A Teacher's Guide for the New School Year
Every year teachers spend countless summer hours preparing for the next year. After scrolling through Pinterest they settle on a theme and get started on making their classroom ready for the new faces that await them. We’ve all seen the classrooms online that look like you just stepped into a page from a story book, but sometimes it can be completely overwhelming... and not to mention expensive.
I know first hand how much out of pocket money teachers spend on preparing their resources and making their classrooms look great. So here are a few simple and affordable ways to spice up the decor of your classroom, implement some classroom management, and add some fun to your instructional routines!
Hanging décor with Toobs
An easy way to tackle a large area of your classroom is to target your ceiling. School ceilings are often covered in ceiling tiles. This type of ceiling makes it very easy to hang things from. Using some fishing lines and any Toobs, you can create a suspended array of figurines. All you have to do is:
- Cut the length of fishing line that you need.
- Tie one end around the Safari figurine and the other to a thumbtack.
- Pierce the thumbtack into the ceiling tile and let your Safari figurines hang down.
Book Ends with animal figurines
Every classroom has bookshelves for holding reading materials or textbooks. So, what better way to incorporate your classroom theme than by creating some book ends from Safari figurines. The larger figurines are heavy enough to hold the weight of a row of books.
You can place an animal on either side of the row or cut a larger figurine down the middle and use one on either side. To switch it up a bit you can even spray paint or add some more details to your figurines using arts and crafts supplies like fellow guest blogger Anji did for these Dino Scenes.
Door Wreath with Toobs and Good Luck Minis
When I worked in an elementary school, it was common for teachers to decorate their doors geared toward the different holidays or seasons. As I transitioned to teaching in a middle and high school, the extent of décor was much more limited. A wreath is a simple and versatile piece of decoration that can be easily swapped out. It will make your door stand out among the others and give a glimpse of what’s inside. Here's a simple DIY wreath tutorial using a pool noodle.
- Create your wreath frame using a pool noodle.
- Wrap your noodle in any ribbon of your choice
- Using a glue gun, glue down Safari Figurines (Toob contents or Good Luck Minis work too!)
- Add a ribbon around the top so you can hang it on your classroom door!
Quiet Buddies with Toobs
Quiet buddies is a technique that I was just recently introduced to. They are usually made out of little pom poms with arts and crafts eyeballs. The idea is to pull them out and place them on the desk of students who are working quietly as directed. If there is too much noise the little critters get scared and go back to their soundproof jar. It gives the students incentive to work quietly and follow directions. In this case, instead of DIYing these little critters, you can use Safari Toob figurines that match the theme of your classroom.
Behavior Chart Clips with Toobs
Behavior charts are usually used in elementary school settings. Usually there is a color coded chart on a bulletin board. The students are familiar with the color code and know that when their clip is in the green, they are behaving great and as there clip moves to yellow or red their behavior is getting worse. You can choose Toob Figurines that match your classroom theme and hot glue them to the end of each clothes pin. Then write each students name on their designated pin. Your students will easily be able to see which pin is theirs.
Reward Jar with Good Luck Minis
The reward Jar is another way to manage classroom behavior. As opposed to a clothespin behavior chart this system rewards the class as a whole. You will need two containers. The first container will hold all of your Good Luck Minis. The second container will have designated markings on it with teacher chosen rewards.
For example: 10 extra minutes of recess, Choose the teachers outfit, Movie day (one movie at the end of the school day). Whenever the class as a whole is having a good day or behaving extraordinarily well, you can add a few Good Luck Minis to the marked jar. This will incentivize good behavior and the jars will look cute on any shelf!
Group Names with Animal Figurines
Most classroom teachers use groups for one thing or another. Whether it be reading level groups or group projects. An easy way to give a visual and tactile representation to each group is by placing a figurine for each group. For example if your classroom is ocean themed you can have the sharks, the dolphins and the crabs. This helps the kids remember which group they are in and where they will be meeting. When you aren’t doing group activities they can be displayed on a shelf or desk to add to the ambiance of the classroom.
Pointers with Toobs
Part of the elementary morning routine is to read the date on a calendar, the day of the week, the weather and season. For this activity or even as a teacher tool some teachers use a ruler as a pointer. With Safari Toob figurines you can create your own pointers for use in morning routines or during board teaching. It’s as simple as buying a wooden dowel at the dollar store craft section and hot gluing a safari figurine to the end.
Math Counters with Good Luck Minis
My favorite part about teaching math is number of different manipulatives. Recently, Safari came out with a Good Luck Mini Blind Bag. This bag would be excellent to use when teaching math. It can be used to visually display simple math problems, to depict fractions, or even create number bonds. The different ways to use these adorable figurines are endless! Click here for: 5 educational activities featuring Good Luck Minis.
Reading Chart Tracker with Toobs
Schools usually use a computer-based program to track students reading levels. In Elementary school sometimes, the teachers will display a chart up on the wall that shows each students progress. Each student can be given a Toob Figurine to track their progress. To make them individualized all you have to do is:
- Write the students name on a thin piece of ribbon.
- Tie the ribbon around the figurine.
- Hot glue the figurine to a thumbtack (to be used on a bulletin board display)
- place the thumbtacked figurines on the board and move them along the chart as they progress.