Back to School… “Training the Troops” Part 1

I have decided to head back into the bilingual elementary classroom next year. I feel like, and a lot of you probably do too, this pandemic teaching has just sucked all the fun out of teaching. I started just going through the motions and not really feeling the same passion for my classes, and that isn’t fair to myself or my students.

So, I will be in a bilingual classroom this coming school year, but still creating and sharing things for world language classrooms and in English and Spanish. I have LOTS of fun things I would love to share from my almost 10 years in middle and high school. My 16 years in bilingual classrooms before that are just calling for me to come back.

In that spirit, a lot has changed in the time I have been out of elementary. LOTS! One thing is technology and my ability to use it to make some useful tools. I figured it best to start at the beginning like I do every year with my annual week of “Training the Troops.” It is that tried and true “If you fail to plan, then plan to fail.”

So, here is a simple one! In these times when we are super vigilant of student safety, I really wanted to have a set system to know where all kids are at all times. An easy way to do this is to assign kids a number. This way, if you switch classes during the day, you don’t have to switch names out. For this, I will have a small magnetic whiteboard by or on my door (depending on what they allow). On one half of the board will be some round, Dollar Store magnets with numbers on them. For me, I only need 1-25 this year (elementary has its advantages). On the other half of the whiteboard, I will have these signs:

This one in Spanish in case you need/want to use it:

So, students will just put their numbered magnet on the board before they leave the room. This way, I will always know where students are in the school. Not that I don’t keep up with them, but if we are working in small groups or I send a kid for something, I don’t want to have to wonder where they are should a situation arise.

I will be making and sharing some more training tips over the next few weeks as I get back into the swing of the new year, so come back and check them out. I will share some things I did in secondary (middle/high school) and some things I plan to do with the littles.

Happy Teaching!


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Author: srakspanish

I have spent 25 years in education. I have taught Spanish, ELA, Social Studies, Science and ESOL in all levels of public school, and even several years at a local community college. I am the Curriculum Director and Lead Instructional Coach for a language learning organization.

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