About Barbara Gruber and Sue Gruber...
Barbara Gruber and Sue Gruber are a mother-daughter writing team who share a passion for teaching and writing. This is not an "overnight success" story--they have been writing together for eighteen years. They are currently developing new educational products to be released by publishers this spring. They have written and sold over one hundred fifty educational products to publishers which are sold worldwide.
Barbara is a former teacher who was employed by Frank Schaffer Publications from l980 to l996. She developed and presented curriculum seminars nationwide for K-6 teachers. Barbara was involved in product development and was a freelance writer exclusively for Frank Schaffer Publications. After "retiring," she wrote a series of idea books for teachers for The Mailbox. Practice and LearnRight is the publisher of a series of best-selling word wall products. Barbara and her husband live on a farm in Healdsburg, in Sonoma County, California. She has four grown children and four grandchildren. Barbara earned her M.A. at Santa Clara University in California.
Sue Gruber is a kindergarten teacher who is sharing a teaching contract this year. Working half-time gives her more time with her 18 month old son Cooper. Sue, her husband and son live in Sonoma County, as well. Sue's first experience as a writer was helping Barbara write a science book for Frank Schaffer Publications. Sue has a degree in geology and a strong science background. They continued as a writing team and created dozens of products for Frank Schaffer Publications. Sue and Barbara wrote eight new teacher idea books soon to be released by Practice and LearnRight. Sue taught grades three, four, five and is currently team teaching kindergarten. Sue earned her M.A. at Sonoma State University in California.
Barbara and Sue are are partners in Barbara Gruber Online Courses for Teachers. They personally write each course with today's busy teachers in mind. Teachers can do coursework completely on their own, or, if they wish, interact on line with others. They can earn one, two or three semester units from University of the Pacific. Barbara and Sue present information on a practical level. It can be put into action immediately in classrooms. Barbara and Sue provide instructional strategies and management ideas without creating more work for teachers.
The internet allows Barbara & Sue to do the work they love most—work directly with teachers. They are thrilled with the response by teachers to their courses. They have a fresh, teacher-friendly approach to affordably-priced courses. Barbara Gruber & Sue Gruber have created exactly what today's teachers are looking for! You can find out about their courses at www.bgrubercourses.com
Instant Ideas for Busy Teachers...
by Barbara Gruber, M.A. & Sue Gruber, M.A. www.bgrubercourses.comSmart Starts for the Best School Year Ever
Jumpstart your school year with these ideas for a smart start! We'll show you how to make the transition from the lazy days of summer to the fall frenzy with ease! Here are our favorite, surefire ways to kick off the school year!
The Back-to-School List
Hopefully you've been sleeping late and moving slowly the last month or two! It's jarring to go from a relaxed vacation mode into the frenzy of setting up your classroom for the new school year! Here's an easy way to get into gear! Every year aren't there certain things you do to get your classroom ready? This year start a list of all those things you do during your first days back. Keep your list handy and jot down everything. Pop the list in your back-to-school file and save it to use every year. This handy list helps you jump right in and get ready for back-to-school. You can refer to the list as set up your classroom for the start of school. The list saves time and keeps you focused and organized!
Let Go of Perfectionism
This year make a vow to let some of the little stuff go! There's no way you can have a perfect classroom 100% of the time AND have a life beyond teaching. Promise yourself to focus on what really matters this school year instead of getting caught up with lots of little details. Your students will remember and respond to your enthusiasm. They won't notice or even care if the borders on your bulletin boards are not perfectly level!
Choose your level of involvement now!
Before school even starts decide which committees and extra duties you are willing to accept this year. Is there a certain position that you've held at your school for years? Are you ready to let someone else have a turn? Make these decisions now.
Don't let yourself get pressured into doing more than your fair share. You might find people begging you to continue one of your duties. Calmly state that you've enjoyed your time in the position but now it's someone else's turn to serve.
Don't feel guilty about putting your needs first! Take care of yourself!
Create five important files
The beginning of the school year is hectic! Is your box in the office overflowing with important papers that need your attention? Here's an easy way to kick off the year in a more organized manner. Grab five, empty file folders and label them:
Before school starts
First day of school
First week of school
Back to school night
Sort through your papers and pop them into their new homes! Keep these folders in a readily-accessible location---you'll reach for them often. Stash your newly created Back-to-School list in your "Before School Starts" file. Promise yourself to tackle your "Read Later" file by the end of the month!
Set up Command Central---Your Desk!
Once the school year gets rolling does your desk disappear under a heap of paperwork? Take the time now, before school starts, to get organized. Give these quick ideas a try!
Increase your work space by adding a table or small desk beside your desk. Ask the custodian to help you track down a table. Adjust the table height so it is even with your desk.
Add some pizzazz to your desk! Make it a place that truly is customized to meet your needs. Treat yourself to some colorful stacking baskets, a snazzy new pencil cup, and new pens. Tuck a spare pair of slippers under your desk. What's better on a cold, rainy day than a pair of cozy slippers?
Buy a bright cushion for your chair. You deserve to be comfortable!
Make a desk drawer survival kit. Stash these items in a covered box:
comb & brush
a few dollars
your favorite candy bar(s)
tea bags, hot chocolate mix, instant coffee
a list of important telephone numbers
Be sure to replenish the supplies in your survival kit from time to time.
Save Steps---Save Time
How many times each year do you make it all the way to the office only to realize you've forgotten to bring an important paper or item with you? Save time this year by creating a box to hold everything that needs to go to the office. Label a box "Take to the Office" and keep it near your classroom door. Throughout the day pop papers and items that need to go to the office into the box. Make it a habit to check the box every time you head out your door to the office.
File Cabinet Round Up
Is your file cabinet covered with files and papers that need to be put away? Does a mountain of paperwork grow on top of your file cabinet? Do files go sliding in every direction when you accidentally bump your file cabinet? Are you afraid someday that a small child will get buried in a giant drift of papers? Here's an easy solution! Grab a box in which reams of paper are shipped and label it "To be filed." Toss all the loose files and papers into the box and store it on top of your file cabinet. Select one day each month to be your file cabinet day. For example, on the last Thursday of each month don't allow yourself to go home until the box is empty.
Bulletin Board Basics
Bulletin boards can take forever to put up and decorate. Are you looking for a way to streamline the process? Here's our favorite way get your bulletin boards ready to go in a snap!
Cover the bulletin boards with colorful paper and add borders. Considering using fabric instead of paper on one or more bulletin boards. It works beautifully to cover bulletin boards. Keep an eye out for sales at yardage stores or use inexpensive sheets. Paper tablecloths from party supply stores also make great bulletin board backgrounds. Paper tablecloths look fantastic because they have cute borders printed around the edges.
Place bright colored signs in the middle of each bulletin board that read: "Awesome Second Grade Art Work Coming Soon", "Wonderful Writing---Coming Soon", "Coming Soon---The Birthday Graph", etc.
Let your students know that you plan to decorate the classroom with their work. Kids love seeing their work on display! What a great way for your class to build team spirit and get those bulletin boards finished!
Do you spend your evenings making folders? Does your spouse get roped into making class sets of journals while watching football games on TV?
Make your life easier! Relax and enjoy your evenings doing something that isn't school related. Enlist the help of parent volunteers. Jot a list of all of the jobs that you do that could easily be done by helpers at their homes. Make your own classified advertising sheet listing the jobs. Give the parents the list at Back-to-School Night meetings.
The key to recruiting helpers is to let them know exactly what you need and how much time it takes to complete the job. Supply samples and necessary materials. If the same person is the "Folder Maker" all year, then you only have to explain the task one time to one person. Take a look at this sample list of helper jobs from our classrooms:
Folder Maker---4 times each year make 2 class sets of folders. All of the materials and a sample will be sent home with you. It takes about 30 minutes to make 2 class sets of folders.
Journal Maker---Once a month make 30 journals. A sample and materials will be sent home with you. Journal making takes about 45 minutes each month.
Book Maker---Make assorted writing booklets for our writing centers. Every two weeks I'll send home samples and materials for the booklets. This job takes about 45 minutes every two weeks.
Name Tag Maker---Make name tags for the kids to wear on field trips. I'll send home the name tags, a marker and the class list. Please make 5 sets of name tags. This job is a one time only job that takes about 30 minutes.
In a Pinch Helper---Please let me know if you're available every now and then to help. Jobs may include cutting paper to help prepare art projects, binding books that children have written, etc.
Classroom Library Book Repair Person---Every month we'll send home any books that are in need of repair. This job lasts all year and takes about 30 minutes each month.
Parents have been so positive about our help wanted ads! So many want to be involved but can't come into the classroom to help because of jobs and/or small children at home. Once you start your list you'll think of lots of ways parents can help.
Foster independence and responsibility
Don't you find that the more you do for your students, the more they expect you to do for them? Some kids are more than content to sit back and let you knock yourself out! Don't do it! From day one, do everything you can to foster independence and responsibility in your students. Take a look at the way in which you like to run your classroom. Ask yourself what you do for students that they could do for themselves.
Make a wish list
Do you find yourself spending an incredible amount of your own money on items for your classroom? Get started on a wish list. Post your wish list at Back-to-School Night meetings. Here's a list to get you started:
used books for the classroom library
a used rocking chair
zip top baggies in assorted sizes
old games for rainy day recesses
old t-shirts for kids to wear during messy projects.
Keep a copy of your wish list in your Back-to-School Night folder so you can use it again next year! Start another wish list of educational materials you'd love to have. Staple this list inside the back cover of your plan book. If school monies become available, you'll know right away what to order thanks to your educational materials wish list.
Maximize Your Earnings, Gain New Ideas
Teaching is challenging, difficult work---maximize your compensation by investing in yourself. We think teachers should be well compensated. Take a look at your salary schedule and start earning units to move up the scale. Determine how many units you need to advance so you earn the maximum based on your length of employment. It is satisfying to know you are earning maximum compensation for your work as an educator.
We know how busy teachers are once school begins. If you're looking for courses that offer incredible flexibility while you gain new skills and ideas, consider taking them online. Online courses are designed to fit your schedule without losing valuable time commuting to and from universities. Of course, we encourage you to take a look at our 100% practical courses for teachers at www.bgrubercourses.com
Back to school time is exciting and busy! We have a new batch of children and their families to get to know! How lucky we are that each year we get fresh starts! Make this year your best one yet! We hope these tips get your year off to a great start! Here's to a wonderful school year!