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INBOX Ideas - Previous Revision

Time to Pack Your (School) Bag!
NCTE INBOX 8-20-13

Here in the Midwest, many teachers and students are already heading back to school. That means it's time for me to start packing my school/teacher bag. There are two ways to pack that bag -- one, literally, making sure I have my class list, syllabus, reading materials, and other things. The second bag includes what I need to do, think about, plan for the upcoming semester -- it's more figurative. Here are some things I always seem to focus on as I prepare for the coming school year.

-- Lisa Storm Fink, ReadWriteThink

Classroom Management
Classroom management is an area where many of us are on the lookout for insights, so we can adjust, change, and grow with our students. The English Journal article "Lessons about Motivation and Classroom Management" provides advice and insights from interns in education.

Community Building
It's important to engage students in thinking about the process of learning and the behavioral and community needs which support a productive classroom environment, as described in the lesson plan Creating Class Rules: A Beginning to Creating Community.

Creating/Maintaining a Classroom Library
To help my students get motivated to read, I try to have timeless favorites in my classroom library as well as new titles. has two podcast series where I can get book suggestions. Several NCTE journals also review new books in every issue, and those articles are available for free to all.

Communication with Families
Communication between teachers and schools and families -- in both directions -- adds to the success of the school year. "Writing a Relationship: Home-School Journals," from Language Arts, describes three teachers' use of journals to create and maintain a two-way dialogue with families and some of the results of this communication.

Students tend to bring to school a great deal of knowledge of and enthusiasm for technology. I like to try to keep up with what's new with technology and also see how I might integrate it into the classroom. The Strategy Guide series "Teaching with Technology" provides some tips, how-to's, and examples.

Find or Become a Mentor
As a teacher being provided with a mentor is a wonderful benefit. Sometimes teachers may need to find their own mentor or find other teachers with whom they can work and learn. "'Working with my mentor is like having a second brain/hands/feet/eyes': Perceptions of Novice Teachers" describes the relationship that can form between mentors and mentees.

Staying Current with Trends in Education
By reading posts and participating in discussions on the NCTE Connected Community, I feel like I can gain easy access to the best ideas my colleagues have to share.  

What will be in your bag as you plan for the upcoming semester? 


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