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Teachers get ready for first day

By Staff | Jul 30, 2011

Some teachers began organizing and decorating their classrooms Friday morning, along with setting lesson plans for the entire school year to get ready for the students’ first day back to school on Aug. 8.

Some of the teachers from Gulf Elementary School began organizing their classrooms Friday morning to ensure a successful first day of school for the students.

Judy Handly, fifth grade teacher, said she is looking forward to passing out her “life line” to parents – the children’s planning book. Parent involvement,she said, is very important, which is why she is going to rely heavily on the planner this year.

Last year seven parents did not have a computer at home, so they had to communicate through different outlets. Since every student will receive a planner on the first day of school, Handly said it will provide the parents with an opportunity to communicate with her by placing notes in the plastic sleeves.

“I like to solve problems right then and there,” she said, which is why she also likes to hand out her home phone number to all the parents.

The planner, she said, also will keep the students organized because they can write their assignments on the calendar and notes in the space provided.

Handly, who has been a teacher in the district for 17 years, said one of the things she enjoys most about the first day of school is telling her students a little bit about herself.

“It is a day they can ask me questions,” she said, because “they do have a right to know about me. It gives them a perspective about me.”

In addition to her students getting to know her, Handly said she also enjoys seeing the students’ eager faces on the first day of school.

“It sets the tone,” she said about the rest of the school year. “They are excited about school and excited about me.”

Cathy Rosemeyer was also in her classroom Friday morning organizing all of her things due to her recent move from a second grade classroom to a fifth grade classroom. She said she wanted to switch to fifth grade because she needed a change after teaching second for seven years.

Rosemeyer said she talked with other fifth grade teachers on Thursday to get an idea of their lesson plans and how they were setting up their classrooms to get herself ready for the first day of school.

After she finished organizing her cabinets, Rosemeyer said she was going to put things on her walls and write lesson plans.

On the first day of school she will have activities planned, so the students can get to know each other and her.

“I want to do fun activities, so we all get to know each other better,” Rosemeyer said.

A common theme among the teachers was instilling a positive attitude in their students to make sure they have a successful school year.

“Come to school with positive attitudes, be cheerful and be ready to learn,” Rosemeyer said.

She said she wants to encourage her students to go an entire year without having a negative attitude or having any doubts of them not being able to do something.

Teachers from Patriot Elementary School gathered around tables Friday morning to set lesson plans for the entire year .

Melissa Ziemer was among the third grade teachers who met with the rest of her grade level to map out the lesson plans.

“It is the highest quality of instruction we can give them,” she said about why it is important to produce lesson plans.

Since all of the teachers from the same grade level share ideas and work on the lesson plans together, they believe it provides consistency for their students.

“Everyone is on the same page,” Ziemer said.

Jennifer Tarsla, also a third grade teacher, said when everyone uses the same lesson plans, it benefits more students.

The teachers also had advice for parents to help prepare them for the first day of school.

Jessica Conley, a second grade teacher, said next week is a good time for parents to begin putting their kids back on a routine, along with talking about their teachers to build a comfort level for their kids for attending school.

“I want them to feel loved and happy on the first day of school,” second grade teacher Annette Connolly said.

Both Gulf Elementary School and Patriot Elementary School will hold their open house on Saturday, Aug. 6.

Conley said they have had their open house on a Saturday for the last two years and love it because parents seem to be much more relaxed and they spend more time looking around and asking questions. The open house, she said, also gives the parents an opportunity to fill out the paperwork needed for the first week of school.

With school starting earlier this year, students will finish their first semester before winter break, giving them the opportunity to finish exams and projects before they leave campus for two weeks. Two additional weeks are also provided for students and teachers to prepare for AP, IB, FCAT, SAT and others with an earlier school start.

“We are glad for the opportunity to start our school year earlier, but we don’t want students to fall behind right out of the gate,” Superintendent Dr. Joseph Burke said in a prepared statement. “It’s important everyone know about the Aug. 8 start date – after all, teaching and learning in Lee County starts on the first day.”