New Year, Fresh Start

As teachers, our “NEW YEAR” really starts late summer as we meet our new students and establish our classroom routines.  By this point in the year, we’ve made it to winter break and are still in denial that we have to return back to our classrooms in about a week or so.  You see, by this point in the year, those classroom management ideas that we tried to implement back in the fall have slowly faded away amidst the never ending day to day tasks of running our classroom.  But, it’s not too late to start fresh! 

1. A Daily Bell Ringer

This is my number one.  If you don’t already have a daily bell ringer or warm-up assignment for students to complete once they enter your class, it’s a MUST.  Seriously, the first 3 minutes of your class will be transformed!  When students come in knowing they have something immediately to do, it helps them to get into the correct mindset for learning and makes it easier for you to handle basic housekeeping tasks such as taking role (which I’ll admit is not my strongest suit.)

Click here to download my FREE Template for your daily warm-up!

Bell Ringer Template

2. 30 Second Clean Up

If your classroom is anything like mine, you and your students are busy the entire time.  Last year, I started the 30 second clean up which revolutionized the last minute of my classes.  During the 30 second clean up, students put up borrowed supplies (colors, scissors, or glue), pick up any trash around their area, and put their journals and other supplies for my class away in their backpacks.  To make it fun, I typically put a countdown timer on the board, and turn on a little music. At the end of the 30 seconds, students must be seated in their desk to wait for class dismissal (which I discuss below).  Providing my students with a little bit of time at the end of the class period to organize and decompress has truly helped them keep up with their things (no more lost assignments left on desks) and provided me with a few moments to wrap up.  In addition, it leaves my classroom nice and tidy for the next class.  Who knew I could truly revolutionize my classroom with just 30 seconds?

3. Remain Seated Until Dismissed

Number three is an easy one, and I’m sure you are already implementing it, but just in case let me remind you of the huge difference it makes if students remain seated until YOU dismiss them.  I’m a huge stickler on this one, and my students know it!  If everyone is not seated when the bell rings, then we wait until everyone takes a seat before I dismiss the class.  Since students know my expectation, they are all usually very responsible about being in their seats when the bell rings so there is rarely any waiting post bell.  This simple procedure allows me to deliver any last minute instructions or information to my students and provides a nice ending to the class period. 

It’s not too late to make a few EASY but TRANSFORMING changes in your classroom this spring.   

So, teacher friends, let’s do this!


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4 thoughts on “New Year, Fresh Start

  1. Mrs. Sadler says:

    These are all great strategies! I decided to do a digital warm up this year, and it didn’t work well for me. I have gotten out of the habit of doing a warm-up and it has made a big difference in my classroom… and not in a good way. Thanks for these reminders.


    • mrsvbiology says:

      Hi Jen!
      Yes, students receive a grade for their warm-ups. However, I do not make this more work for myself. Instead, students expect a pop warm-up quiz at some point during the grading period. I make a quiz of 5-10 questions framed such as “On January 2, what was the answer to question number 2”? If students have been diligent in keeping up with their warm-ups then this is an easy grade as they are allowed to use their journals on the quiz. This method has worked for me in keeping students accountable. Thanks for your question! Hope you have a great start to 2020!


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