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How To Start The School Year Off On The Right Foot

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Teachers, summer as we know it is basically over. Even if you’re sitting on the couch or on a far away beach, we all know where your minds really are… the classroom! It’s inevitable. As soon as August 1st comes along teachers everywhere begin to get that itch and start planning for the upcoming school year. Here are some back to school tips to start your school year off on the best foot possible!

Plan, plan, PLAN!

If you know me, you know I’m definitely a little OCD when it comes to planning. Before the school year even ends, I’ve already gone ahead and purchased the planner I’m going to use for the upcoming school year. I get all giddy when my bright yellow box arrives in the mail, because I know exactly what’s inside… my Erin Condren teacher planner!
Guys, if you’re a teacher, this thing is gold. Heck, even if you aren’t a teacher.. they have regular ‘ol life planners – that aren’t very regular! Erin’s planners aren’t just stinkin’ cute, they have such a great lay out. There’s plenty of room to write out daily plans for ALL subjects each week! That’s such a game changer for me. This planner is seriously perfect and makes my school year run so much more smooth. So tip #1 is definitely to get yourself an Erin Condren planner!

Meet the Teacher

The first event that you will attend for the new year is Meet the Teacher! With that happening right around the corner, you have to be prepared. This is the first impression you will have on your new students as well as their parents.
I always use Reagan Tunstall’s signs to guide my new families throughout the room. I love that these signs are editable so that you can change them out throughout various events in the year. For Meet the Teacher night, I create a sign for the sign-in table, school supply drop off area, and where parents will drop off their transportation paper work.

Classroom Library

Every good reading teacher needs a solid classroom library that’s accessible for students throughout the year. My books are divided by reading levels and stored in book bins. I place a label outside of each book bin that shows which level books are inside. This helps kids become more efficient during their shopping time as well as know where books go when they’re returning them. Here’s some examples of classroom libraries from Kinder Craze’s blog.
It’s important to have routines in place so that your checkout process goes as smoothly as possible. Routines such as a shopping schedule, utilizing shopping cards, returning books, organization etc. can be found in more detail in my scripted Readers Workshop Lesson Plans.
For a more detailed post on how I break down each part of Readers Workshop click HERE.

Shopping Schedule

A shopping schedule is essential to implement in readers workshop. This example from Simply 2nd Resources has her student’s split up by daily shopping. In my classroom, I had entire tables shop each day. For example: Table 1 – Monday, Table 2 – Tuesday etc. It makes life so much easier when your kiddos have a designated day and time to get their shopping out of the way so they can enjoy reading time during workshop.

Shopping Cards

Once you know your student’s independent reading level, teach them how to use a shopping card in your classroom library. Each week my students shop during their designated shopping time. They take their book boxes to the classroom library and exchange the books from the previous week with 10-15 new books. This number will vary in your classroom depending on how many books you have. My students know exactly how many books and from what bins they can shop from because they each have their own personal shopping card.
I print these on card stock and have them laminated. I write how many of each level each child gets and change it as needed throughout the year.

Class Schedule

A class schedule is essential to keep you and your students on track each and everyday. Children naturally strive on a schedule so be sure to start the year off right and include some type of a visible schedule in your class! For a copy of these adorable schedule cards and clocks, click HERE!

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