Looking Ahead To A New School Year Blog Hop

Can you believe another year is over and done??!?! Time seems to fly by so quickly!! Although I still have 3 more weeks of school, I know that many (most) of you are already done! I'm so happy to be linking up on this Secondary ELA Blog Hop hosted by The Literary Maven!

Looking over my disorganized desk and around my cluttered classroom I have already started thinking of next year and all the things I would like to do a little differently.  Clearly... I need to get more organized... the piles of papers and projects is looking a little chaotic.  But... I say this every year and nothing changes.

Here's what did work really well for me this year (clearly, not being organized)...

Teaching Tip
I made a point of really trying to connect with some of my most challenging students.  I have a 9th grade ELA class this year... and I have 27 boys and 3 girls! You can only imagine the smell in the afternoon when the boys have PE before my class. I don't know what's worse - the smell of sweaty 15 year old boys or the smell of AXE deodorant spray?!?  

In the first few days of class it quickly became clear who the trouble-makers where going to be - first by their behaviour and second by the pitied looks I got from colleagues as they looked over my class list.  
Determined not to let four students ruin it for everyone, I decided to devote extra time to connecting with them.  I made a point to chat with them EVERY class even if it was for just a few minutes. I had to consciously think of it... every class.  I asked them about their hobbies and interests at first and then started to delve deeper into their home lives.  I was amazed at how quickly I got them on my side... and how much they were willing to share.  Although they certainly weren't "perfectly behaved" during the year... I managed to win them over.  They read the novel, they share with the class, they do their homework, they make us laugh, they say hello to me in the halls...and for the most part, only frustrated me a few times.  Once I had those four "trouble makers" on my side... I knew I'd get everyone else.  So despite my initial dread at seeing my class list, I am going to be sad to say goodbye in a few weeks.


Must Have Product
Now before you all start thinking I only focus on the "trouble makers" I do spend time getting to know all my students at the start of the year!  I like to invest time in building community and building connections between my students and with me.   So I build it into the lessons for the first few weeks.   I've included 12 different activities to use at the start of the year in my Back to School Bundle  My students love completing some of these activities!

Still reading??? Click HERE to grab a FREE Back to School Student Survey - lots of fun questions to get to know your students!

Be sure to check out the other amazing bloggers I've teamed up with for this blog hop! Check out the links below for more awesome tips and ideas!


  1. I LOVE YOUR NEW BLOG HEADER! I love "Little Addie" Great post.

  2. so gracious to provide a freebie and love your tips. Thanks so much Addie!

  3. I can answer your question: Axe. Hands down. Why do jr high boys think it smells good anyway? Thank goodness they figure it our before high school ;)

    Excellent tips for getting to know students. Relationships are such an important part of what we do.

  4. I had a wildly imbalanced boy to girl ratio in one of my classes also. I always wonder how that happens. Taking the time to talk to those "problem" students definitely makes the difference.

    Brynn Allison
    The Literary Maven

  5. I so agree about building those relationships! I pretty much spend the entire first week trying to get a good start on them. :)

    Mrs. Spangler in the Middle

  6. Another thing I do to build relationships is to go to some of those wilder students FIRST when I "need" their opinion on an idea or need a favor (a runner, etc.). When they think they're helping, it builds a sense of mutual respect!

  7. I love your new blog header and I love the Back to School Bundle. I agree that making connections with students is what counts more than any fancy classroom management program with rewards, points etc. 3 more weeks left for me!

  8. Your back to school bundle looks great, and Little Addie is adorable!

  9. Taking time to get to know and understand students is such an invaluable way to change our perspective of them -- and their perspective of us! Thank you for this important reminder!

    Literary Sherri

  10. Great advice, and thanks for the freebie!

  11. As I sit here at my desk, I can totally smell ninth grade boy.....eeewwww. I adore freshmen, and I always try to connect with my more challenging students. Sometimes it works and they lean on you for all four years, and sometimes they distance themselves more. But for those ones that really take to it, that is the stuff teaching is made of!


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