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Back to School Tips and Tricks for Teachers

To kick off a new school year, the Kiddom Success Team has put together some recommendations to help you start the semester strong. These back to school tips and tricks will help you and your students engage and get ready to tackle another year!

Tip #1: Create a Getting to Know You Survey

Investing time in getting to know your students early in the school year is essential for building strong relationships that allow students to take academic risks and encourage open, honest feedback. What better way than creating a survey that invites students to express who they are, in their own words?

You can also align your survey to any of the CASEL standards for social emotional learning — we suggest the competencies that measure Self-Awareness and Relationship Skills. This will start a dialogue that welcomes students to express themselves early and often.

Create a survey using Kiddom's Google Drive integration

Using our Google Drive integration, you can create a survey in Google Docs and share it with your students in Kiddom. They’ll each receive a private, personal copy organized automatically in a Kiddom folder in your Drive. Our assignment settings make it easy to share this without it counting towards a grade to ensure that students aren’t afraid to be honest.

Add SEL standards and start a dialogue early

Using Kiddom for Teachers, you can select from the provided CASEL standards, or create your own custom SEL standards to measure SEL progress from day 1. Once students have submitted their responses, you can comment directly on the Google Doc or use Kiddom’s commenting features to start a dialogue that will last all year.

Ross Wisser

School Outreach and Research, Kiddom

Obsessed with talking to schools and districts to find out what they need. Former professional tennis coach/guru. Takes all things related to the University of Michigan and the Detroit Red Wings WAY too seriously.

Tip #2: Plan Backwards — Even for Personalized Instruction

Sometimes we see teachers experiencing burnout from all of the lesson planning in the first few weeks back, especially when it comes to personalizing for students with different learning levels. Rather than do it all at once, you can break this into two tasks to make the process far less exhausting.

First, build out the scope and sequence. It’s good to start with the overarching plan that you can come back to when you have more time to fill in the details. Using Kiddom’s Planner (always free for teachers), you can get organized early with a great view of what’s to come, even if you aren’t ready to add resources or lesson plans yet.

Next, plan multiple levels of resources into each lesson. Early in the school year, you might not know your students well enough to personalize too much yet, but at the very least you can plan ahead with this ability. so collaborators have access to varied resources that they can use to personalize for students. This way teachers can make the call on which might be best to assign for a student, which they can do so discretely and in a manner that wont embarrass students who might receive, for example, a lower-level reading resource than what their classmates receive.

Build out the scope and sequence

Typically the “scope” is a detailed expectation of what is to be taught, and the “sequence” is the order in which lessons are expected to be taught. Using Kiddom, a curriculum director can build the “scope and sequence” units out into instructional days, and then share this with teachers to fill in on their own. This way they can let their teachers know which standards or content types to use in class.

Save multiple levels of resources into each lesson

You can create an assignment in an Assignment Group. This collection will be saved in your Planner, so you can easily drag and drop your classwork for each day whenever you’re ready to assign, without creating the assignment over and over again.

Within your Assignment Group, you can make an assignment for each day and attach content from the Content Library (or your own… or both!), standards, points/rubrics, and assignment type. Use your Assignment Group to group lessons, resources, videos, assignment types — whatever works best with how you’re organized.

Nicole Plante

Support Specialist, Kiddom

Nicole Plante is a former middle and high school ELA teacher who received her B.A. in English (U.C. Berkeley), M.A. in English Education (CUNY-Brooklyn) and B.A. in Web Design & New Media (Art Academy, SF). At Kiddom, she is a Support Specialist who uses her experience and skills to support a diverse range of educators and students.

Tip #3: Assign Class Roles and Give Yourself a Break!

Clear and consistent routines and procedures can make or break classroom management systems. When I was an 8th grade teacher, I often wished I could multiply myself to get it all done. So I did!

I created a list of “class roles” for students to act on, such as homework recorder, office assistant, and tech assistant. This gave them the chance to practice taking on more responsibility while freeing me to focus on instruction.

Not only do class roles give students greater agency — if done right, they can be an orderly foundation for your class culture.

How can I implement this in my class?

  1. Think of tasks students can carry out to help the flow of the day or period. You know your class and students best, but feel free to use our resource of possible class roles and descriptions.
  2. Create an assignment for each role in Kiddom. Write out the descriptions in student-friendly language so they will be able to understand the expectations when it is their turn. This could be alternated easily throughout the year by dragging and dropping assignments from your Planner.
  3. Go over the roles and expectations as you would routines and procedures. Depending on your students, you may need to model it, review it mid-year, or have them sign up. Ask them to master it and then teach the next student for you.

That’s it! Enable your students to contribute to the class and give yourself a break.

Create a Playlist of class roles using Kiddom

Create an Assignment Group of class roles that you can drag and drop into your Timeline and assign them to different students throughout the year.

Tip #4: Engage Students by Letting Them Choose Their First Assignments

It’s no secret that when we let students choose how they want to learn, they’re often more invested and engaged in the material. Bell work, exit tickets, and other re-engagement activities are a great start, but Kiddom’s K-12 Library lets you quickly and easily find exciting and engaging materials for all subjects that you can save into Assignment Groups using your Planner.

Giving students a varied list of assignments to choose from will help them engage in learning activities. But doing so early in the school year gives the added bonus of helping you learn about your students’ preferred learning styles.

Use Assignment Groups to bundle resources

You can create an Assignment Group to bundle resources within one assignment in Kiddom. This collection will be saved for reuse in your Planner, and you can easily drag and drop your classwork for each day whenever you’re ready to assign, without creating the assignment over and over again.

Within your Assignment Group, you can make an assignment for each day and attach content from the Content Library (or your own… or both!), standards, points/rubrics, and assignment type. Use your Assignment Group to group lessons, resources, videos, assignment types — whatever works best with how you’re organized.

How to create an assignment from your Kiddom Planner

When you’re creating an assignment in your Playlist, click the Kiddom “K” logo to access our content library. With about 100,000 resources, we have exactly what you need: videos, interactives, practices, and more, for all subject areas.

Simply select your grade level, subject, and if you want, where you’d like to see the resources from or resource type. This will generate all of the content we have for your subject and grade. You can also use keywords like “American Revolution” or “Molecules” to narrow down your search. Preview the content to see if it’s the right fit and then click select to attach it to the assignment.

Shannon Doyle

School Success Manager, Kiddom

Dedicated to making the adoption of new technology easy for administrators, teachers and students. Outside work, she enjoys traveling, trying new cuisine and discovering all the unique culture opportunities in NYC.

Tip #5: Don’t Reinvent the Wheel — Collaborate to Share and Refine Your Best Lesson Plans

If you already have a lesson plan you used last year, or you have colleagues teaching the same subject, why not share your lesson plans with them to give them a head start?

This could be especially helpful for first-year teachers, or colleagues who are new to teaching your subject. But it could also help you refine your own practice, as you pick up tips and suggestions from others teaching from the same plans.

Sharing lesson plans with others helps build your teaching community and ensures the most engaging lessons come to surface, so that they can be repeated and refined, year after year.

Share your saved lessons with Kiddom Planner

Planner is where you plan out your assessments or lesson plans, so this is where all of your assignments live before you assign to students.

Using Kiddom, teachers have the option to give collaborator teachers view only or edit access, so teachers can share their most engaging lessons and lesson plans — this allows multiple teachers to save their best resources year after year.

Kiddom seamlessly connects the most critical aspects of teaching and learning on one platform.

For the first time, educators can share and manage digital curriculum, differentiate instruction, and assess student work in one place. Learners can take assessments online, see student performance data with the click of a button, and teachers have the insight and tools they need to create individual learning paths.


Ready to bring digital curriculum to your school or district?

Connect with us in a 15-minute meeting to learn more about available pre-packaged curriculum, and how the Kiddom education platform can support your learning community.

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