We have a heavy focus on STEM at my new school so I wanted to do a STEM bulletin board with photos to show off our projects, but after scouring Pinterest I found nothing cute! I love Chandra at Teaching with Crayons and Curls and she had the cutest bulletin board (and I'm obsessed with everything about her room!) so that inspired my new STEM board. Plus I am loving my new CRICUT and finally getting a chance to use it to cut things out for my room.
Here's a close up of the photo frames:
The photo frames are a font from TeachersPayTeachers by Kimberly Geswein called Flavor and Frames. I am so excited about how it turned out. Now to finish the rest of the room!

So you are either in one of two states of mind right now.....relaxing on the couch or beside a pool somewhere, no cares in the world OR furiously getting your room and self ready for school mode. Which one is it? Me? I am in the furious mode, getting myself and room ready.

One thing I like to prepare myself for as I am getting back into the swing of things is how I am going to communicate with my parents. So  I thought I would leave a few little tidbits here and then give you a freebie to start your year.

First and foremost, when communicating with parents we have to remember that we are the professionals. We also have to remember that all of our emails could be read at anytime, so it goes without saying you need to be careful about how and what you say in an email. Many times the tone of an email can be misconstrued, when a nice polite phone conversation could have handled the issue so much better.

If you feel like an issue might be brewing, get out in front of it first. Be the first one to call. I had a principal who told me once, "The first one to reach out gets the upper hand." You are showing that you care and want to make the situation right. Parents really just want to know that you care about their child. Parents want to stayed informed.

If you do respond to an email, be sure to keep it short and sweet. If it requires longer than a few sentences than it requires a phone call.

If there is a situation with a parent that is becoming difficult to deal with, ask for help. Ask for the parents for a conference and then ask a counselor or administrator to sit in with you. It is so important to know that you don't have to "go it alone". There are people in your building who can assist you with the parent. But also know that your administrator will want to know what steps you want taken so far with the parent, so be sure you have documented everything! In other words...have all your ducks in a row!

Have a system in place for regular communication. I personally love the new apps that teachers can use now, replacing paper newsletters. Although, I know some school do require those too. Remind is excellent. I use Class Dojo. I also will send emails out to parents, and occasionally I will send print reminders of important announcements. Parents (like us) get a ton of emails, so they many not read them all. So we do need to find the method that works best for our own classes!

I like to document my parent contact, I know at some schools this is a requirement of teachers. One thing that I find very handy is to bring my phone numbers to the phone and my phone log with me....but I hated bringing my whole teacher binder to the phone! So I had this great idea. At open house I put out a half sheet that parents fill out with their numbers (I print these on card stock), and on the back is the phone log.
Then I just hole punch them, attach them together with a ring and I hang it up beside my desk. Then it is so easy to just grab it and go to the phone. I can jot down notes about the phone call and who I spoke to.

You can grab yours to get it ready for Open House too! Oh and did I mention...it is editable! Change the information to suit your needs.
Hope you had an awesome summer:)

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Do you use Class Dojo? I really like how many new features they have added. I love the messaging (I know....parents can contact you and that can get a little out of hand sometimes!) I really loved Class Story! My parents have enjoyed seeing pictures of what we are doing during the school day. And I really try to emphasize the positive aspect of behavior and awarding points. When having to take points away from a student, I do it privately and I rarely show the whole class everyone's points. In keeping with the "positive" one of my favorite things to do is to have my class work toward whole class rewards. So before I reset points, I fill in our Dojo Meter. 
We usually decide on the reward we are working for. So before I reset points, every couple of weeks, I fill in the Dojo Meter with an Expo Marker. My class usually likes to work towards free choice time, game days, extra recess, movie day, or our favorite "device day". They love when they can bring in their devices from home!
You can get your Dojo Meter by clicking on the picture and it's a freebie! The best news is.....it is editable! If you want to change the point values you can make it a little easier for your class to earn rewards.

What are some of your favorite whole class rewards?

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