A new school year is upon us. Are you ready? During this time of year, there’s usually a mixture of excitement and nerves. If that sounds like you, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll give you five key things you can do the week before school starts. From turning your classroom into learning central, sprucing up curriculum and lessons, creating routines, and fostering strong parent relationships, we’re here to make your back to school transitions stinkin’ simple!
Your Before School Starts Checklist
There always seems like there is so much to do before school starts. If you’re anything like me, you really don’t want to do any of it, but we really don’t have much of a choice. School is here and we have to get ready. That’s why at Farrah Henley Education, we came up with 5 action steps you can take to make sure you’re ready for that first day of school These steps include:
- Organizing Your Classroom
- Refreshing Your Curriculum
- Plan the First Week’s Lessons
- Establish Your Morning Routine
- Connect with Parents
Organizing Your Classroom for Maximum Learning
Walking into your classroom should make you feel like you and your students are in a place where concentration and learning happens! So, how do you accomplish this?
Before school starts, consider the layout of your classroom. Is there a flow that is easy to follow? To create flow, you want to have designated areas in your classroom. These areas might include: reading corners, group work zones, and center stations.When you set your classroom up, your desks should allow for easy movement around the room. This will eliminate extra “noise” or “touches” that might occur. While you don’t want unproductive chatter, you do want your desks to be set up in a way that collaboration is easy for students during the appropriate times. As far as your desk goes, you should make sure you can see all of your students clearly.
In addition to having a classroom that is perfectly set up, you want to have classroom decorations that make the space feel welcoming. You can create visual displays that are welcoming and productive. For example, you might want to have visual schedules, learning objectives, and motivational quotes easy to see around the room. You can also use decorative labels to keep yourself and your students organized. An organized, well thought out classroom is a great start to an exciting year of learning!
Revive Your Curriculum
It’s important every year as educators that we change our curriculum up a little bit. Taking a look and reflecting and perfecting different activities is part of being an effective educator. When you spend time evaluating the previous year’s curriculum, you should consider what worked well as well as what news improvement. Then, based on this, change up your teaching strategies and try out new approaches that might help students create a deeper understanding of the material.
You can also integrate hands-on and digital resources to keep your students motivated. Our year long Math and Literacy Centers are the perfect tools for creating student engagement while getting effective review for students in kindergarten, first, and second grade. Plus, you are reinforcing key concepts and making lessons more engaging.
While you are getting your curriculum ready before school starts, you want to consider how differentiated your curriculum is. We all know students learn in different ways and at different speeds. Having resources like Reading Comprehension Passages that are for a variety of levels can help students engage in content that is the same, but it is created to be at his/her level.
Make a Plan for Week One Before School Starts
I feel like one of the most stressful times of the year is that very first week. So, having a plan for the first week of school before school starts is incredibly helpful to start the year off nice and smooth.
When you are planning your lessons, you want to make sure they help your overall curriculum goals actually happen while also being standard based. You can do this with a detailed lesson plan that helps you stay focused on academics during a time when everything is going array. When you make your plans, make sure each lesson adds to the overall learning goals you set for your students.
Beyond having all of your plans made, you want to make sure you get all of the materials you need ready to go! You can make sure all your materials, such as books and art supplies, are within reach. So, when students need them, no time is wasted.
Have a Morning Routine Established at Home and School
If you start every day with chaos, you’ll start to feel a little, well, chaotic. That’s why starting your day in organized fashion is so important for your overall sanity! Where does this start? Well, it actually starts at home.
When you create a morning routine before school starts, you want to backwards plan. How long does it take you to get ready? Do you have to drop your own kids off first? What is your commute like? Having a morning routine that you do every day can help eliminate or lessen those days where you wish you could just go back to bed.
While a morning routine at home will help you get ready before school starts, you also want a morning routine in your classroom for the exact same reasons. One recourse you can always have ready is some morning work activities that you can use for first, second, and third grade. These activities can be a structured start to the school for sanity but also for focusing on the task at hand: learning.
Before School Starts Connect with Parents
Parents are one of the many unknowns in a classroom. However, you can get them on your side and on board with your classroom goals before school starts by building a positive learning space for their kids.
To start getting parents on your good side, send a welcome letter a week before school starts to introduce yourself, your teaching style, expectations, and goals for the year. This could help stop a future scuffle that might have otherwise been a much bigger deal because now they know what you expect.
Don’t stop after that first welcome letter though. It’s important that you find a way to communicate with parents throughout the school year. This can be through something like Class Dojo or another online forum. No matter what, find a way to communicate. This communication is invaluable. So, tell parents how you would like to communicate, set up boundaries, and let them know their opinions are welcome and valued.
When you get these five things done before school starts, you’ll start your year nice and smooth. In addition, you’ll be creating a productive and positive learning environment that you and your students can thrive in!