My Back-to-School Plan and Prep Plan

With summer winding down, it's time to start thinking about getting ready for school again (or heading back already for some of you). It's so easy to get overwhelmed with all there is to do. If that's you, this issue is for you!

Let's break things down into manageable steps so you can get it done without all that stress and overwhelm. Don't worry, you can download a free printable copy here. Let's dive in.

Be Prepared

I'm all about being prepared all year long. Some of these tasks may seem nitty gritty, but they really do help a ton throughout the year. If you're short on time (your school starts in August), do the essentials and simply skip the rest for now. BUT, (don't cheat yourself) schedule time to do them later.

Arranging Your Classroom
  • Arrange the furniture.
  • Wipe everything down for a clean start.
  • Desk tags w/student names or "Where Are We?" chart for flexible seating.
  • (Primary) Book boxes for students with names and possibly a few books to start the first week. 
  • Organize your classroom files, student materials and supplies.
  • Organize your small group area - seating, grab and go supplies for students with storage, supplies for you, bookcase with teaching materials...
  • Organize your teacher desk, if you use one.
  • Organize your class library.
  • Replenish supplies – purchase or get from your school office.
  • Prep supplies at your work stations – teacher desk, small group area, white board/whole class teaching area.
  • Get space ready for incoming supplies from students (and a system for collecting and storing items smoothly).
  • For older students - prep Google Docs training for writing.
  • Prep any online systems you use for student tracking, grading, etc.
  • Get any computers, iPads, Smart Boards, etc. marked and up and running (mark the devices and their cords with numbers and/or colored labels).
  • Check the apps, tabs and bookmarks you need are there and ready to go.
Forms + Other Documents
  • Fill out and hand in any forms needed by your school administration.
  • Gather any forms needed to be sent home with your students the first week of school.
  • Create a tracking sheet for forms that students will be turning in to you in the first weeks of school.
Calendar + Schedules
  • Make a schedule for your school day.
  • Calendar for the School Year- add breaks, teacher days and holidays/special celebration days.
  • Take all school schedules and add the items and dates to your calendar.
  • Schedule your planning time and grading time into your daily calendar.
Planning + Teaching
  • Teaching plans for the first 2 weeks.
  • Make any copies you'll need for lessons.
  • Prep any testing of students you will do in the first weeks of school and schedule time to complete it.
  • Curriculum Map - make adjustments to your curriculum map.
  • Add curriculum to your calendar by month.
  • Place all Mentor Texts you will use for the first month in a bin. Put a post-it on each book (inside front cover) listing everything you’ll use it to teach.
Student Tracking
  • Prep student files.
  • Get your grading system ready - electronic or paper.
  • Setup or update your online system if you haven’t already.
  • Prep student tracking forms/check sheets and print a few, if you use them.
Class Management
  • Create name tags (one for you too).
  • Create jobs or adjust the ones you have and prep procedures for each job.
  • Adjust any class rules or supports and get an anchor chart ready.
  • Get your procedures ready for training your class.
  • Make a schedule for training your class in the first weeks.
  • Prep AM/PM Routines.
  • Procedures list for the library, lunch room, hallways, lining up, movement around the room, noise levels, signals for attention, bathrooms, water fountains, absent work, late work, independent work, hand raising, group work…
  • Before school starts “I’m so excited to meet you” email.
  • Prep Welcome Letter or Email for the first day.
  • Prepare a regular weekly email template.
  • Get your emergency procedures ready.
  • Prep any supplies you need for emergency drills.
  • Put a plan together for training your class and schedule it.
  • Get any supplies you need for a real emergency in one place, just in case. 
Field Trips + Special Guests
  • Field trips - check that reservations are made or make them if you haven’t already.
  • Prep a permission slip for each trip and volunteer information.
  • Special Guests – Contact them and get them on your schedule along with their contact information. Let the office know your plans.
  • Get a list together of anything you’ll need to have for Special Guests or Field Trips and put it with your planner a week or so ahead of the event.
Meet the Teacher
  • Plan for Stations or Scavenger Hunt for students and their families - forms to fill out, find your seat, photo booth, choose a book, go find...
  • Treat for students when they finish their stations or hunt.
  • Meet the Teacher form.
  • Prep any other forms/paperwork you'll need for families.
Back-to-School Night
  • Create a file for your Back-to-School Night Prep.
  • Prepare your Back-to-School Night packet. Set it aside for finalizing the week before.
  • Make a list of student work samples you want to have ready for parents that night.
  • Make an outline of all you want to cover that evening.
  • Create any signup sheets or online signups you need to have ready.
  • Mark your calendar a week before to finish the prep.
  • Prep bulletin boards and create a plan for when, what and why you'll change them.
  • Prep turn in bins for work, notes, etc.
  • Make copies for the first 2 weeks, for Meet the Teacher and for Back-to-School Night.
  • Prep for birthdays, lost teeth, 100 Days of School, class parties - outline, last week and last day of school plan, plan for the week before each big break...
  • Prep directions for volunteers for the first week of school, if any.
  • Prep a SignupGenius.com or Signup.com for families to volunteer starting the second month of school.
  • Get info sheets ready for room parents and volunteers.
  • Make decisions about volunteers in your classroom- when, what, how, why.
Moving Yourself Forward + Self-care
  • Write out your teaching goals for the year.
  • Make a list of micro tasks for each goal.
  • Put checkpoints on your calendar to keep yourself on track or get coaching.
  • Create AM/PM Routines for yourself.
  • Plan your bathroom breaks, get a new water bottle, meal plan for breakfast and lunch the first month, bedtime,...

Get it all in a checklist - grab my Back-to-School Planning Guide if you haven't already.

Good luck! I hope this year is fabulous!


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