It's that time of year again. A new school year is starting. New and returning students are filling the classrooms. Are you ready to start off strong? It can be hard to be prepared for a fresh class. Get off on the right foot with these techniques and tips to help stay organized those first few weeks.
1. Get the Lay of the Land
It may sound silly, but you should take a good look at your classroom. Take note of the location of boards, windows and shelves. Count the number of desks. Are there enough? How's the layout? Try grouping desks together to form little islands in your classroom. This allows for students to take advantage of group learning, as well as give them the opportunity to work individually if needed.
2. Get Stocked Up
Make sure you have enough supplies. This goes without saying, but is an important step nonetheless. Are there enough textbooks for each student? Will some need to share? Are there enough pens, paper, notebooks, or craft supplies? What about calculators, rulers or microscopes? Keep a list on hand of how many supplies you have and need. During the first few weeks, mark off what's been used so you'll know what you'll need to replenish before you run out.
3. Get Labeling
Labels are always great for organization. They're functional and look good too. Put away the tried-and-true label maker and let your creative juices flow. Label paint stir sticks using your calligraphy skills and use them to organize books on your shelf by genre. Chalkboard paint or dry erase tape can be used for quick and easy re-writes.
4. Get Going with Bins
We've all been there. We've had the intention of not letting things pile up, but before you know it, you've got a huge pile of papers on your desk. Sometimes this gets away from you when you just don't have the time right that second to file it away. Get yourself a bin to put those last-minute papers you just don't have time for. Pick a time each week to go through this bin and put everything in its rightful place. Commit to the same time each week and you'll find that big ol' pile of papers on your desk was a thing of the past.
5. Get Familiar with Cubbies
Passing papers between you and your students can quickly get out of control. Build a cubby system to make this process stay functional. Use a shoe organizer or cube bookcase. If space allows, add short baskets to each cubby so papers don't get lost or blown away. Add each student's name with your tried-and-true label system. Use this system to share homework, assignments, projects, and permission slips with your students.
Your classroom is ready and you're set for the first few weeks to go smoothly. Instead of just jumping right into the lesson you have prepared, what if you started things off with a game. The idea is to break the ice between you and your students. It's also a great way to get even the shy students in your class to feel comfortable. Instead of taking attendance, play the name game. Instead of calling each students' name, have them tell you and the rest of the class. Have them share a short funny story from their summer to go along with their introduction.
Check out our pinterest board for some more great ideas: https://www.pinterest.com/classroomcompletepress/back-to-school/