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The composition of your classroom can set the tone immediately. Here some essential points for putting it all together and for keeping in mind safety concerns.

Before the school year starts - setting up your classroom

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Dos and Don’ts of Classroom Decorations

By Youki Terada - Edutopia

Heavily decorated classrooms can bombard students with too much visual information, interfering with their memory and ability to focus, a new study finds. This is just the latest study to examine the relationship between classroom environment and students’ executive functions, which include skills like memory, attention, and self-regulation. While teachers have good intentions when decorating, many classrooms end up being “sensory-rich” in a way that “could hamper children’s learning gains rather than help,” according to psychologists Pedro Rodrigues and Josefa Pandeirada, who coauthored the study.

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Decluttering Your Classroom

By Heather Wolpert-Gawron - Edutopia

Thoughtful reflection will help you make decisions about what to keep and what to discard in your classroom. Research tells us that the classroom environment is vital, and recent reports show that our rooms can have too much of a good thing. Posters, for example, might make a room feel inviting or engaging, but having too many can distract students. Flexible seating honors student choice and voice, but those pillows can also take up tons of room.

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12 Fun First-Day-of-School Worksheets (Free Printables)

By We Are Teachers Staff

Looking for an awesome activity to do on your first day of school? We’ve got you covered! Check out these 12 fun and easy free printable first-day-of-school worksheets. From Classmate Bingo to a First Day of School Flip-Book, there’s something for everyone in this free bundle. Just submit your email to save and print your collection now.

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28 Activities for the First Day of School To Start the School Year Off Right

By Elizabeth Mulvahill - We Are Teachers

The first day of school can come with lots of excitement and, often, a bit of the jitters. It’s the start of a fresh academic year with new challenges and loads of learning opportunities. It’s also time to meet new people, make new friends, and learn different perspectives. These first-day-of-school activities will help you start off the year with a bang as you and your students form your community and begin your journey together.

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53 Perfect Back-to-School Books To Read Aloud on the First Day

By Elizabeth Mulvahill - We Are Teachers

The first days of back-to-school can truly set the stage for the entire school year with students. Read-aloud books are a perfect way to get to know one another, encourage class discussions, and figure out which values will define your class’s identity. Here are 53 of our favorite back-to-school books plus follow-up activities for each one.

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Building Strong Child-Adult Relationships

Every year teachers need to create new relationships with the students in their class. With some students, this is easy to do. With others it can be more challenging. Here are some suggestions:


Before the school year starts phone call

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This phone call is meant to be done before school starts and is an interaction with the PARENTS. Yes, the parents! Because, as we all know, if the parents like us, it is more likely that the child will like us. In the document provided, all the details of how to conduct a SHORT phone interview are provided. It is scripted so that if something “unusual” happens you can go on to the next point and end the call before it goes on for too long!

It may be time consuming to call every student’s family in your class, so you can also call a select few whose families may need extra reassurance about who you are. The information you will collect will be very helpful in planning your first days.



This suggestion is for those students who are of the most concern to all those in a school, especially the teacher, because of their behavioural challenges. Although we all hope that a child will “improve” over the summer, we know, realistically that this is not usually the case. And so, despite our best intentions, we worry about how things will go. 

Inviting the child and parent to school BEFORE the school year starts will allow for the time to create the all-important child-teacher-parent relationship. Taking the time to connect with the child and parent before a behaviour problem occurs and before the hecticness of the first day of school, can go a long way to creating strong relationships. The parent will have an opportunity to let the school know about any “new developments” and may help allay their fears about how things will go for their child. The teacher and child have a chance to “connect” in a more informal way, allowing both to get to know the other in calmer circumstances.

Building a relationship with a challenging student

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This practice is a bit more complex and so schools may not be able to implement it this fall, however, there may be parts of it that could be used. The primary purpose is to enhance the relationship between the teacher and the parents of these young children and to create bonds with the children as well. 

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