I'm going to be honest, prepping for Back to School was something that used to stress me out SO much over summer break. It was always in the back of my mind, looming over my sunny, poolside hangs, taunting me. Between copies and back to school folders and parent packets, slideshows, revisiting classroom procedures and well, you get the point. It all adds up. Especially if you're not even sure what's happening with your curriculum (Is it new? Did the district change the pacing guide?)
If you're a brand new teacher, you may not even know what's ahead of you. Sorting through Cum folders, reading through IEPS, creating schedules, rearranging your classroom, sorting through manipulatives, managing ALL the piles of paperwork from the office, and SO MUCH MORE. It can quickly become overwhelming. Prepping what you can BEFORE you return to school can save your life! Or at least, make you feel like you're not going to drown!
In order to cope with such a daunting task, I've assembled a list of items I like to prep before the start of school. Just knowing I have all of these items ready to go in my computer allows me piece of mind to actually enjoy my time off! All of the items listed below are available in my Back to School *EDITABLE* Teacher Kit.
1. Parent Informational Flip Books
These flip books are really helpful for organizing all the info I really need my students/parents to know. Once I made the template to my liking, I just saved it to my desktop. Now at the beginning of each school year, it is so easy for me to hop on my computer and edit as needed, saving me SO MUCH TIME!! I usually go over this info at our school's Meet the Teacher event coupled with a slideshow. For students who don't show up to that night, I add it to their home communication folders on the first day of school.
2. Student Folders
These student folders are for my students/parents to keep. I like to get my student folders prepped & stuffed ahead of time. One side I fill with items marked for "KEEP" and the other side "RETURN" to ensure I get the forms back I need! Here is a list of some items I like to include in these folders:
*Meet the Teacher
*Social Media Release (for private class Instagram page)
*Parent Volunteer Sign Up Sheet
*Student Quick Reference Card
3. Plan for Meet the Teacher or Open House
I like to have a general idea/plan in place for Meet the Teacher. I usually include Steps or Stations for parents to complete. I like to keep it simple, so they aren't completely overwhelmed. An example of this might be as follows:
Step 1 - Sign In
Step 2 - Fill out the Transportation Form
Step 3 - Visit your desk (where students/parents will collect their student folders)
Once all parent's have arrived, I start the slideshow (also brief) and explain to parents that they can find all the info we talk about in their flip book (mentioned in #1). After the slideshow and Q&A, I have students complete a classroom scavenger hunt so that they can become familiar with the classroom.
4. Class Donations
I started off teaching by purchasing all of my supplies. It was only after a few years I felt comfortable asking for donations. What I found was that many parents were itching to help! I sure wish I knew that sooner! Posting donation cards for Back to School night or Meet the Teacher is a great way to show you have a need but not forcing it on families. If they have the means to give, they'll grab what they can. You can also list this type of info on your class website or newsletter! **Gold picture display is from World Market.
5. Plan for your first week of school!
Don't wait until the last minute, scavenging Pinterest for cute crafts and filler activities. Get started RIGHT AWAY establishing your classroom routine and behavior management. Set the tone for the year from DAY 1! Most primary teachers over plan, and that's okay! Just know that it's important to be flexible. Spend time getting to know your students through games. Have fun! But also allow time for explicit teaching of your procedures and routines and TONS of practice. Primary age students need SO MUCH PRACTICE. Reward their efforts, use tons of specific feedback, and help your students achieve through positive reinforcement! One of the best ways you can help introduce important themes for Back to School is through read alouds!! Check out my post on MUST HAVE BACK TO SCHOOL BOOKS HERE.
Click HERE to see what else is included in my Back to School Editable Teacher Kit on TeachersPayTeacher
P.S. - Don't forget the Sub Plans!!
Every school I've worked at has required Sub Plans to be visible in the classroom. In case of emergency, any teacher or substitute should be able to walk in and take over. Also, making Sub Plans is the WORST! I mean, ask any teacher. They'd rather come in sick or hobble in with a freshly broken leg than begrudgingly write sub plans. Here's how I overcame that hideous task. I made a Sub Station. You can read more about my BEST SELLING resource in this blog post: How to Organize for a Substitute