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August 13, 2021

New School Year? Let's Do It! 5 Lessons for K-5 from Sarah Dahlman

Check out these five, engaging video lessons for K-5 from Sarah Dahlman to help you prepare for the start of a new school year.

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By Megan Ortmeyer

Back-to-School Lessons from Sarah Dahlman

It’s that time of year again, when you start pulling out your carefully (or maybe a bit chaotically) packed boxes of classroom decorations, whiteboard markers, craft supplies, books and document organizers. And the time when you start planning for those first few days of school with a new group of students. That’s right, it’s back-to-school prep time!

It’s no secret among my colleagues that I am quite the fan of Share My Lesson member and elementary teacher Sarah Dahlman. She creates fun, engaging video lessons for every occasion with her dog, Lucy, and other dog friends. Whether you are teaching about thermal energy, what it means to be a good citizen or fractions, Dahlman has you covered. So it’s really no surprise that when it comes to preparing for the new school year, she has your back there as well. If you are an elementary teacher, then check out these five lessons (plus a few bonuses) to get started on the right foot.

Tips for Success: Beginning the School Year

Dahlman makes sure her students are prepared for success by providing them with tips for the beginning of the school year. She teaches students that being on time, learning their schedules, raising their hands if they have a question, staying organized, following directions right away, and learning the classroom rules can make a big difference in helping them have an enjoyable school year with lots of fun and learning.

Classroom Rules

One of Dahlman’s tips to students is to learn the classroom rules, and she doesn’t leave you or them hanging. It is practically doctrine that the first day of school should involve covering and establishing rules for the classroom, but finding unique and captivating ways to go over these rules can be difficult. Dahlman rises to this challenge, and with her video lesson she makes sure going over classroom rules isn’t just a tedious task to check off the list. Students will learn that it’s important to listen when others are talking, to follow directions, to work hard and not disturb others, and to work and play safely. Following the video, you can use the attached worksheet to help continue the conversation about classroom rules.

Bonus: Dahlman doesn’t stop there with the lessons on following rules. If you enjoyed her lesson on classroom rules, then check out her lessons on lunchroom rules and recess rules.

Organize Your Space

Staying organized is another important tip that Dahlman shares. We all remember a student (and perhaps at one time we were that student) who always seemed to have school supplies scattered around their desk, stuff falling out of their cubby, and were distressed from being unable to find an assignment amid the chaos. Staying organized can be difficult for anyone, but it is important to teach children the value of keeping their spaces at school and at home organized. Dahlman takes her students all the way to outer space with this creative video to teach students how to stay organized.

Bonus: Take your students back to outer space and teach them about kindness, friendship and the importance of working together with this video lesson.

Student Goal Setting

Teaching students how to set and achieve goals is critical in preparing them for life, and what better way to start the school year than to have your students set a goal or two—perhaps their goal will be to stay organized! In this video lesson, Lucy takes on the role of a life coach and guides her dog friend, Lottie, on how to set challenging but realistic goals. Teach your students these tips, and then have them fill out the attached goal-setting worksheet.

Stress Relief for Students

School can be stressful; and with the added layer of the pandemic, students may be experiencing even more stress now than normal. Dahlman notes that “too much stress can lead to problems such as low energy, headaches [and an] upset tummy!” Providing students with the tools to manage stress can go a long way in helping not only their mental health but their physical health as well. So start off the school year by sharing these stress-relief tips with your students.

With these back-to-school videos from Dahlman, your school year is sure to be off to a great start. And if you loved these video lessons as much as I did, be sure to check out the rest of her lessons on Share My Lesson here.

Looking for more resources to help you prepare for the new school year? Explore Share My Lesson’s specially curated collection of back-to-school lesson plans, activities and professional development resources here.

There's a new school year coming up! Consider this resource for your back to school planning.

Megan Ortmeyer is an SML Team Member and has worked in the AFT Educational Issues Department since fall 2018. She received her M.A. in education policy studies in May 2020 from the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at the George Washington University.

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