Summer is coming to a close. Where does the time go?!
The details of daily life in a crowded place can make your year great or bog you down. I've rounded up a list of great tips and tricks for a smooth start for your school year.
Be prepared for Meet the Teacher. The key to success - meet them at the door and then give them something productive to do. Mary from Teaching with a Mountain View has a great post on how she organizes Meet the Teacher. Her stations are easy and effective with tasks for both parents and students. Go here to read the full post.
"Make sure you take time to tell your students about YOU," says Julie from the Techie Teacher. Inquiring minds really do want to know. :) I love her story about how a lesson on angles using a video of things she found in her home showed her how much her students wanted to know her better. Check out her ideas here.
Prep for Back-to-School night now. Being prepared now for back-to-school night will help you gather the materials you want to give parents before the copier overheats and those student papers all get away from you. Prep that powerpoint and all the paperwork ASAP!
Have your name tags ready and placed outside your classroom door. Tiffani from Time 4 Kindergarten has these next two tips. I place a pocket chart outside my door holding all of my name-tag lanyards. There is a note explaining exactly what to do. This way I am able to greet each student by their first name. Good morning Mary, Welcome, it’s so nice to meet you”. Being able to “know” their names also helps calm some of the fears. (Have a few extras in case there are new students.) Find more organizing ideas here.
Leave a cup of sharpie markers outside with a note instructing parents to LABEL all lunch boxes, jackets and backpacks. Students don't remember which items are theirs because everything is NEW!!
Organizing your math centers is essential for success. Jennifer at Teaching to Inspire has tips for organizing your math centers (even if you are not naturally organized) to set you up for successful math center management. Check it out.
Plan for a substitute now so you are ready when emergencies arise. Let's face it, you're going to need a sub at some point and it almost always comes as a surprise. Be prepared. Jodi at Clutter Free Classroom has an older post on how to plan for a sub here.
Create a checklist of Back-to-school prep tasks so you don't forget anything. There are so many tasks to do to get ready for school to start. It's easy to forget things. You can get my free Back-to-School Planning Checklist in this Back-to-School organizing post.
Prep for new students as you get ready for back-to-school. Set aside a few extra copies of everything you give to or send to parents and students the first weeks of school. When new students come in later in the year, you'll have a welcome packet ready.
Be prepared for birthdays. It's details like this that make life so much smoother all year. Birthdays are a big deal in elementary school. Megan at Mrs. Wheeler's Classroom prepares birthday bags for the whole year before school starts. When a birthday comes around, she's got it covered without a fuss. Read her post here.
Have a routine for collecting papers and prepping assignments for absent students. Laura at Corkboard Connections has a system for this. Learn more.
Provide a routine for getting mentally ready to learn. Michael from Smart Classroom Management has a great post on motivating your class and getting mentally ready to learn in just seconds as the students walk in the door. He has a poster that reads "Learn Like a Champion Today" that the students tap as they walk in the door (like football players do on the way to the field). That tap says, "I'm ready." Read more here.
Take time to directly teach routines and procedures from the beginning. Rachel at The Classroom Nook talks about how to plan routines and procedures that cover all your needs. She has a great checklist as well. Read more.
Prepare to assess quickly so you can hit the ground running. Christine form Hanging Around in Primary has an organizational post for driving your Phonemic Awareness teaching with easy data collection the first weeks of school. If your school doesn't have a great program for phonemic awareness, her post and free forms will get you started right.
Plan something special for yourself on Friday afternoon/evening the first week of school. Things like meeting a friend for coffee, schedule a massage, date night with your spouse or whatever relives your stress and brings you joy are just what you need to reset. A happy teacher is a good teacher.
Hope you found some great ideas to get you started on the right (or left) foot.
Every teacher wants their students to become committed readers. Here's a simple "how to" cheat sheet you can provide to help PARENTS support their kids in their reading journey. I call it the Sneaky Parent's Guide to Growing Readers because it's filled with loving, savvy tips to make reading feel fun and desirable.