It’s still summer, and we hope you’re taking time to relax and recharge your batteries. But if there’s a little voice in your head reminding you that another school year lies ahead – and you’ve promised yourself that you’ll be more prepared this time around – we can help you get a handle on things with this helpful checklist. It covers the pertinent categories: students, parents, curriculum, technology, organization, classroom management, and self-care, plus miscellaneous. With the checklist in hand, you can silence that nagging little voice and get back to the important work of summer: relaxation, with a bit of time spent reading, learning, and growing as a professional!
The Teacher’s Checklist
- As you get your class lists, double-check any accommodations, modifications, 504 plans, etc.
- By the end of the first week, make sure you have written down the following information about all of your students: first and last name, family situation, favorite something (TV show, movie, subject, etc.). One way to gather this information is to ask each student to write or record a quick “Who I am” and post it to Google docs. Each student can present his or her post to the class. Alternately, students could take turns presenting one another’s posts. Either way, it will help you and the entire class get connected.
- The new class is a new team waiting to get to know one another’s strengths and personalities. Design activities around team building to get your students ready for a year of success. Here are 10 team building activities to get you started.
- Conduct a learning styles inventory in the first few weeks of the year. Create an inventory like this one, if you don’t already have one.
- Plan for communication with parents. Newsletters or other notes you use year after year can be created ahead of time as templates. You can even use a feature like Mail Merge in Word to personalize the communication.
- Plan for social media. Facebook and Twitter are probably already set up, but you need to share the links with your new parents. Consider how Instagram or other sites can be helpful with parents. Remind.com is a great tool for parent communication, too.
- Develop a method for obtaining information about your students from their parents, either through a survey or something you send home after the school year starts. For some ideas, take a look at these surveys used to gather different kinds of student information.
- Textbooks are labeled or organized and ready to go.
- Copy work has been completed and curriculum-related bulletin boards look fantastic.
- Students’ digital logins are processed and working for the first day of use.
- Double-check your master list of logins and passwords. Make sure they are all working and haven’t changed over the summer.
- Plug in and charge up. This is part of classroom management, but you also need to ensure that procedures are in place for students to return tech, charge tech, and manage tech. Practice the procedures with the students.
- Make sure you have the most up-to-date version of your classroom lesson software. You can find the latest version of MimioStudio™ software here.
- Double-check printers to make sure they are working and there are enough toner and paper supplies.
- If you haven’t considered a digital “turn-in” box for your students, try to set one up. While it does take some getting used to, it makes grading easier and organization simpler.
- Mark your calendar with important dates for the year. You can even include communication reminders such as, “Communicate positively with every parent,” “Write a supportive note to my support staff,” and “Purchase gifts for those who matter most.”
- The schedule and master schedule are finalized and posted.
- Any necessary communication with special teachers or the office has been taken care of.
- Clearly written, positively stated expectations are posted, and you have a plan for how and when you will teach them.
- Positive reinforcement system is in place, both for individual students and the class as a whole.
- Prepare for your first positive note home of the year. Postcards work well and they are simple and inexpensive. Print labels from your student information system and have them ready to go.
- Walk through any transition times or new areas as if you were a student. All students should be able to see the front of the room display from their seat. Walk the paths students will travel when they transition to centers or from class to class, to make sure the room is set up effectively.
- Healthy meals: Once the school year starts, life can get busy and hectic. Nutrition is important to fuel you each and every day. Take care of yourself by planning ahead for easy but healthy meals. For example, have some healthy crockpot meals frozen that you can thaw overnight, put in the crockpot in the morning, and come home to at the end of the day.
- Exercise: Think of ways to add exercise to your daily routine – it will help you have more energy for the new school year ahead. Here are some great tips to get you started.
- Silence: When and where will you recharge? How will you do it – through reading, writing, meditation, or spiritual exercises? Put recharging time in your calendar and honor it, just like any other important activity in your life.
- Family and Social Life: At times these may be mutually exclusive, but hopefully not often! Again, plan ahead and seek quality time with those you care about most.
- Double-check all your crisis information: posted evacuation plans, crisis kits, emergency numbers, etc. The start of the year is the perfect time to review it all.
- Make sure all your keys still work. Sometimes summer weather takes a toll on doors and locks. Sometimes locks get changed. The first day of school isn’t the time to find out things aren’t working.
- Check your voicemail and email signature.
Some of items on the checklist may be second nature to veteran teachers, but we can all use reminders. We invite you to post any suggestions you find helpful, so we can add them to our list for next year.
Want resources for activities and lessons as you plan for next year?
Check out our MimioConnect™ online educator community. You’ll find a great library of IWB lessons and graphics to get you prepped and ready for back to school.
Get ready for a great year!