Preparing for Back to School

 Since you are reading this page, you are on the right path to preparing for back to school---that is RESEARCH. It is not necessary to be a creative genius in order to be a good teacher and have a great classroom.  Researching what other teachers do is a great way to find ideas on what to do for the school year.  Here are some ways that I prepare for the school year:

 (1) In June, I write down management ideas that worked and keep them in a notebook.  During the summer, I go back to that notebook to begin preparing how I will structure my class. Here are some ideas that are in the notebook--

  • classroom jobs

  • homework routine

  • spelling routine

  • furniture arrangement

  • desk organization (mine)

  • student organization

  • time management

 (2) Next, I jot down some themes that I want to use throughout the year.  They are organized by season and month.  Here are some examples:

  • September: Community and community workers

  • October: Fire Safety (correlates with community workers) / Christopher Columbus (geography, cultures and community, map skills) / The Human Body (skeletons for Halloween)

  • November: Native Americans and Pilgrims (history, map skills, past tense, communities long ago).

 I prepare for these units by searching the web, looking through teacher resource books, and creating lessons/activities. (Take a look at the Themes section to see how the themes are created and organized.)

(3) Another thing I like to do is create activities for thel iteracy centers, such as Choose-A-Chart, file folder games, etc.  Check out the Literacy Centers Page and the Printables section for some ideas.  

(4) To make lesson planning easier, I plan the year's spelling words in the summer. Then I make an outline of the first half of the year's lessons. 

(5) If I come across any good ideas that I can use throughout the year, I keep a copy of it and place it in my teacher's guides using a Post It glue stick.

(6) Once I've decided what units I plan on teaching, I write down outlines, make notes, create lessons, look for books and worksheets, and put them all together into a large file folder. When I'm ready to use the unit, all I do is get the file folder and everything is ready.  


September Bulletin Board

"Our Great Bunch!"
Take a photo of each student. Have students cut out two purple circles for grapes. Once photos are printed, cut the pictures into a circle shape and glue onto a one of the purple cirlces. Write the students name above the picture.  For the second circle, have students write a few sentences or paragraph about themselves. Tape, staple, or glue the two circles together to form a book. Place finished "grapes" onto bulletin board. Add a brown stem, two leaves, and curly vines.

Classroom Management

Check out the Classroom Management Section here from Busy Teacher's Cafe.


Tips from Other Teachers

Some tips from Stephanie, a first grade teacher:

1) There is a first grade website, , that
consists of monthly windsocks and the pattern to make them.  There is a
cute one for back to school.

2) Name Glyph
   The students will use stencils to trace the letters in their name on
a paper strip.  They will use these directions to make their name.
1st letter-boy-stripes/girl-checkboard
2nd letter-do u have any brothers or sisters-yes-red/no-green
3rd letter-do you have a pet-black dots-yes/no-white dots
4th letter-Which subject do you like the most?
5th letter-How do you get to school?
6th letter-Do you like ice cream?
yes-black triangle/no-white triangles
7th letter-Do you like sports?
yes-black stars/no-white stars
more than seven letters color the eighth like the first one,and so on.
This idea came from the Mailbox magazineAug/Sept. 2002

I make folders for my students on Back to School night by folding a 9x12 construction paper then  put a carson dellosa cut-outs on the outside. I place all back to school forms inside.
To organize these forms I use a notebook. I bought pocket folders. I place each child's form and any notes that i receive from that child inside this pocket.  It eliminates papers from desk.

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