them ready ahead of time.  Write the kids' names on the notes ahead of time so that all you have to do is grab their note and personalize it.  It also helps you keep track of who has gotten one and who you have not sent one home to yet.  So easy!

This last one is for when the students come back.  Go over your classroom rules, just like at the beginning of school.  Make sure everyone is on the same page.  These classroom rules posters are a classic and clean design so that they will fit with any classroom decor.  You can grab them free if you like by clicking here or the posters above.  There are 10 different rules for you to choose from to post in your room. 

I hope these tips help you ease back into the classroom in January and get your year off to a great start!!

Styrofoam Snowman & RTI Binders

snowman from styrofoam cups

Christmas decorations are everywhere, students are excited and teachers are feeling frazzled!  But December is such a fun month!  The teachers have completed RTI tiers II and III and have turned in their RTI graphs.  We've been very busy decorating our doors and our school is looking very festive!

snowman from styrofoam cups

With a little help from a friend we got our snowman built from styrofoam cups made.  The snowman looks amazing and the kids have loved seeing him grow from the bottom up and each detail like the eyes and nose and hat being added. The snowman pieces were made by hot gluing the cups together to make a circle.  Then cups were added on top of that ring, continuing to add rings until it was filled in.  We used 3 different sizes of cups.  It took a lot of cups!

Christmas Tree from rolled paper

Then trees were added by rolling square construction paper into a bit of a funnel shape and hot glued to the door.  The students made snowflakes from coffee filters too.  

keeping RTI data on graphs with goal lines

Now, back to RTI.  At my school, teachers keep weekly graphs of each student's RTI data.  It is so important to test to check if the interventions are working and plot that out against a goal line.  If a student's data points are keeping up with the goal line, they are on track to reach their goal by the end of the RTI tier that they are in.  Teachers turn in these graphs, two per student, to me at the end of the RTI cycle.

RTI data graphs and binders

I also like to have each student keep their own graph of their progress.  After each weekly assessment, they color in their graph and I discuss with them how they are progressing.  

RTI Data Binders and Progress Monitoring Graphs

One of the easiest ways to stay organized with RTI and all the different graphs, rubrics, parent letters, to have an RTI Data Binder.  RTI papers are too valuable to take a chance on losing or miss placing them.  

Using ESGI software in RTI

Now that RTI is completed for the first cycle, I go in and do universal screenings on the students to check if all the interventions have helped improve their overall reading skills.  I use ESGI for a lot of my screenings.  This system has made my job 100% easier to manage.  The students are entered and then I assess them 1 on 1 in the areas needed.  For kindergarten, I assess on letter identification and sounds and phonemic awareness right now.  As students gain more skills, I assess on a whole range of phonics skills.  ESGI generates reports on all this information, creates flashcards for students to take home to practice and you can even print out parent letters!  

DRA and IRI for Universal Screenings in RTI

The other piece in our universal screenings is assessing with the DRA and IRI.  These assessments truly test if the students can apply what they have learned in  RTI interventions to reading.  After all the scores have been turned in, our RTI committee will meet on each student to look at the progress shown on each graph and their new universal screening scores to determine what action needs to be taken next to help each student find success!

Be sure to head over to my other blog- Spark of Inspiration- and enter to win some holiday classroom resources!  There is a giveaway each day for the 25 days of Christmas!!

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