So is it me, or did summer just fly by? I know many are headed back or already in the classroom mode… so I didn’t want to take up too much of your time. I wanted to share some of my 5 BEST Back to School TIPS and Activities to get you started for Back to School. As you know there is NO TIRED like Back to School TIRED… am I right? With decorating, labeling, getting DATA Folders ready… the list continues! Well, with my team we would plan out the first 2-3 days together and really wanted to hit the ground running with the best Classroom Management and focus activities to get to know our students! So I will quickly help YOU out!
Tip#1: Think/WRITE OUT your room set up and decor. I usually find out my classroom area and draw it out setting it up how I want it to look. Now your Class Decor is probably already picked out [if not you can grab some easy print and go decor off TPT, I try to personalize mine every year], and laminated [do this so you can reuse again!]. Clean your room [cabinets, desk, your personal areas- because it will not be thoroughly cleaned until next summer]- I am kind of OCD about this!
Tip #2: Be prepared, with LABELING everything. Regardless if you are super cute and have everything PINTEREST perfect or just labeled by hand have it labeled! This includes: marker, crayon tubs, notebooks, desks [student desk tags], tables, books, carts, turn in folders. Have it all set up before Meet the Teacher Night and First Day of School. This way you are NOT scrambling the 1st day of school trying to organize! I truly felt prepared the 1st day by doing this ahead of time!
Tip #3: Plan out your entire first day by the hour! You cannot wing the first day at all! You need to have a plan! My first day kind of goes like this…. [BTW- my experience is upper elementary, so you will modify with the younger kiddos].
1- Kids enter [I greet each at door and show them to the direction of their seats]
2. School Announcements, kids trickle in the door thoughout first 30 minutes.
3.I have a packet of ALL ABOUT ME Activities or Back to School Activities that help them get started as I am collecting supplies, forms, and greeting kids.
4. Usually within the first 30 minutes I pull all kids down to meeting area. I introduce myself using my anchor chart that I prepare beforehand. This helps me stay focused by lets my kids see a visual and hear me speak. I also provide pictures so they can see my family, vacation pictures, and etc.
5. Next we get in a circle and do a quick ice breaker activity. This helps my students see faces, names, etc, This will last 30 minutes.
6. We go through LUNCH NUMBERS, and CLASSROOM/ SCHOOL RULES. [this takes the longest and we will revisit everyday the first week]. This is when I introduce BRAG TAGS, and other positive reinforcements we will use in our classroom.
7. Typically we have LARGE GROUP time now. So this gives me a break to get more organized and paperwork in order.
8. Kids return and we do another FUN ACTIVITY. This year I am LOVING the ALL ABOUT ME COLOR PENNANT [see image below] These are perfect to display the first week or so on our bulletin boards.
9. We practice more procedures and then head to lunch/recess. During this time my team and I have a plan that we talk to ALL THE STUDENTS about. This way we have consistent expectations throughout the grade level! It is important to have this as a team.
10. We come back in to the classroom and I usually read a 1st day of School Book [1st Day Jitters, or any other fun back to school book is perfect]. This lets kids relax.
11. By now the day is almost over, so we go over dismissal and practice this. Before practicing, I have received notification of how each kid is going home. Our big priority is making sure all our students arrive home safely!
Tip #4: This one is simple! Wear comfortable clothes and SHOES! Yes, you want to look cute and picture perfect, but be comfortable! Our schools are great in CFISD because we are allowed to wear jeans and the school shirts. It is easy because then students know who to recognize in case of an emergency, etc. Especially our littlest friends who are lost the first few days!
Tips #5: Stay after the 1st day, plan to! Organize the rest of your stuff. Put things away. Be prepared for Day #2 which many times we get rolling with classroom lessons, etc. Have all your students contact information ready. I usually chat with my coworkers a bit to see how the day went. I try to hang up anything that is completed and ready for my bulletin board. I leave my room tidy so that I can enter in the morning and take care of anything that needs immediate attention, trust me…there is something that’ll pop up!