Real teachers give you tips and tricks to be ready to go on the first day of school.
If you are an educator, you’re no doubt familiar with the feeling of anxiety that hits when summer starts to wane – that feeling that time is running short for setting up your classroom, making up class lists and schedules, getting copying done, placing orders, etc. A myriad tasks lie ahead of you, and the sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll have all your ducks in a row. But where do you start?
The following tips come from real teachers who have learned from experience what steps to take to be ready for a new school year.
- First things first. Put all the desks and chairs into position.
- Start unpacking boxes. Unpack all your decor, dust everything, and set it up around the room.
- Throw out anything in the boxes that looks too worn, and make a note to replace it.
- Sign up / locate passwords for any online lesson or educator communities, like mimioconnect.com.
- Begin to collect all the items that will need to be labeled with student names.
- When the class list is available, work like mad to get the student names on everything: name tags on desks, mailboxes, portfolios, etc.
- Distribute student supplies and materials to each desk.
- Get student textbooks checked out from library and ready for students.
- Make up a class list with the parents’ email addresses, to use as a parent distribution list.
- Plan the Parent Packet for Open House.
- Update the Homework brochure for Open House.
- Assemble the Open House materials.
- Set up and decorate the main hall bulletin board.
- Set up special classroom bulletin boards for Birthdays, Super Kid of the Week, etc.
- Send printing requests for the first five weeks, to be completed by early in August. Note on each print order sheet the topic and week number when they will be used, as a helpful reference.
- File the originals for print orders into folders labeled for each class topic by each week used (#1-18) during the semester. That way it is easy to pull them out for next year.
- Prepare all lesson plans for the first week.
- Print student rosters and set up gradebook
- Add student names to MimioStudio™ Gradebook for use with the MimioMobile™ app and MimioVote™ assessment.
- Have passwords ready for each student to create new accounts for online reading programs and computer lab.
- Make sure any department duty schedules, such as greeters, are created and ready to share with colleagues.
- Complete district paperwork and benefits enrollment.
- Make sure student iPads and devices are organized and ready, and have the student contracts ready to be signed.
- Make sure that the Bus order is ready and all students are assigned to their particular bus.
- Get Beginning of the Year testing ready to go.
- Update class website and add resources.
- Display Beginning of the Year books.
- Create checklists for the first three days of school.
- Make up and display the classroom schedule, as well as the current lesson plan format.
- Make sure all posters are up and visible (e.g., 100s charts, P.I.E. chart for author's purpose, greater and less than, center rotation chart).
- Get the Library Book Center ready to roll.
- Get the games ready to roll.
- Get the Guided Reading Center ready to roll.
- Display the 5 Rules as well as the Conscious Discipline Rules.
- Make sure student computers are up and running.
- Make sure all your Mimio equipment is up and running!
- Print new calendars for students to color each day for their take-home folder.
- Run 1000s packets.
- Run Spelling Stars; add student names and laminate them.
- Make sure Timed Tests are ready, with certificates bought.
- Get Benchmark pre- and post-tests ready, as well as baseline reading tests.
Several teachers shared their personal m.o. for easing into back to school:
- I like to go in and get my room ready before anybody else gets to school. I go in, shut the door, put a webinar on the projector, and spend 6-7 hours setting up the student desks, books, folders, etc.
- I work on my desk so it's set up with minimal items.
- I work on documents, forms, etc. at home on my computer during the day. This way I get it done in the comfort of my home!
- I have the 4th grade teachers over for lunch as a welcome back. We can share stories about our summer, collaborate for the upcoming year, and be in a nice environment without interruptions from others.
To get an extra head start on the new school year, keep these tips in mind next spring:
- Begin planning for the fall in May. Update and/or tweak lesson plans for the first five weeks of school using notes from the previous fall. Upload the revised plans to your website by June 1. That way you can hit the ground running, with time to adjust anything in the lessons for the remaining weeks of the first semester after the first week of school.
- Put everything that has to be taken down for the summer into individually labeled cabinets or boxes for storage over the summer. That makes it easy to unpack and place items in the appropriate section of the classroom.
- Ask your students to write a welcome letter to the student who will be sitting at their desk next fall.
- And finally, keep the following wise tip in mind: I find that the more organized I am prior to school starting, the calmer I am and the more comfortable my students are in starting a new year. Keeping that goal in mind, I try to create a safe, fun, and comfortable room setting, with everything in its place.
Do you have more excellent tips to add to this list? Please share them below.
Looking to connect with other educators and get lessons and activities for back to school? Check out our Back to School content pack on MimioConnect.