blog » July 27, 2018 by Renee

#30Seconds In-Depth: Back-to-School Tips With Kindergarten Teacher Greg Smedley-Warren by Renee

Blog School/Education
5 years ago
#30Seconds In-Depth: Back-to-School Tips With Kindergarten Teacher Greg Smedley-Warren

Back-to-school time is exciting, nerve wracking and, for some, bittersweet. The new school year often brings tons of questions along with it. 30Seconds contributor and expert kindergarten teacher, Greg Smedley-Warren, joined us to share back-to-school tips for parents and teachers! Greg has been teaching for 13 years and has experience in multiple grade levels. Thankfully for all of us, teaching kindergarten is his passion! When he is not teaching little ones how to read and count he is blogging, creating curriculum and resources for the classroom, and conducting professional development sessions to help teachers around the country make their classrooms a more fun, effective and interactive place to learn! 

Q: What is a must-have classroom tool for a successful school year?

  • My No. 1 classroom must have is a wireless doorbell. Use the doorbell as your attention getter. No clapping. No call and response. Simply ring the bell and students freeze! 
  • Another must have for the classroom are glue sponges! No more lost lids, dried-up glue sticks and clogged up glue bottles. And no more spending money on glue all year long! 
  • Want to save time on assessment and data collection? ESGI is a must have for assessing students! Easy, fast one on one assessments. Instant data. Personalized reports and letters home. 
  • This one might be a bit biased, but the TKS BOOTCAMP CURRICULUM is another must have for my class. Ninety-five percent of my students are ELL and they all leave me reading at grade level and that is due in large part to our BOOTCAMP BUNDLE

Q: What are some things you do to prepare for back to school?

  • I identify an area where I want to improve and focus on professionally over the summer. This year it was guided reading, so I hosted a book study on guided reading and am working to improving my guided-reading instruction.
  • RELAX AND RECHARGE! Get some rest. Do some self-care so you can be the best teacher possible for a new school year and a new group of students!
  • PURGE!!! Ya’ll, teachers are hoarders! Seriously. We save everything. Every year I try to purge some stuff from my classroom (and then bring more stuff back in!). It’s always so refreshing to see that pile of stuff leave the room!
  • Connect with other educators and parents! We all need to talk, share ideas, vent and collaborate, so make those connections online or in real life because we’re all in this together!!

Q: What are your favorite back-to-school read alouds?

Q: What are some must-teach procedures or routines in your class?

  • The first routine we learn is the cleanup procedure! When the cleanup song comes on, we have four minutes to clean up and be on the carpet! We learn how to do this on day one!
  • How to use the bathroom. Especially for the boys. No one wants a nasty bathroom in their home or classroom! Check out the toilet spider trick to save your sanity and your family or class from a gross bathroom! 
  • We explicitly teach how to use each of our school supplies. This takes a few weeks but makes for a much smoother year. We make an anchor chart for each supply and display those in the classroom. 
  • Another important routine is DISMISSAL! How to pack up your stuff. Where to go for dismissal. Making sure everyone knows how they go home and where to go for that dismissal. Dismissal is so hard at the beginning!

Q: How do you build relationships with students starting on day one?

  • To build relationships on day one we try to make contact with the families prior to school. For us this is meet the teacher night. This helps ease some of the fear and stress.
  • Implement morning meeting starting on day one! The morning meeting is what connects us and builds that sense of family, the sense of belonging and community. 
  • Want to build relationships with your students? Eat with them! Once a week or every day! Sit in the cafeteria and have lunch with them! This is how we bond: over food! It’s worth the sacrifice! 
  • To build relationships you must HAVE FUN!!! Laugh! Be silly! Your kids will love seeing you laugh and have fun every day!

Q: What is your number one organizational tip?

  • To be organized, LABEL EVERYTHING! Labels help me to know where things go and what I can find in every bin and basket!
  • To be organized, put things where they go immediately. I am so bad at just piling stuff up. Then stuff gets lost and I get stressed. This year I am being intentional about putting things in their spot immediately.
  • I have drawers for each day of the week. Monday morning, I put all of the materials for each day in the drawers. This makes it easy for me to find what I need each day!

Q: What advice do you have for parents and teachers as the new school year begins?

  • Teachers, ASK FOR HELP! Teaching is isolating and overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help, advice and support!
  • Find a positive in every day. Even on the worst of days you find one positive moment to hold onto. Those moments will get you through the challenging days and years!
  • Don’t compare yourself to anyone. We are all unique. Our students are all unique. Our classrooms are unique. We cannot compare ourselves to one another and succeed. DO YOU. BE YOU.
  • You cannot do it all and that is OK! Pick a few areas to focus on but don’t try to do it all. You will make yourself crazy trying to do everything. Focus on what’s best for your kids and do that!
  • Parents, talk to your child everyday about what they did at school. It’s important to have conversations to build language and nurture a love for school.

Is everyone ready for a FREE GIFT!? Tonight, everyone gets a free printable download of “10 Ways To Prepare Your Child For Kindergarten!”

Be sure to follow @kidnersmorgie, like him on Facebook, visit and read his 30Seconds tips!

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This is going to be a great chat full of tips and tricks for parents AND teachers!
MissHocutt!!! So glad to see you here! ❤️
Ann Marie Patitucci
Greg has the best tips! This is going to be great!
Toni B
I want to go back to school!

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