[Summer Assignment] Prepare Your Welcome Back

All students should be welcomed back into the classroom. Home school classrooms as well.

While you have a little bit of time this summer, develop and finalize a welcome back. Not sure how to do this? Here are a few ideas:

  • Hold a First Day of School celebration
  • Go out and greet them when they arrive at school/homeschool
  • Be visible in hallways
  • Mark your classroom clearly with your name and room number
  • Assign hallway guides and hang directional signs
  • Hang a welcome banner in the classroom —

Harry Wong, author of The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher,  says that effective teachers (and schools) welcome students back after their summer breaks. And that everyone –teachers, parents, school administrators, principals, janitors, business people, and the community at large– need to be involved in this.

If schools do not begin with the proper, positive expectations, there may not be a Graduation Day for a student.


[Effective Teachers] 5 Concepts of Positive Expectations

Words and actions increase positive behaviors. There are five key concepts to this:

  • Name
  • Please
  • Thank You
  • Smile
  • Love

Use a student’s name when addressing him or her. Be respectful and friendly when addressing someone. And never use a person’s name in an angry or condescending manner. Correctly pronouncing someone’s name is important.

Children model their behavior on the people around them. Kindness includes using the word “please”. It shows you are well-mannered. Include the word please on assignments, worksheets and other class papers that you hand out.

When you want to express gratitude, respect, and appreciation use the words thank you. Using thank you along with a student’s name makes it easier for students to comply. Include the words thank you on assignments, worksheets and other class papers that you hand out.

No matter what a person’s language is, everyone understands what smiling conveys: peace, understanding, harmony. Smile when approaching a student even when you feel upset. You don’t need a fake smile, or show all of your teeth. Learn to express a controlled but well-timed smile.

Show that you care about your students. Listen to them. Be caring and loving. Give your students more than just simply conveying the subject areas you teach.

Take out your Teacher Control Journal:

  • Set a personal goal to include these 5 things in your teaching day. Explain how you will accomplish this goal. Identify 3 things you need to do.
  • Create a poster titled “I Want to Be a Better Teacher”. Include the 5 key concepts. Hang your poster in your classroom for your students to see! They will hold to your promise. And insha’Allah they will be inspired to change too.

Up Next, insha’Allah, Classroom Management
Previously, [Effective Teachers] Dress for Success (how-to)

Wong, Harry. The First Days of School. 2001.

[Effective Teachers] Dress for Success (how-to)

Dressing appropriately shows you are a professional. Clothing influences the way your students view you and how they behave. Be a good model for them to follow.

Your clothing will affect your respect, credibility, acceptance, authority.

  • Elementary Children Like: bright colors
  • Secondary Children Like: Soft muted colors
  • Excessive Jewelry: distracts students
  • Denim, T-shirts, Sports shoes and clothing = poor respect

Take out your Teacher Control Journal.
List 3 outfits that you should not wear while teaching.
List 3 outfits/clothing items that show you are a professional.

Choose the date when you will dress more professionally. Mark that date on your calendar. Implement it!

Up Next, insha’Allah, How to Increase Positive Student Behavior
Previously, [Effective Teachers] Implementing Positive Expectations

[Effective Teachers] Implementing Positive Expectations

Dear Effective Teachers,

Have you done the following?

  1. Prepared a positive statement of expectations for your classroom (example, “All Children Can Learn”)
  2. Created a classroom where the climate communicates positive expectations
  3. Participated in a professional development class
  4. Set a personal goal of high expectations (for yourself)

Take out your Teacher Control Journal:

  • Find a professional development classes online or offline — this applies to homeschoolers too
  • Set a personal goal
  • Think about what positive expectation you want to communicate.
  • Create a poster bearing your new expectation. Hang it up where it can be seen by all!

Up Next, insha’Allah Dressing for Success
Previously, Why Positive Expectations are Important

Wong, Harry. The First Days of School. 2001.


[Effective Teachers] Why Positive Expectations are Important

We previously discussed that one of the characteristics of an effective teacher is the belief in the student, and that the student can learn.

This is known as  Positive Expectations. And here is why it matters.

There are two kinds of expectations:

  • Positive (high)
  • Negative (low)

Two examples of Positive or High Expectations are:

  • “I believe every child can learn”
  • “I am a good teacher”

Two examples of Negative or Low Expectations are:

  • “These kids just don’t want to learn”
  • “These kids can’t behave”

Expectations and Standards Are Not The Same

  • Standards are achievement levels
  • Expectations help students reach those standards

In 1968 Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson designed and conducted a research study on the teacher expectations. The study, titled Pygmalion in the Classroom (ERIC Full Text), showed that negative expectations keep students from reaching high standards. This, is why expectations are important.

Get out your Teach the Teacher Journal (a spiral notebook).
–List 3 expectations you have that are negative
–List 3 expectations you have that are positive

Up Next inshaAllah, Positive Expectations: How to Help All Students Succeed
Previously, Characteristics of an Effective Teacher

Wong, Harry. The First Days of School. 2001.

[Effective Teachers] Characteristics of an Effective Teacher

An effective teacher has these three critical characteristics,

1. Positive Expectations
–belief in the student and that the student can learn

2. Classroom Management
–procedures and practices supporting student learning; think store manager not disciplinarian

3. Lesson Mastery
–knows how to design lessons
–knows how to evaluate for comprehension

Get out your Teach the Teacher Journal (a spiral notebook).
–Write down the expectations you have. Are they positive or negative?
–List 3 of your classroom procedures and list 3 practices
–List how you learned to write lesson plans and the methods you use to evaluate student learning

Up Next inshaAllah, Positive Expectations: Why They’re Important
Previously, I’m Done! Now What?

Wong, Harry. The First Day of School 2001.

[Effective Teacher] Teacher, I’m Done! Now What?

With students working at different paces, some get finished with their work before others do. And trouble starts. In the home-school environment, mom is working with one child while the others are getting out of control.

If we do not re-direct them to something else (hopefully educational), most of the time they will find a way to keep busy–usually with something that we don’t want.

The two most common ways a teacher reacts are

  1. we stop what we are doing and direct them to something else
  2. we get interrupted while we are busy helping another student or accomplishing some other task

Well, there is a third option . . . And that is to develop an “I’m Done” list.

(click to enlarge image)

An I’m Done list is a list of other educational activities students can do while waiting for the next lesson or for the rest of the class to catch up with him/her.

It really is worth your time to sit down and develop a list of (meaningful) activities for students when they get finished with their work but class is not dismissed yet.

This list keeps the student from interrupting you or anyone else. He simply chooses something from the list to do. When he forgets and interrupts you or someone else, simply point at the sign without saying a word! Eventually your students will remember to choose something on the list without even asking.

Teacher’s Assignment
Get out your Teach the Teacher Journal (a spiral notebook) and make an I’m Done List for your classroom. Put some thought into it. Then, type it, print it, prettyfy it, and hang it up for all eyes to see.

Sample I’m Done List
Here’s an  I’m Done List [PDF]  I put together for my students.

Take it. Use it. Modify it. Why start from scratch?

If you like my list but want to change it, use one of these:

And here is another I’m Done list Reading Rockets.org Article 306.

How To Use the I’m Done List
Explain to your students what the list is for. Demonstrate how to use it. Then role play with your students to make sure they understand.

For the next several weeks (and throughout the year), explain the I’m Done List to your students from time to time. This is called teaching procedures. I even put questions about the list on exams.

This is the second activity related to developing a set of classroom procedures.

Feel free to leave comments about what’s on your I’m Done List and how it works for you and your students.


Up Next inshaAllah, Three Characteristics of an Effective Teacher


[Effective Teachers] Effective Teachers Establish Control

Good control of the classroom is not achieved by using threats and intimidation. It means

  • that you know what you’re doing
  • that you know your classroom procedures
  • that you know your professional responsibilities
  • that you have everything ready
  • that your students know that you know

Get out a spiral notebook especially for this series. Let’s call it a Teach the Teacher Journal.

Using your journal, spend some time making a list of the things you need. Include in this list “Classroom Procedures” and an “I’m Done” list of activities. We’ll work on those together inshAllah.

Up next, Create your own I’m Done list


Wong, Harry. “There is Only One First Day of School.”  2000. Teachers.net. Gazette. 4 Dec. 2009. <http://teachers.net/gazette/AUG00/wong.html&gt;.


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