Crick Software blog

Gemma Dean

Resource ideas – Back to school

September 1st, 2021

Welcome to a new school year! Getting back into routines after the summer break can be a challenge, so here are some easy ideas for building relationships with new students and making a positive start to the semester.

Classroom Routines

It’s important to establish new routines quickly and clearly at the start of the new year.

You can use Clicker to help introduce and maintain routines in the classroom. Using the Our Classroom Rules Connect Set, you can discuss and agree a series of rules with your new class or remind students you’ve taught previously of your expectations. These can be reviewed and adjusted, if necessary, regularly throughout the year.

 our classroom rules

For positive classroom routines in more specific scenarios, the Good Listeners and Good Partners Clicker Boards encourage students to reflect on what they think makes a good listener or partner and apply those behaviors in classroom activities. This could be a working document and added to regularly over the first few weeks. Once they’ve been completed, they can be printed off and displayed on the wall or in students' books for an easily accessible reminder.

 Working with a partner

For classes that struggle with certain routines, whether it’s transitioning between lessons, packing up at the end of the day, or managing homework, you could use a sequencing Clicker Board. There are several of these resources pre-made on LearningGrids which can easily be adapted for different routines by changing the images. This could be particularly helpful for students who struggle to sequence and organize tasks. You could get your class involved and help to consolidate the routine by asking them to demonstrate the stage in the process for a photo to add to the sequence. One or more students can then record an explanation of the process into Voice Notes.

Managing change

To help make transitions as smooth and calm as possible you could introduce yourself to students and parents with a Clicker Book – this could even include a short video! Each page could include some information about you and what you’ll be doing in the first few weeks. Students with Clicker at home can then open this on their home computer to reinforce who you are and what is going to be happening at school.

A similar effect can be achieved without the video, using a Talk Set. You can add photos and other images to the Talk Set and make recordings introducing yourself and what they can expect.

Help students new to the school find their bearings with different resources. For younger learners a Matching Set combining photos from around the school with the sound target can help them to learn new locations. You can edit the School Connect Set to include photos from your school for them to put together into a piece of writing helping children to become familiar with different locations in school. This can serve as a great reminder of locations they may have seen on transition visits.

US school connect set 

To help students feel part of the classroom community, they need to explore and become familiar with the routines. With younger children, you can read the School Day – Read a Book and encourage your class to discuss how their day is similar or different. Students can make their own book about school by adding pictures to illustrate a range of features particular to their own school using My School – Make a Book.

 school day book

For children who struggle with change, you could use the When I Feel Worried resources to think about what they can do to help themselves feel better.

 US when my routine changes connect set

Building relationships

Starting to get to know your students is an important part of those first days and weeks of a new year. To help children get started and avoid the fear of the blank page, try out these resources.

The This Is Me Clicker Board prompts students for some basic information about themselves. They can add a photo or draw a picture of themselves using the paint tool to complete the mind map. Turn this into an ice breaker activity by changing the title to "Interview me". You can then pair children together and ask them to fill in the other student’s information. Help the class get to know each other by then displaying their mind maps on the board before a picture’s been added and ask children to guess who in the class it’s describing.

 US This is me

The My Favorite Things and My Spare Time Connect Sets help children to write about the things that interest them. They can choose from the options provided in each grid. Alternatively, they can use the structure to support their writing and add in details more specific to themselves. The information gained from My Spare Time, in particular, can be invaluable in identifying students who might need more literacy support, students who might get along well together, or students who might need more support making friends.

 US In my spare time connect set

There are also resources to help students to communicate their hopes and personal goals for the year ahead. The My Goals Connect Set offers starters, middles, and endings to create sentences about what they need to work on or improve at school. The Personal Goals Word Bank supports students to consider and write their own targets.

 US my goals connect set

Introducing new topics

No matter what topic you’re starting with this semester, be sure to check LearningGrids for pre-made resources ready for you to use.

There are resources to support learning Social Studies, Math, and Science, as well as collections on topics such as Pirates, the Olympics, and Colors. Support different styles of writing and develop students' writing skills using resources found in the English Language Arts resource family.

Clicker Boards are perfect for checking what students already know about a topic. You can create one on any topic instantly using the spider diagram template, or the K-W-L Chart helps you to assess what students already know on the topic and what they’d like to learn.

KWL chart

Clicker Books are fantastic for introducing new information. With the integrated speech support, learners can research a new topic independently or in groups, or the books can be projected to allow discussion on new vocabulary.

Guide learners in writing using new vocabulary with the writing grids, easily differentiated to suit different needs and ability levels.

forces word bank

Matching Sets ensure success and can be used as retrieval practice for previously learned vocabulary or for a flipped learning introductory task.

These examples are for a specific topic, but there are many resources that can be applied to different subjects with Clicker 8.

If you have a particular topic or lesson idea that you would like some help with, you can email me at info@cricksoft.com.

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