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Teaching Tips from the Trenches

As I enter my 5th year teaching, I am always so thankful for the previous experiences I have had. Each year gets easier, my classroom management gets better, planning takes less time, and I get a little more organized.

While I am no where near "master teacher" with tons of experience, I have grown a lot since my first year teaching and I wanted to help new teachers in any way I could.

I thought I would create a "linky party" so that any teacher (no matter your teaching experience) can link up and share some "Teaching Tips from the Trenches"!

Think through every procedure WAY before kids enter your room that first day of class. I remember my first year teaching one of my three principals asked me how I would have my students enter the classroom. How would they come in? Where would they go once they were in? 

Each year I have done things a bit differently, but the number one thing for sure is that you have to have a game plan. 

Last year, I had "room positions" that we practiced at the beginning of the year. I found these posters for FREE here. I printed them on colored paper and tweaked a few of them to fit my needs with a sharpie.
They say "board spots", which are assigned numbered spots in front of my board, "circle spots" (not assigned, but I usually have students move to the same color they sit on for board spots so it limits their choices), "reading corner", "scatter spots", "partner spots", and this year I need to add one for "longways sets". Click here to read and see more pictures of my "room positions".

After these are learned, I can have my students enter with specific instruction of "go to your circle spot", etc.

Up until this year I did not have music playing when my kids entered, because I thought they would just go crazy. I tried it with kindergarten this past year and gave an instruction to "hop like a bunny", "gallop like a horse" etc. into the room and follow my circle on the floor round and around until the music stopped. When the music stopped they had to sit on the spot they landed on. It was quick, easy, joyful, and it set the tone for having a fun day in music. I only saw them once a month, so it was very easy to select a brand new song and action for them to enter to each time and tie it into the songs we would be doing that day. I am hoping to continue this tradition with Kindergarten this coming year who I will now be seeing 3 times a week since we now have full day Kindergarten in my building as well as with first grade, since that is what they have come to know and expect from last year.

Getting back to planning out procedures- here are some things you need to set an expectation for and practice with students that first day of class:

- Entering the room
- Finding their seat (assigned? I always have assigned seats). 
- Raising hands to talk
- Getting out and putting away instruments- I have one row go at a time, they pick up their instrument in a way that will not make sound. They "make a loop and return to the group" going around the class back to their seat so that they are not cutting off those in line. If your instruments have a specific place, you need to train your students to put things back in the correct places.
- Resting position for instruments
- Bathroom, drinks, kleenexes
- Drills - we practice fire, tornado, lock down, and shelter in place (which is for chemical spills or something of that nature
- Transitioning to different formations in the room
- Lining up
- Exiting quietly

What other procedures do you go over that first day? Thinking through all of these things in advance will help you be so much more successful and confident with your students!

Are you a teacher blogger? I'd love for you to link up and share a teaching tip (or more!) from the trenches!
Here's how:
#1: Save the "Teaching Tips from the Trenches" image somewhere to your computer to put into your blog post.
#2: Blog about a teaching tip (or a few). Then link the linky party image to my blog post.
#3: Click "add your link" button on my page below, add the information, and you're done! 
#4: Make sure to check back and stop by all of the other blogs that link up to get their great ideas. It would be a lovely gesture to leave a comment on at least one blog post!


  1. This is going to be great! I will really enjoy hopping through this linky party! I have so much to learn from all of you.
    The Learning Metamorphosis

    1. I'm so glad! Thank you for letting me know! :)

  2. Thank you for hosting this! I'll be checking back frequently- I'm a first-year teacher this year adn am feeling very overwhelmed!

    1. The first year is the hardest! I wish I knew about all of the music ed blogs floating around out there my first year teaching!