Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Welcome Kids to Your Classroom!

I got very excited as I thought about writing this post. When my kids come into my classroom they know the expectation and they also know that I am happy to see them.

Now personally I don't have the sign in my classroom that says "Today became great when you arrived!" (See this post) about why. However, my kids know I love my job, and it is evident when they see me at the beginning of every class. 

The trick? 


EVERY DAY in my classroom I play music as the kids walk in. 

I play the same song all day on repeat in the five minutes between classes. I dance to it, sing to it, kids in the hallway will poke their heads in my class to hear what it is I'm jamming to. My first year I just picked whatever song tickled my fancy for that particular day-- I found a repeated the same artist/style of music a lot. 

The past two years I have used theme days to be sure to mix it up for my kids and they actually look forward to it! 

Movie Music Monday 
(Songs from TV or Movie Soundtracks)
Taylor Swift Tuesday 
(Because she's my favorite-- replaced once this year for 
Shirley Temple Tuesday to honor a legend)
One Direction Wednesday/ 
Walt Disney Wednesday 
(I enjoy 1D but I get a little tired of them and my kids are 
happy to change it up and listen to Disney for a day)
Thursday: Throwback Thursday
(A song from "back in the day")
Friday: Free Pick Friday
(This day I don't stick with a theme and play whatever I want)

That sets the initial tone of my classroom-- if my kids walk in and there is no music they will usually tell me that the classroom feels weird. Honestly, I feel weird without the music too-- I love to sing and dance to it as the kids come in because music just makes me happy! 

Here's a picture from my instagram that my students commented on. I even had a boy tell me he missed it!

Note: This is only for welcome music. The rest of the day in class we listen to instrumentals. I will play Baroque Classical if I need them to focus or the Piano Guys if they can be a little bit more conversational.

Pick up Table:
A lot of people say to put it at the front for kids to pick up as soon as they walk in-- I'm not a fan of this. Middle schoolers tend to bottle neck and want to socialize excessively especially as they pause to do something. I prefer my kids being all the way in my classroom. Once you train them, they have it down. 
My pick up table/turn in tray is on the farthest end of my classroom and it is beautiful. 

Walk in Screen:

My walk in screen is VERY informative. I tell the kids the music theme, what they need to turn in, the number of papers they need to pick up, their Warm Up, where we are in their ISN, and when their next Quiz/Test/Major Grade is, as well as what it entails. 

My students have no excuse for not knowing what is going on in my classroom. 
I also have a Weekly Snapshot posted in the back of my classroom.

 This is updated every week. I am very transparent with my students about what is coming so they can better prepare for it. Also, when the parents come on parents' night they can see that my classroom has reminders ALL OVER for their kids. 

You control the environment of your classroom! Make it happy! Make it joyful! Make it a place that YOU want to be every day! 

Happy Teaching!


  1. I stumbled on your blog a few weeks ago and I cannot tell you how informative it is!! I just got a job as an 8th grade US History teacher in Houston and I would be lying if I said I wouldn't be borrowing a few of your ideas! Like this music themes! I love this!! I taught 10th and 11th grade last year and they were a little too "cool" for the themed days I had planned. But I feel like middle school is gonna be a different ball game! :)

    Thanks for sharing all your wisdom....OH and I LOVE the fact that you post tutorials for your students on youtube! Such a good idea!

    1. Ah!! congratulations on your job! Music themes are a great way to add culture to your classroom! Lol if I taught high school they would think I was lame but if I didn't have Taylor Swift Tuesday I'd have Taylor Swift Everyday. So Taylor Swift Tuesday for many is preferable lol. Let me know if you have any questions about anything I post! appreciate your comment!!!

  2. I love how your "real life" personality blends into and is totally a part of your "teacher life". Your excitment for life (and teaching) is huge part of who you are. I'm glad that you share that will your kids. Teachers don't have to be Cruella de Vil to have classroom managment and excell!!
    Teach on sister :o)
    Jackson In The Middle

    1. bahaha-- I will say this, I've never had trouble "being myself" in any given situation. I've always been a bit of a "special snowflake" in life :-) God created me to be a teacher though of that much I am sure.

  3. One more thing... can you share a little bit about your warm-up packet? I have them write warm-ups down in their ISN, but that takes some time and interrupts the flow of class. Do you have a weekly, 6 week, or year packet?
    Jackson In The Middle