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Four Tips for Moving to Second Grade

     Congratulations! Welcome to the 2nd grade group, you are going to love it! Whether you wanted to make the switch or your admin made you switch, embrace your new grade. You can do it! Here are my top four tips for getting to know 2nd grade before your first day. 

1. Learn your standards.
     You need to find out what you are going to be teaching. Take a half hour+ and really read through your standards. You are going to be in charge of instruction for those standards this year, you might as well get an idea of what they are! Make sure you also understand what the standard is asking for. Sometimes those "standard's makers" are tricky! If you are totally lost on one, look for a parent version or even a child checklist version to help you understand. No shame in that game! You can't teach it if you don't understand it! 
     If you haven't been in a primary grade for a while...or ever, it may also be a good idea to check out first grade standards to see what your future kiddos already should know! 
 Indiana Academic Standards: {English/LA} {Math}
I'm sure there are more states that do not use Common Core... Google your state's if you aren't sure! :) 

2. Get social
     This applies to social media AND other teachers you may be working with. Let's start with social media. 
     Social Media: There are SO many amazing Facebook groups you could join to help you get to know second grade. I personally do not like to bog down my newsfeed with ONLY teacher groups though, so keep that in mind when you are searching for groups. Two of my favorite are {Lucky Second Grade Teachers} and {Spectacular Second Grade}. Angie Olson from {Lucky Little Learners} is the admin/creator of the Lucky Second Grade group. She and her fabulous team of administrators work hard to keep the group so positive! I hate getting on Facebook and seeing negitive, whiny posts from other teachers. I know everyone has a bad day, but in a group of 20,000+ people you have a lot of bad days at the same time. The people in this group are helpful and great resources of knowledge about 2nd grade. Spectacular Second Grade is hosted by Anna from {Simply Skilled in Second}. This group is also a great resource. You can use Facebook's search feature to search the groups for whaever you need info on, from guided reading to great shoes for the classroom. Both groups are just great.  

     Grade Level Team: There is a good chance you aren't the ONLY 2nd grade teacher in your school. Yes, I get in some cases you may be all on your own, which if that's the case, use social media to help you! Get to know your fellow 2nd grade teachers. Have lunch, make a meeting time. It's important to form a positive, working relationship with those who you will be working with on a daily basis. They can guide you through the curriculum or assist in setting up your room. Who knows, you may even make a best friend! I sure did when I moved to 2nd. Make a list of questions if you are a shy person. This will help get the ball rolling! Find out about your reading series or pacing guide. Ask about math  and find out what your schedule will look like. These will all help ease your mind on that first day/first week of 2nd grade. It can be overwhelming with 25+ seven and eight year olds are looking at you for answers and you have no clue what's happening. 

3. Blogs
     There are SO many great 2nd grade blogs out there that you could check out. When I first moved to 2nd grade, I would get lost for hours in these blogs. They are full of tips, tricks, advice, and freebies that are extreamly useful. Here are 3 of my favorite second grade blogs. 

-{Step into Second Grade} Amy Lemons is the QUEEN of all things 2nd. Amy has advice on room transformations, ways to get students engaged, and the products she creates are very worth the money. She is also the co-creator of the Rooted in Reading reading curriculum that is on Teachers Pay Teachers. 
-{Lucky Little Learners} Angie Olson is equally amazing. She is my go to gal for anything math, even though she has great posts about other things too. She is the creater of Toothy, which you should search on the Facebook group. It is wonderful for groups or early finishers. 
-{Sailing into Second} Aris is amazing! She is very techy and makes excellent videos for "how to" do  a lot of awesome things for your second grade classroom. 

There are TONS of other great 2nd grade blogs, use Google to help you search. Also, Pinterest is a great resource for finding blogs. 

4. Procedures
    When you walk into your classroom on that first day, no matter how long you have been teaching, you have butterflies. You are excited to meet your new kids, nervous to find out who they are, and full of wonder to know what this school year will hold. Make the first day go smooth by having a plan. I know you are thinking, "Duh Aimee, I know I need a plan." But the plan I'm talking about will affect your whole school year. Think about your day. How do you imagine your typical day going? Think about how you want your students to go through their day. These things can make or break your year. I make a list of procedures I want to work on through the first few weeks. Each year I have to add to the list because there is always something I didn't think of the year before. Here are a list of questions to help with your procedures list.

-How will your students come into the room? What will the do first, next, and finally?
-What about backpacks? Where do they go? What are the expectations for that area?
-How about a lunch count or attendance?
-Bathroom policies (They will be totally different inside and outside the classroom.)
-Behavior management?
-How will they move from place to place? What about chairs? Where do they sit when they move? ----Where are acceptable places to read in the room?
-How do we borrow and put books back in the library?
-What about desks? How should a desk look? Where do things go? (Desks are a whole new ball game when they get to 2nd grade in our school, it's a HOT MESS for a while!)
-How do we treat others? What words should we use?
-What about homework? Stickers on charts, turning it in, what kind will it be?
-Packing up for the day is usually a mess in my room. This has def been added to my list!
-What about the lunch line? Cleaning up afterward? Making a mess during? Volume levels?

Remember: Things that seem like such common sense to us, are things you still should go over. They are 7 and 8 years old. Even if they know, a reminder doesn't hurt. We always assume they know how to line up and walk in the hall. Yes, they have done it for 3 years, but that does NOT mean they know how YOU want them to walk in the hall and line up. Think about what expecations you have for your classroom and students.
Oh, and practice, practice, practice. If they don't do it the way you have modeled and explained. Remodel and re-explain. Then have them try again. and again. and again if you have to! It can be a slow process, I understand, but these practices can make or break your year. Don't ease up. They can do it, just be patient!

Don't phych yourself out. They are second graders. You are the teacher. You have been trained for this. You can do it!

Enjoy your year, and don't forget: have fun!


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