It's that hectic time of year again; the before back to school blues feeling overwhelmed with everything you need to get done. I have broke done a simple list to help prepare you for that first week back.
First, breathe. It will all get done, I promise! During this hectic time remember to take a moment for yourself. Do not overwork yourself otherwise you will become unproductive. So remember, breathe!
This is usually the first thing I do before the school starts. Having your bulletin boards, borders, and color scheme done shows progress. It also makes a comfortable place for you to do the rest of your before school year work. Having your bulletin boards up also sets the mood for the rest of your classroom and allows you to work in a comfortable space.
After creating this comfortable reading space I felt a load off my shoulders. Now all I had to worry about was the rest of my to do list. ;)
If you are returning to your old classroom and you like the way things are, skip this. If you are a new teacher, in a new classroom, or need a change, play around with classroom layout. Where are your main areas like read alouds, calendar, and your whiteboard going to be? How would you like student desks arranged? Check out tips on seating arrangements here! Play around with different ideas to see what you like best. And remember, you can always change it during the school year if you particular layout isn't working for your group of kiddos.
Reading, writing, and math are always my main priorities. Science and Social studies I have to be more creative with where I put this space. You can find these FREE Scientific Process Posters by clicking here or on the picture!
Once you have you have your general layout done, start thinking about smaller spaces.
- Were will mailboxes and/or backpacks be located? (Think about your packing up procedures!)
- Where will you store extra supplies and student supplies?
- How is your library going to be organized and how will students know how to find books?
- How are reading, writing, and math centers going to be laid out? Where will you keep supplies for these centers and how will students be able to access them?
- Calendar and/or morning message? Find a comfortable open area where students will focus on learning.
Find these library labels by clicking here or on the picture!
Find these School Supply Labels here or by clicking on the picture!
Small decisions made before school starts will affect the rest of your year. Read about how I organize some mom my centers supplies here! Be organized! You will thank yourself later.
Think about what procedures and routines your students will need to know for a successful classroom. Place items students need for these routines in strategic places in your classroom.
- Bathroom log? Put it near the exit of the classroom so students don't need to interrupt the class.
- Sharp pencils? Will this be a classroom job or will students sharpen pencil themselves? If students are sharpening during class, you may want to place the pencil sharpener in a location away from where students are working because it can be noisy!
- Paper bins, supplies, an turn-in bins? Put this in an area easily accessible to students where they won't interrupt other working students.
- Clip chart for management or attendance? A good location for this would be towards the back of the classroom so it can be discrete.
- Classroom jobs? Put this in an area that students can find quickly but isn't the main focus.
I always like to have a bulletin board or area dedicated to writing, reading, math, science/social studies, and learning objectives. Before school starts, I plan where each of these areas will be and label that area. It is important not to put up every anchor chart and referral poster you will be using during the school year. Students need to help create the classroom community and build these ideas together. However, there are some basics that need to be ready for students on the first day. Think about the layout and the smaller spaces in your classroom to place appropriate referral charts.
- Alphabets and Numbers - Put these at the from of the classroom so students can refer to theme easily.
- Subject Walls (Reading, Writing, Math) - These can be on secondary walls in your classroom. Students can turn or walk to them when they need to access that specific information.
- Information about grammar and/or word walls can be in your writing area or on a writing wall. Keep in mind, with a word wall or grammar wall, you want students to help build.
- Leaning Objectives - Put these at the from of the classroom so students can always access them.
Find these FREE Grammar Charts by clicking here or on the picture.
Find this Alphabet in my store by clicking here or on the picture.
Find these FREE Number Representation Posters by clicking here or on the picture.
Plan this out carefully. The first week of school is the most important because you are setting the stage for the rest of the year! This week (along with the first month to two months,) should be management practice and building a strong learning community in your classroom. Introduce students to daily routines such as morning message and calendar to help with classroom management.
Carefully plan activities that get students familiar with their surroundings (classroom and school.)
- Scavenger hunt around the school. This is a great reminder for returning students and helps new students feel at ease in their new community
- Scavenger hunt in the classroom to help students know where supplies are, where their back pack goes, etc.
- Practice following directions with Simon Says.
- Lot and Lots of read alouds!
- Craftivities are great for teaching procedures about using glue, scissors, and crayons.
- Introduce subject areas one at a time and use a review activity to practice procedures during that time.
- Games to teach procedures during centers.
You can find this Back to School Bingo by clicking here or on the picture.
Now that your classroom is ready for students, take a moment to get some things ready for yourself.
- curriculum maps
- weekly planner
- reading binder, math binder, writing binder
- student information sheets, health forms, and parent contact information sheets
- teacher desk area (pictures of family, vases, personal touches, etc.)
I like to take this time to organize things I will need for the first few weeks. Getting together my reading binder, assessments, math games, etc is important for me to feel calm during those first few weeks.
Ah! You are ready! Great job! As the first few weeks go on feel free to change things in your classroom. We all know things don't always go as panned so differentiate your classroom to your group of kiddos. Enjoy the first weeks of school!