How do you get ready for the first day of school? For me there is a lot of planning and preparation! I like to spend some time prior to our required back to school days getting all of my things back out and organized in a way that is going to benefit my students. I know that if I don’t front load my organization, it will kill me throughout the year trying to get things done. This is coming from a pretty (self-proclaimed) type A personality!
It seems each year, I tend to modify or adjust things that either didn’t work for me or just did not feel exactly right. Sometimes, I even end up changing things around numerous times throughout the course of a year. It’s all about balance and efficiency!
Once my classroom is organized, then I feel more relaxed and ready to start planning for meet the teacher and for my first lessons with my students. For meet the teacher, I like to give a student information sheet out so that I know all about my students. I prefer for parents to complete that the night of meet the teacher, but I know when you’re filling out all kinds of paperwork, it can start to be time consuming. This year, I created a google form to simplify it for both myself and the parents. The form is linked to a QR code and parents will scan via iPad and fill it out that night.
Another big thing that I find out about is first day or first week transportation versus the rest of the year. Many times, our students will have an alternate form of transportation (say car rider line) and the rest of the year, they walk home. Totally understandable, but to make everyone’s life easier (and safer), these are things I need to know!
This year, I also set up remind 101 for my parents to get text reminders about important information. My daughter’s daycare uses the app and I love it! I think it will be a great communication tool for parents. My goal this year is to get more parent involvement, so this will also be something I ask about on meet the teacher. Parents may be able to help out with prepping materials for me at home or helping at school with events such as our Annual Enchilada Dinner…YUM!!!
Planning for the first week involves lots of procedures. Over the course of the years, I have really learned that creating the rules with the kids is the way to go. We read books about safety in the classroom and then discuss what we learned. Students help me to come up with some good ideas for ways we can keep one another safe while we’re at school. We will use these ideas for our classroom “rules”.
Throughout the week, we really implement procedures, practice how to do them correctly, and how to do things the wrong way. I love the book, “The Classroom Management Book” by Harry K. Wong and Rosemary T. Wong. Skimming through it can really jog your memory on what worked or didn’t work in previous years.
I pull out tons of good reads for back to school and invest a lot of time up front getting to know my students and giving them time to get to know their new family. My classroom is all about the warm and fuzzy! I want my students to know me and know that they can feel at home while they’re here. We spend too much time together to be disconnected and I know they’ll learn so much more if they know I am invested in them!
I truly hope that your 2016-17 school year is amazing! If there is anything I can do to help you, please comment here. Just remember, sometimes we are the only positive that our students see all day. It’s going to be a great year y’all!