Meet the Teacher Tips & Ideas

Does your school host a Meet the Teacher event? I know this looks different in different places. We usually report back to school three days before the first day of school. The Meet the Teacher event is always on that third day, so it's important that I get in my room and have a plan so that I'm ready to meet my new students and their families at the end of the week.

This event is an opportunity to leave a lasting impression and meet your students (and their families). My hope is that the following tips will make this less overwhelming for you. I hope you find them useful! 


Tip 1: Don't Stress
Honestly, this event is intended to give you the opportunity to meet your students and vice versa. Don't overthink it.

Tip 2: Tidy Up
Your classroom does not need to be completely set up at this time. Get the furniture in place, organize whatever you can, and make sure things look clean. This not only creates a less hectic physical environment, but it gives a good impression, a first impression. The families will see your room and make judgements about it before they even speak to you. You want to present a cozy and inviting space, not a crazy, messy one.

Tip 3: Create some ambience
Two things you will always see/smell in my classroom are calming music playing in the background (You Tube has tons of options) and the smell of peppermint oil diffusing in the air. I don't reserve these strictly for day to day classroom use, I start using them at the Meet and Greet. People always comment on the nice smell and while they might not comment on the music, I know it helps set a relaxing tone for the day.

Tip 4: Greet Everyone
It's a good idea to greet each family that enters your room and an even better idea to engage in conversation with them. This is just good manners and obviously sets a good impression. Sometimes more than one family walks through the door at a time, or you might be in conversation with a family as a new one enters the room. Acknowledging them with a smile and a small wave before you can speak with them is a great way to let them know they aren't being ignored.

Tip 5: Protect Your Stuff
When families come to meet you, there are often times younger siblings in attendance. In my experience, these littles are often allowed to just roam the room. So, it might be a good idea to put away any items you don't want little hands getting into. Or, I've even seen some teachers set up a designated kid area with things like toys and coloring pages. 

Tip 6: Be Prepared to Collect Supplies
There are always a few kiddos who bring their supplies to the Meet the Teacher event. I personally love this because when I have to go through all of it on day one, it's overwhelming. Some schools even encourage families to bring supplies to this event. Either way, be sure to have a space set aside for this. You might even consider having labeled buckets where students can drop supplies. There is no right/wrong way to collect supplies because how those supplies are used varies from classroom to classroom, just be sure you're prepared to collect them.

Tip 7: Set Out a Meet the Teacher Letter & Forms
First, make sure you have your desks set up. If they're all shoved in a corner, that is not very inviting. 

Then, place important items on your students' desks. I set out a few forms for parents to fill out. This allows me to get some insider information from the parents' perspective before the first day of school.


I always share a Meet the Teacher Letter with my students and their families at this time. It's a quick snapshot that allows them to get to know some personal information about me. This is important. I am a person, and sometimes, people need to be reminded that teachers are people too. Psst: I left out my contact info and personal bio in this sample, just trying to keep some things a bit private over here on the Internet. Hehe.


Depending upon how this event works at your school, you might want to share a Meet the Teacher slideshow with your families, or project it on your whiteboard and let it loop through for parents to look at as they check out your room. I usually do a combo Meet the Teacher slideshow/BTS presentation with important school info because that's how my school has us do things. 


Bonus tip: I share a stand alone Meet the Teacher slideshow with my students on the first day and also print a Meet the Teacher book which I add to my classroom library. The kids love reading the book. On repeat.


Tip 8: Leave a Small Gift for Students
This is not necessary. It is something I like to do, and I keep it very simple. Along with the letter and forms noted above, I place a small gift of one or two glow stick bracelets on the desk. It's just a small something to let the kids know I'm excited they're a part of my class. You can read more about this idea by clicking HERE.


Tip 9: Share Your Wishlist 
Please only do this if it is appropriate for your school population. At my previous school, it was common for teachers to set up a small space to display a list of items they were in need of. I don't do this at my current school, but if it is something you know your population would be receptive to, go for it! My favorite way to display this was on the whiteboard. I used our die cut machine to cut out a tree trunk/branches and some apples. I wrote what I needed on the apples and attached them to the tree trunk. Parents took an apple if they wanted to purchase that item for our classroom.

I sure hope a few of these tips were helpful today. Got a few tips of your own? Leave them in the comments below!

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Birthday Bags {Updated}

Recognizing student birthdays is something I like to do. I like to give a small goodie bag of items to make the birthday kid feel special. Is this necessary? Nope. It all boils down to a matter of preference and personality types. I happen to be a gift giver so I enjoy helping my students celebrate their special day.

This isn't the first birthday bag post I've written. The last time I shared my birthday bags with you, it was 2015. Time for an update! That was 7 years ago! Now you have two posts to reference for simple ideas to recognize student birthdays in your classroom. ;)


This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience. I earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase through one of my links. For more information about my Disclosure Policy, please visit this link.

My "old" birthday bags included slightly different items and were packaged a bit differently than they are now (hence the reason I wanted to do an updated post for you). You can read all about the OG birthday bags here.

What's Included
Below is a picture and linked list of what I include. Several of these items come in large enough quantities so they can be carried over into the following year, depending upon your class size.


Birthday Book Marks  (includes 100)
Birthday Bracelets (includes 48)
Birthday Reward Tag (part of my Holiday Reward Tag set available in color and B/W)
Mechanical Pencils (I purchased these from Target, but I've linked a similar set on Amazon)

What I've opted to include in my birthday bags are simply ideas that I'm sharing with you. You, in no way, have to include all of these items in your own bags (nor should you feel like you need to), but hopefully they'll give you some inspiration. The cost can add up (and I definitely used an Amazon gift card to pay for some of these items). If you like this idea but just don't want to spend a lot, then keep reading for some easy, cost effective (and FREE) ideas you could use.

How I Package the Items
I place all the items in a small polka dot bag which I label with a Happy Birthday label. Much easier than my old bags that included tying and curling ribbon. Hehe. The set includes 100 bags, so you can get several uses out of just one set. :)

You can grab the label here for FREE! They could also be used as a sticker for the birthday student to wear. They don't necessarily have to go on a bag. :)

Note: The labels were created as a Word Document and were formatted for that program. You might want to make sure you download the file to Word prior to printing as I do not know if they will print the same from Google Drive. 

As with any labeling I do in my room, I use the 2x4 Avery labels. I love the larger size!


Prepping the Bags
I always make my birthday bags in the summer. I usually have a few left over from the previous year and I carry those over into the new school year.  I usually make around 30 bags to accommodate the addition of new students (we lose and gain students often at my school). This usually gives me about 8 extra bags so I know I won't run out before the end of the year. 

Storing Birthday Bags Throughout the Year
I store the bags in a small tub. This one is from the Target Dollar Spot (purchased a few years ago). 


Keeping Costs Down
Again, you do not need to include what I've shown. Maybe you choose one or two of those items. But here are some other ideas that will cost you next to nothing:

  • Give each student a classroom reward coupon. You could make your own, or search for some on TPT. I have an old HW pass freebie that I used to include in my birthday bags, but in recent years, my admin has asked us to shy away from assigning homework so I no longer include that. However, you can find that FREEBIE in my OG birthday bag post. :)
  • Let the student choose the read aloud for that day. I used to have a birthday box. In that box was a collection of picture books that were birthday themed. The kids loved picking a story! Moira's Birthday by Robert Munsch was hands down the most popular choice, but you could let them choose any read aloud. It wouldn't have to be birthday themed.
  • Go to TPT and search for some birthday bookmarks. Print your own instead of buying them already made. You're likely to find some free/low cost options.
  • Buy a value pack of party hats (like the sets they have in the kids' party aisle at Target) and let the student wear a fun party hat for the day.
  • Place a small object on the birthday kiddo's desk. This could be a Happy Birthday sign or some other small object like a rubber ducky (it doesn't have to be birthday themed) to signify that it's their special day. This object can be collected at the end of the day and reused throughout the year if you'd like.  
How do you recognize students' birthdays? Tell us in the comments below!

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Summer Reading Picks 2022

Summer is here! I hope you are ready for my annual list of summer reading picks! 


This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience. I earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase through one of my links. For more information about my Disclosure Policy, please visit this link.

Reading is an easy way to unwind and relax. And, after last year, I need lots of that in my life. I'm guessing you do too.

I'm going to share the books I've read this past year as well as the books I plan to read this summer. I hope you find a few to add to your summer TBR pile. :)

Before I get into it, I wanted to share that this year I got a Kindle Paperwhite for my birthday. I love it. I had the Kindle Fire before and I just did not like the screen. The Paperwhite is super mellow on the eyes, super lightweight, and barely takes up any space in my purse. 

A few tips:
  • Remember to check your local library for these titles. It's a great way to get out of the house, and save money.
  • If you own a Kindle, stock up on all the books you want to read this summer. Most of the time, the digital version is much cheaper (or free!). It's small enough to fit in your purse which makes it easy to bring your book(s) with you wherever you go.

Books I've Read (and You Should Too)

This series (Cambria Clyne Mysteries) is soooo good! I read the entire collection in 2 days when I was home sick. Easy reads, highly entertaining, and well written (and free if you have Kindle Unlimited)! 















The next few titles are from the same author, but a different series. It's also a really good series! I definitely made some connections to these books as they are set in the county where I'm from. Loved them! If she writes more, I definitely plan to read them.







So, clearly, I went through a mystery phase this past year. Haha! I also loooooved this romantic comedy series from Melanie Summers. Each one is a clean read and FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited. A new title will be released this fall and I can't hardly wait!










If the Shoe Fits was a really cute story. Definitely a great summer read!



I also read these fun books. Reader beware, there are some steamy parts here and there.

This is a fun lighthearted read. A second title will be released this fall and I will likely read it too. 


This was a really cute story; a fun meet cute story.



When I first tried to read this one, I had a hard time getting into it. I set it aside for a few months and picked it back up. It was a good read!



Currently Reading

I've only just started this one, but so far, it's off to a good start! If you like stories with royals, then this might be a good read for you. There is a second book in this series. If I enjoy this one, I'll likely read the second as well. 




My TBR (To Be Read) Pile

This one is another mystery type book and it sounds like it's going to be hilarious.


This is a leftover from last summer's TBR pile. I never got to it and couldn't bring myself to read a summer story during the school year. Haha!



I'm excited about this new release!



Another book from last summer that I never got to and had to save for this summer. LOL.



You can find all of my Summer Reading Picks in my Amazon store. This link will take you to all of the books I've shared over the past few years. Click HERE to access all the titles in one place.

You can also use these links to learn about past summer picks:
Summer Reading 2016
Summer Reading 2017
Summer Reading 2018
Summer Reading 2019
Summer Reading 2021

Do you have any recommendations to add? Share your favorite summer reads in the comments below. :)

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"Bee" a Good Friend Writing

Valentine's Day in the classroom can be lots of fun. It's a great time to focus on friendship with your students. This time of year students can always use a refresh on what it means to be a good friend.


This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience. I earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase through one of my links. For more information about my Disclosure Policy, please visit this link.
 
We read lots of books about friendship. Check out my favorites below:


Here's a linked list, which also includes a few other books not shown here.

Then, we make an anchor chart listing what makes a good friend and ways that the students are good friends. I forgot to take a pic of this - ugh! But, I think you get it. ;)

After we have sufficiently talked about friendship, the students write a paragraph telling how they are a good friend. We use this adorable writing paper and then make the fun little craft to go with it. You can make a yellow bee, or a pink bee if you want to be super festive. So cute, right?




I display the students' writing and crafts on our hallway bulletin board along with the bee craft. 




I like to place a piece of red construction paper behind each piece of writing. I display the writing in rows and then scatter the bees between their work. It makes for a super cute and festive display.


You can easily replicate this board by using my FREEBIES linked below!

Enjoy!

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Summer Reading Picks for Teachers (2021)

Summer is here! So, it's time for my annual list of summer reading picks for teachers! 

Summer Reading for Teachers

This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience. I earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase through one of my links. For more information about my Disclosure Policy, please visit this link.

Reading is an easy way to unwind and relax. And, after THE craziest, busiest school year, every teacher can use some of that!

I'm going to share the books I've read and the books I plan to read. I hope you find a few to add to your summer TBR pile. :)

A few tips:
  • Remember to check your local library for these titles. It's a great way to get out of the house, and save money.
  • If you own a Kindle, stock up on all the books you want to read this summer. Most of the time, the digital version is much cheaper. It's small enough to fit in your purse which makes it easy to bring your book(s) with you wherever you go.

Books I've Read (and You Should Too)

Look, I'm a sucker for books about royals. I just am. This is a great story of a "commoner" and a royal coming together despite the odds and difficulties. There is a sequel to this book, but I have yet to read it.


This is book one in a three part series. The next two titles are listed below. It's a cute series about a girl who falls for her British neighbor. Their story unfolds over the three part series. It's full of laughs and all three are an easy read (light, fun, and quick). My favorite kind of read. P.S. I was able to read book one for FREE on my kindle (so, I hope that's still an option).




Listen, as far as I'm concerned, you can read any book from this series anytime, so don't let the word "Christmas" throw you off. Hehe. Honestly, all these years later, I still love the Shopaholic series. Yes, Becky can be exhausting sometimes. She makes poor decisions on the regular, BUT, that is what makes these stories laugh out loud funny. If you enjoy this series, then you'll enjoy this book too.


I love this writing duo. This books was fun. The main characters have the "fun" job of looking after a famous home improvement husband/wife team. America's well loved and favorite DYI duo isn't all it's cracked up to be, and the assistants have quite the job taking care of them. Of course, there is more to the story here, but I'll let you enjoy all that when you read it.



This is a fun read! Imagine America ruled by a monarchy...what??? Well, that's the world this story is set in. It follows the lives of the royals, mostly the siblings, one of which is slated to become queen....sooner than she realizes. It shows what it's like to find love when you're a part of the monarchy (spoiler alert, it isn't easy). It's a good book. Read it.


I love this author. I have yet to read a book by her that I didn't enjoy. This book is about a woman who's sister was murdered. She flees the big city, with her niece in tow, and ends up in a small Florida beach town. BUT, the murderer is on to her, which is scary, BUT, she has law enforcement on her side. Of course, things never go according to plan.....have I built up enough suspense? 


 
MY TBR (to be read) Pile

This is the sequel to American Royals mentioned above. I did start it, but never got to finish it. I purchased it for my Kindle, which I LOVE, but am taking a break from after a full year of distance learning. My eyes need a break. Anyhoo, I am looking forward to seeing how the rest of this story unfolds.

Ok, I did start this one, but set it aside. I just wasn't ready for it, YET. It's a story about people being paired up (romantically) using science. Can science create the perfect couple? I guess that remains to be seen!

An ETSY crafter meets a hard core attorney....hmmmm....SOLD! Also, I love books about weddings (planning them, the actual event, the craziness leading up to them). I'm sure this story will have lots of fun moments and it seems like a quick and easy read. 



I usually enjoy Jennifer Weiner's books, and this one sounded intriguing, so I quickly threw it in my cart. I don't think I can summarize the summary in just a few sentences. Use the link to learn all about this one. 



This book sounds juicy. What I mean by that is, several of the characters have these picture perfect lives...but they don't seem to think so themselves. Then, one little lie comes along that changes everything. I'm intrigued. Looking forward to this one!



You can find all of my Summer Reading Picks in my Amazon store. This link will take you to all of the books I've shared over the past few years. Click HERE to access all the titles in one place.

You can also use these links to learn about past summer picks:
Summer Reading 2016
Summer Reading 2017
Summer Reading 2018
Summer Reading 2019

Do you have any recommendations to add? Share your favorite summer reads in the comments below. :)

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Summer Reading for Teachers





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