Back to school season can seem fast and furious! With these ten quick, and easy, tips you are sure to shine whether it’s your first year in the classroom or you are a veteran.
While these back to school tips saved my skin during my years in the classroom, consider how they will work for you and your students before penciling them into the lesson plans.
1. Don’t Write Names On Everything
As an elementary school teacher I labeled everything, and I mean everything. This included writing student names all over the classroom. Then, the first day of school came and I wound up having to erase the names and rewrite them at least three times due to students who were not longer attending the school as well as new additions.
I would recommend waiting until the second or third day of school, or even longer if you can handle it, to write student names on all the things.
Additionally, if you plan to give your students a class number, give this one a few days as well to let classroom rosters settle.
2. Have a Stockpile of Back to School Read Alouds
Read alouds are a great way to take a break from the sometimes frantic pace of the first week or so of school. I, of course, plan a few specific read alouds, but I also keep a stockpile of about ten more handy in case we have an extra few minutes or I need to adjust plans.
This stockpile can hang around for quite some time and be used as needed.
3. Have Class Builders Ready to Go
Building community in the classroom is important from the very first day of school. One great way to do this is through class builders.
I always plan to use a few class or team builders each day that first week, but just like the stockpile of books, I keep a few more ready to go. With them already prepped, it is easy to pull them out to fill in a small time gap or to serve as a reset if needed.
Of course, these class builders can also be, and should be, used throughout the year, so your energy won’t be wasted.
Check out these class and team builders made for back to school.
4. Plan More Than You Could EVER Get To
My very first, first day of school as a teacher I ran through my whole first day lesson plan before lunch. Luckily, my mentor teacher had told me to over prepare for that first week, so I just moved on through my pile.
Whether you keep extra read alouds, team builders, or content materials, it is important to have a plan for when things move faster than you expect.
5. Remember to Move
SO much of the first day of school is the teacher talking and students sitting. Don’t forget to give students the chance to move.
We, as teachers, have to allow our bodies to readjust to being back in school, and so do our students! Plan some brain breaks where students can move and talk to one another, they will be eternally grateful.
6. Transportation First!
Again, this is probably just an elementary teacher thing, but transportation first.
Before you do anything else, you need to know how your students are getting home. Don’t just take your students’ word for it either. Confirm with their families or after school care, and then confirm again. No one wants a student to get lost.
7. Have Some Back to School Fun
It is easy to get caught up in procedures and guidelines and tours, but don’t forget to have some fun with your students!
This can be a fun brain break, sharing interesting information about yourself, or playing a game. Anything goes!
8. Build Relationships
While you want students to be close their peers, you also want to build relationships with them yourself. This will make the whole year go smoother and show students that you love and respect them for who they are.
Check out this post about relationship building with your students, even the tough ones.
9. Perfect Student Names
A name is one of the most important things about a person. Take the time to perfect a student’s name and don’t stop until you have it right.
It is a big deal. Check out this article for more information.
10. Start Your Communication Channels Early
Hopefully you already have contact information for your students’ families. Now is the time to reach out and introduce yourself and solidify that you are all working with the student’s best interest in mind.
I made it a goal of mine to call 4-5 families a day during the back to school period until I have reached everyone. I began with students who had historically struggled in the classroom and worked by way through the roster. This process received so much positive feedback and built a home to school bridge that showed I was open to chat and there to help.
Back to School Blues
With the summer winding down it is easy to get a bit bummed about heading back to the classroom. Armed with these tips you are ready to conquer the school year and enjoy the uniqueness that is your class all year long!
Get Ready for Back to School Now
It all stems from relationships! Start the year off right with this collection of back to school activities that will guide your students through cooperative learning strategies and all them to get to know one another and forge a collaborative bond and mutual respect.