Are you ready for a new school year? As the end of summer is approaching, you may be thinking about how to get yourself more organized and prepared for the new school year ahead. Many ideas of how to make the new school year the best one yet might be running through your mind, and so is the unknown of what it may bring. New curriculum? New grade level? A new team of teachers? New school? We have all been there. What has helped me the most in starting the new school year as smoothly as possible is getting myself organized and my systems in place early on. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your best year.
1. Get to Know Your Students
Getting to know your new class of students is always the most exciting part of a new school year. Each group is different and unique, so it is essential to take the time, in the beginning, to get to know them and how you will be able to best help them this year. One easy way to get to know your students is by asking the people that know them best, their parents. The Digital Parent Survey is a cute, quick, and editable Google Form survey that can be sent home to parents/guardians to gather contact information, student strengths, struggles, etc. Answers are auto-populated into one spreadsheet for you to quickly read through the responses and learn about your students.
2. Daily Check-Ins
Another great way to learn about your students is through daily check-ins. This process lets you know who is in class every day. It allows students to tell you how they are doing, ask questions, and check off subjects they worked on that day. The Digital Daily Check-In is a great system to start and teach your students on the first day of school. They can turn in one daily, and it is an excellent record for you to quickly reference them throughout the year. No worries about lost check-in forms or carrying them back and forth from classroom to home because they are easily accessible online.
3. Sub Plans
Creating sub plans for when you need to be away from the classroom always takes so much time and preparation, but preparing early on in the year for those emergencies makes it a little easier to gather all you need in one spot. The Digital and Editable Substitute Daily Report Log is an easy way for a guest teacher to leave you all the information on their day with your class in one accessible location. They can tell you about absences/tardies, classroom behavior, what was/was not covered, and report back on any students that were helpful or struggled during the day. This daily log is a great way for you to know how your students did with their sub and can pick up any necessary learning the next day.
Another essential part of planning for a substitute is to leave them meaningful lessons to implement when you are out of the classroom. The Missing Teacher Mystery Writing activity is a fantastic, engaging writing activity that you can assign to the class whenever there is a substitute teacher. Students can practice inferencing, brainstorming, and writing skills while creating narratives about where they have gone. Students will enjoy creating stories on your whereabouts and may even give you a little chuckle when you return to see their imaginations explode. This activity can become a routine assignment for students to complete whenever you have a substitute. Their opportunities to create, write, and develop stories can change throughout the year.
4. Classroom Management System
Teachers know that setting rules and expectations for your classroom during that first week of school is vital. Encouraging positive and responsible behavior from day one will set the tone for your entire school year. Having a system in place to share with your students is critical. The Digital Sticker Book for Classroom Management is a creative way to encourage positive behaviors in your classroom. Students will be able to see their stickers added to their charts. You can even personalize to add your Bitmoji stickers! An added benefit of doing this digital: you don’t have to go to the store when you run out of stickers!
5. Back-to-School Ready
Back-to-School Night or Meet the Teacher is a great time to meet your new group of students and families in the new school year. You want everything to go as smoothly as possible. This adorably cute, Llama-themed Back-to-School Pack is the perfect way to welcome everyone to your class. This pack has everything you need for Back-to-School or Meet the Teacher Night, including an editable presentation, class list, student survey, and more. Each of these files is editable to meet the needs of your class. This pack will help you prepare all you need for your first meeting!
6. Have fun in the new school year!
Now that you have organized everything, you are ready for the new school year. Yay! Let’s chat about community-building activities for those first days of school. I love spending a few minutes doing something fun with my class each day. It helps me and my students get to know each other without the expectation of grades or homework. So that I always have an activity ready, I created my Beginning-of-the-Year Activities pack. It has 25 no-prep class activities perfect for the new school year. One of my favorite activities is the Back-to-School Bingo. Students first ask classmates questions from their BINGO card, and then mark a square each time they meet someone that matches the prompt. Your students will love asking questions and racing to be the first one to yell Bingo!
Do you want to try it with your class? Grab the Back-to-School Bingo free by signing up using the from below!