Wednesday, October 8, 2014

5 Things To Know Right From the Very Start of the School Year

As a teacher, I can appreciate a parent wanting to stay on top of assignments for their child. I can not always guarantee dates, but I can give parents a heads up about the type of projects to expect in the semester/year. 
I also find it helpful as a teacher and parent when check a students agenda or planner. If it's not required for a students to write the homework down in the classroom by the teacher, then the parent should require their child to write their homework down. If a student doesn't fill in the agenda properly, assign a consequence. You can even ask your student to get a teacher signature if you don't trust your child to write down the correct answer. Just remember it will be the students' responsibility to ask the teacher. And don't forget to reward follow-through as well!

I just learned about a free texting website for teachers: Teachers can sign-up for free and parents and students can sign-up to receive texts from the teacher. I usually send out reminders on dates for tests and projects. I like that I can also upload a document with the text. Parents and students cannot text back, but find it useful for being reminded about important events in the classroom. 

Here are some other things to consider at the start of the school year.I love how Stowell Learning Center explains how to help students who get anxiety when school starts.

These three "visitors" often arrive soon after school starts.

Why? Because students want to feel successful at school and they are afraid they won't be.

This week's homework tip is's about finding out what is going to be expected during the school year. If you want to be able to help your student you must know "what's coming."

There's nothing worse than finding out the night before that the insect collection is due tomorrow (It's that one time in life when you hope to find some ants in your house!).

Take some time to find the answers to these five questions and you'll be well on your way to having a great year."
5 Things To Know Right From the Very Start of the School Year

More than any other time in the year, the beginning of school is the time when teachers lay out their expectations. This usually happens through Back to School Night or a written class syllabus or calendar. Take advantage of these to find out:
  1. When will tests typically be given and how much will they cover?
    For younger students, weekly spelling tests are normal. How many words are there usually? What about math facts test? How many questions? How often?

  2. What long-term projects will be assigned and how much time will there be to complete them?
    Some teachers are on a constant long term "track" while others may assign just a couple of projects during the year. Find out the expectations and "ground rules" now so that you can plan.

  3. How much time does the teacher expect students to spend on homework daily?
    This is a VERY important question. If your child is spending lots more time than the teacher expects, find out why. It could be that the teacher doesn't know how much is being assigned. It could be that students need a little time to adjust to the new kind of work.

    But it can also mean that there are some learning issues that ought to be dealt with.

    Just keep comparing the teacher's expectations with the reality at your house.

  4. What are the expectations for AR (Accelerated Reader)?
    How many minutes a day / week or how many books per week / month? What grade level books should be read? What if your child can't keep up? What if the books are too hard? Ask the questions NOW so that you get a clear idea of the expectations.

  5. What does the teacher expect regarding use of the computer for research and final copies of written work?
    Each teacher has his / her own expectations. Get very specific when you ask to be sure. There is nothing worse than spending the time and doing the work only to find that it won't be accepted.
Really "dig" to get the answers. DON'T wait until things are a BIG problem!

Armed with this information, you and your student should set aside time to do some long term planning. It's always best to have plans written down, even if it is a "skeleton timeline."  This will help everyone know what to expect and provides a sense of security

No comments: