Is it that time of year again already?! Summer break is beginning to wind down and ALL the back to school nightmares begin. But wait, don’t fret, just because it’s getting to be that time, doesn’t mean it needs to be stressful. In this post, you will learn tons of ideas, tips, and tools to help make back to school a BREEZE!
We’ll dip into classroom set up, first few weeks of planning, community building ideas, considerations for class structure and expectations, and of course some awesome activities to keep your students engaged! There will also be links included for you to go deeper into certain topics so you can get EXACTLY what you need. Let’s get started!!
School doors are finally back open and it’s time to think through setting up your classroom. One thing that I’ve found to make the school year less stressful and running more smoothly is setting up a student centered classroom. This means to make as much as possible in your classroom accessible for students so they can meet their own needs. I’m talking about giving them full access to things like materials (pencils, scissors, glue, etc), manipulatives they may need for working through subjects, and even things like anchor charts and library books.
Now this can definitely be a mindshift, but I promise you it’s totally worth it. You’ll be amazed at the fact that your classroom can *almost* run itself with this set up! You can learn more about setting up a Student Centered Classroom by clicking the link. If you want some extra tips for setting up your classroom, check out this post HERE. Don’t forget to grab this FREE checklist to set you up for success when it comes to the ever growing to do list during your classroom set up time!
Plan it Out
After you’ve got your classroom setup and ready, big congratulations there! It’s a huge task and you should be proud! Now it’s time to start thinking about the first few weeks of school and creating a rough draft of your plans. The reason I plan so far ahead even before school starts is so that when I walk in the door starting day one, I will know exactly what I want to accomplish with students and be ready for anything. The goal I always set for myself is to be OVERPLANNED with tons of ideas and activities so there is NO down time those first couple of weeks.
Of course we’ll take the time to sketch out plans and they’ll possibly change once or a few times. However, my goal is to help make this transition back to school as stress free as possible for you. To do so, I’ve created sample lesson plans that are jam packed with ideas and activities for not just the first day of school, but also the first week of school. These are also editable for you to change and edit to fit the needs of you and your students!
Planning for the first six weeks can be very overwhelming. I’m here to help with the FREE Back to School Teaching Timeline. Grab yours below!
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Above all, the main focus of back to school should be building relationships with students and families. Get to know your families as they will help be the biggest help in supporting your students throughout the year. One of the best ways to start off on a great foot is by making the most of Meet the Teacher night. Check out THIS post to get some amazing ideas to have a fun filled family oriented time where you all can get to know each other better!
As for students, it’s important to start connecting with you and their classmates on day one- getting acquainted and beginning to create the positive classroom community you want to have for the entire year together. Some ways to foster this are with team building activities, connection circles, and dedicated time to focus on Social Emotional Learning. Learn more ideas HERE!
Structure and Expectations
The last and one of the most important pieces of the puzzle is creating structure and expectations for students. Remember that the beginning of the year is the foundation for the entire year so it’s crucial to spend ample time getting things as smooth as possible. Of course things will always change and you must adapt and be flexible, but having that solid base to hold you all up throughout the chaotic time will be so helpful to your classroom structure.
So where do we start? Spending time creating rules WITH students, teaching ALL those routines and procedures, and of course setting high expectations for EVERY student to follow, is a recipe for success. With the Back to School Guide, I will help you make a solid plan for the first 6 weeks of school and help you work through all those really tough, but crucial pieces to have a great foundation with students. If you like a more interactive version, you can check out the Building a Student Centered Classroom course!
Engage Those Brains
You didn’t think I’d give you a bunch of tips without super fun activities and resources did you?! It can be stressful trying to come up with an excess amount of ideas and activities to keep students engaged and teach ALL the things at the beginning of the year. Below you’ll find a jam packed bundle FULL of back to school activities to help students have fun, get back into the groove, and continue to build those relationships!
I really hope you enjoyed learning more about tips and tricks for starting the year with students! Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list! Not only will you get the most up to date tips, tricks, and classroom projects… and of course more fun FREEBIES including the Back to School Teaching Timeline FREEBIE! You will also have exclusive access to tons of digital how to videos! If you would like to learn about this and other things happening in my classroom follow me @sweetnsauerfirsties on Instagram.
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