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Transitioning from Preschool to Elementary School


When children initially make the transition from a preschool to an elementary school, there are many new concepts with which they have to become familiar.  The first is the fact that they will probably have to find a way to transport their books and supplies to and from school.  Many schools offer lockers for this.  But even that is a new concept for the student and hopefully – at least at the beginning of the academic year – staff members are on hand to help teach the children how to become comfortable with these.

Second, since computers are very often used as an educational tool is schools these days, a new elementary school student will need to become familiar with how to use these.  This means that they will have to get comfortable at a computer table and learn how to navigate a mouse.

Third, children will need to get used to dealing with crowds.  Preschools in general are small, and elementary schools tend to be larger.  One way parents can help ease this transition is by keeping the channels of communication open and ensuring that their child feels comfortable discussing any issues they are having with the transition.

In fact, that is the general rule for parents facilitating the process of change for their children.  Ensure that your child feels comfortable discussing any new issues that arise at all times.


Locker Quality and Layout


Most school lockers are made out of steel.  However, there are varying levels of quality of steel around.  This makes a difference vis-à-vis their duration and how they are used.  If students feel that the lockers are hard to open and close, then this is likely to add an extra element of stress to their day.  Similarly, if lockers are placed in a location that is hard to access – such as by a stack of folding chairs or near a stairwell – then this can also increase stress levels as well as escalate inefficiency during the school day.

In terms of quality steel, if the gauge is low then the steel will likely be strong.  As well, the steel used on the door is usually stronger than the actual locker since doors are used much more than the body of the locker.

So in terms of school lockers and their accessibility and ease-of-use for students, consider first the quality of the steel (and how it is processed/finished) and also carefully think about where the lockers are placed and if they can be put in a location that is free of any type of clutter.

Starting a New School Year

TeacherVision offers ten quick guidelines for teachers for the beginning of a new school year, as well as the important messages they convey to new students:

1. Be prepared. This conveys that you are in control, and that you know what you are doing.

2. Motivate kids. School is exciting!

3. Establish routines and schedules. School is safe and predictable.

4. Establish classroom rules. I will learn self control.

5. Orient students to school/room. I am comfortable and belong here.

6. Preview the curriculum. I will learn new things.

7. Let students decide and choose. We are all in this together.

8. Include a literacy experience. Reading is wonderful!

9. Acknowledge every student. I am special!

10. Review and assign easy work. I can succeed!

Organize Your Locker



The school year has started and you already find that your locker is a mess. You can continue to ignore it and keep stuffing everything into the back, or you can get organized. Getting yourself
organized actually doesn’t take as much time or energy as you might think. Here are some easy ways to get on track and to keep your locker organized.

First, take everything out of your locker and take a look at what you have in there. Throw away papers that you don’t need, junk that has collected and other items. You might want to drag a few classroom
chairs over to your locker so that you can stack up items you want on one chair, trash on another chair and more. Get a sponge or some wet paper towels and actually clean out the bottom or your locker so that you’re starting from a fresh start.

Now, it’s time to put everything back in. Once you’ve throw away things you don’t want, start by organizing your books on the bottom of the locker. Order the books by size, by your schedule or by some other system. If you have room to put in a top shelf, use this space for plastic folders, loose sheets of paper, a purse or gym bag, etc. Get a container or two either from your house or from a store to hold pens, pencils, tape, scissors, a stapler and other loose items.

Finally, if you have magnetic walls, buy a magnetic white board so that you can write messages and reminders to yourself. And buy a magnetic organizer to throw loose change, pencils, paper clips and other items into. And Voila! You’re done. Next you can help a friend clean up her locker, clean up the cafeteria tables and more.


Organizational Tips for Kids with ADD


Anyone with ADD will tell you that staying organized is quite a challenge. In addition to having difficulties focusing in class, staying still in church on the church furniture and listening to directions, kids with ADD have trouble organizing their time and their space.

One area where this is certainly true is with the school locker. Here are some tips that can help you to help your child organize his school locker.

  1. Help him to get rid of anything that he doesn’t need in the locker.
  2. Help him to group together his books so that his books for morning classes are together and his books for the afternoon are together. Or, he might want to group together all textbooks, then put all notebooks together, etc.
  3. Attach a message board and your child’s class schedule to the side of the locker on the inside.
  4. If there is space for two hooks, try to install these. They are perfect for the winter coat and the gym bag.
  5. Add extra shelves if you can so that your child can put smaller items on the top shelf like keys, pencils, safety pins, staplers, etc.

Once the locker is set up and ready to go, speak to your child about a maintenance schedule. See if he can look through his locker once a week to get rid of trash and to keep up the maintenance that he started.


The Importance of Classroom Organization and Structure


Students crave structure, as do most of us. The atmosphere of learning can be greatly enhanced with just a few simple steps to get kids (and teachers) on track, and keep them there. Here are some simple ideas to incorporate into the class’s day which teachers will find helpful.

  • Begin the lesson with a warm-up question which is already written on the board when students first enter and sit down at their classroom desks. The students will immediately be directed towards thinking about the day’s subject, or will have their memories refreshed with a question about the subject of the last lesson. Don’t make the question or assignment too difficult or long; remember it is just a warm-up. This exercise helps students to focus so they won’t be spending the first few minutes of class wandering around either physically or mentally.
  • Have a clearly marked-well organized place for students to hand in their work. One idea is to have a set of stackable plastic trays set up near the door.  Each tray is for a different class period, stacked in order. Graded work can be kept in a different place, such as a hanging file, until ready to be handed out to the students.
  • Try to refrain from taking attendance by calling out the names of your students. This inevitable leads to joking around and distracts the students from the task of learning. After the first few days the teacher should know the names of the students, and be able to match the bodies to a seating chart, just ticking off those who are missing.

There are many other tips which can help improve the atmosphere of learning, including experimenting with lighting, placement of classroom furniture, and class decorations. Research has shown that a lively and varied environment surrounding students can help the creative process.