Do you have any New Year's resolutions for teaching in 2013? Whether it's maintaining a more positive attitude to inspiring more enthusiasm in your students, we have some tips and tricks for keeping them!

Resolution #1: To better understand the cultural differences of my students.

Tips for keeping it:

  • Children learn best when the educational experiences they receive are meaningful and relevant. So try to:
    • Make many connections to a child's home life and what happens in the family setting.
    • Identify and discuss special celebrations and neighborhood events children know about and participate in.
    • Invite parents and neighborhood leaders to be vitally involved with school happenings.
    • Collect artifacts for displays that are representative of the cultures in the class group.
    • Sing songs and play games that connect to children's cultures.
    • Display pictures of a variety of cultural groups, not only those cultures that are represented in the class.
    • If children speak other languages, learn a few key phrases in their language to use when the children arrive on the first day.

Resolution #2: To keep a more positive attitude in my classroom.

Tips for keeping it:

  • Try a few of these "emotional getaways" to lift your spirits:
    • Plan a trip to the gym. Have an invigorating workout.
    • Call a friend you haven't talked to in a while.
    • Read an uplifting book.
  • When you're in the classroom, try these tips for looking at life more positively:
    • Plan activities in the classroom that will help you get in touch with each child's emotions.
    • Talk to children about feelings. Tell them that all of us have negative feelings periodically.
    • Remember that developing positive relationships with young children is the most important element in teaching. Focus on who the children are, not what they need to know in order to achieve.

Resolution #3: To inspire more enthusiasm for learning in my students.

Tips for keeping it:

  • Add a few new toys or sets of puzzles that will challenge children.
  • Create a bulletin board and encourage children to participate in its creation.
  • Do seasonal activities. For example, in autumn, start a collection of acorns or leaves that children can collect on the playground.
  • Change a few books in the Book Corner to accompany a new thematic study or a change in the weather.
  • Introduce a new song that develops spontaneous movement activity.
  • Invite parents or visitors into the classroom to share their various areas of expertise.
  • Collaborate with another teacher to develop an activity that will be mutually beneficial to both groups of children (for example, older children reading to younger ones or a pen-pal program).

Resolution #4: To better plan transitions from one activity to the next.

Tips for keeping it:

  • Plan for transitional changes, so children can make them with little disruption or rowdiness. Here are some suggestions for making transitions:
    • Use a cueing signal to announce a transitional change.
    • Ask children to move in a specific way (tiptoe, crawl, pretend to skate, pretend to be a caterpillar, walk like a cat, twinkle like a star, or others).
    • Call children to line up by the color of their clothing.
    • Call children to Circle Time (or the next activity of the day) by the color of their eyes or hair.
    • Observe children as they clean up, and as they finish, tell them it's their turn to line up at the door (or come to Circle Time or whatever part of the day you are transitioning to).
    • Begin by tapping one child who, in turn, taps another, who taps another, until all the children have been tapped to move.
    • Ask the line leader to decide what transition to use.
    • Ask one child to name a favorite song, which becomes the tune to move by.

Resolution #5: To set up a more interesting and attractive classroom.

Tips for keeping it:

  • Place an inviting sign or poster on the classroom door to surprise the children as they walk in.
  • Change bulletin boards periodically to enhance classroom learning.
  • Display children' work (art is best) whenever possible, consider setting aside one bulletin board that will always have children's work on it.
  • Personalize the classroom as much as possible (for example, display children's birthdays on a bulletin board).
  • Provide a message board to write messages to various children during the week.
  • Set up centers that are inviting for children to want to use.
  • Mark areas of the classroom with attractive sings.
  • Provide classroom spaces that offer children privacy when they need it.
  • Provide a variety of sensory experiences for children.

 

 

For more teacher-tested techniques for successful teaching and learning, check out Preschool Classroom Management by Laverne Warner and Sharon Anne Lynch.