7 September Classroom Ideas
Though summer is always fun, my favorite time of year is September and Back to School season. These 7 September classroom ideas are sure to get your fire ignited and bring so much joy. There’s such excitement and the air is filled with the promise of the upcoming year. That joy, however, is often tempered by the seemingly endless tasks associated with getting your classroom operational. Never fear, my friends – this post is chock full of ideas to have you up and running in no time so you can enjoy those last golden days of sun.
Positive Classroom Management Ideas
Our first September Classroom Idea deals with all things positive classroom management. Any successful teacher will tell you that a fruitful year begins with effective classroom management. Whether this is your first year or you are a seasoned professional, it never hurts to have a well thought out classroom management plan before you ever see your first student. A large part of that plan includes classroom design and classroom organization. How will you set up your room so that student movement is managed? Do you want to use centers? Where will each be located and what resources will you need in each? How will the students' transition from their seats to centers? Knowing the answers to these questions ahead of time will help you to set up your room in a way that benefits your students and encourages learning. Here's an idea to implement as an entire classroom reward.
The next step in classroom management involves your classroom discipline plan. Positive behavior management starts with you. Your response to situations and your preparation for those situations will be the key factors in deciding the outcome of most events in your classroom. Some classroom management tips I have found helpful include:
- Keeping my rule list small (3 or 4), posting them, and sticking to them
- Keeping a list of phrases that I can use to praise students under the clear blotter on my standing desk. That way, I don’t keep recycling the same old, “Well done.”
- Greeting my students at the door with a smile at the start of every day
- Using proximity to manage small behaviors
- Building relationships with students from the very first moment.
Classroom behavior management starts and ends with you. Your words and actions can escalate or de-escalate most situations. However, if you follow your plan and build relationships with your students, you will find that misbehaviors in your classroom will all but disappear. And for those times when nothing you try works – remember that tomorrow is a new day, a whole new chance to begin again.
Once you have your classroom set up and your management plan ready, it’s time for the fun stuff – lessons and activities. September abounds with historical events and opportunities to begin learning the cornerstones of information that will carry your students through the rest of the year, but the planning can be overwhelming. Never fear! Below you will find a plethora of activities designed to fill the bill.
September Sight Word Games
As teachers, we know that there is no more fundamental skill than reading. Developing ways to teach students the Kindergarten sight words and first-grade sight words are some of the most challenging tasks for those in elementary education. Ease your struggles with my September Sight Word games. Part of a year-long program, this pack-up includes interactive sight word games that students absolutely love, and you will, too!
Though many students think of Labor Day as either the dreaded Monday before school starts or (yay!) the first day off of the long school year, it is actually an excellent opportunity for you to teach your students about cooperation and learning how to work together. Celebrated as Labour Day north of our border, both Canada and the US use the first Monday of September to honor the creation of labor unions and the changes those unions brought to workers. You can teach your students the history with Labor Day activities like my Labor Day foldable books. This Labor Day Flipbook provides opportunities for reading and writing while encouraging creativity through art. Add it to your Labor Day celebration by clicking here.
September 11th Activities
Though it happened before most of our school-age children today were born, we can not allow our youth to forget the events of September 11th, 2001. Sensitivity is the key to September 11th lessons, but finding teaching resources that are both factual and gentle enough for our youngest students can be a challenge. I have developed a series of classroom activities that walk that fine line; my lesson plans for social studies include a unit on September 11 Remembrance. This unit includes a variety of September 11 classroom activities, including a class presentation, vocabulary, a close reading passage with scaffolded questions, a September 11 flipbook, and more. I have also created a bulletin board on the September 11 theme. You can preview and purchase these items by clicking here.
Johnny Appleseed's Birthday
Always a favorite with students, the Johnny Appleseed legend tells of a man who wandered the Northeast, planting kindness and a trail of appleseeds as he went. An early conservationist, Johnny Appleseed activities can be an excellent way to introduce the concepts of ecology and the environment to your students. Click here to locate resources on Johnny Appleseed for kids and start planning your September 26 celebration.
Venturing away from our historical focus, September also offers opportunities to study and honor the relationships in our students’ lives. Grandparents Day, started in 1978 and celebrated on the first Sunday after Labor Day, is a great chance to teach kids about their family trees and their heritage through a host of Grandparents Day activities. Have your students complete my Grandparents Day Flipbook – after the students are finished learning, the books make lovely gifts for grandparents.
Pumpkin Project-Based Learning
As the month of September winds down, gear up for full-on Fall with project-based learning ideas about everyone’s favorite seasonal symbol – the pumpkin. Much research has been done into the benefits of project-based or pbl learning, and the results show that students who are physically engaged in the learning process are more likely to retain the information learned. Access my pumpkin project-based learning resources here. You can read more about this pumpkin project blog post here.
I hope that you are now feeling a little less stressed about the start of school. With planning and preparation, you will have smooth seas as you sail through September. Remember to follow my blog for regular teaching tips and classroom resources for you to use to continue your September success through the whole school year.