Back to School Tips for Teachers

Back to school is such a crazy, hectic time! It's like trying to ride a bike, but the bike is on fire, you're on fire, and everything is on fire (have you seen that going around the internet)? I have a few tips to help you get back to school while keeping your sanity, and some tips that will help you get off of the right foot with classroom management.

TIP 1: Transition from your summer to your school year bedtime and wake up time about a week before school starts 
This is a great thing to do if you have your own children too! It's not good for our system to suddenly start waking up two or three hours early on the first day of school (or to suddenly stop napping - just cut out naps before that). 

TIP 2: Use the first few weeks to develop classroom routines and expectations
Be firm about these expectations. My mom taught third and fourth grade before I was born and she told me she made a big mistake by being too "nice" and not being firm. By December the first year, her students were badly behaved and she had to crack down. One kiddo said, "Mrs. Mawn, why are you so mean now?" But besides being firm, students really need time and practice to absorb everything. For example, with classroom jobs, I introduce one or two a day and then the next day, one or two more, and have students start taking over the jobs I introduced the day before. The same for reading centers. First day, we try one rotation only. Then the next day we might do only one again, or try two... ease them in! Reinforce the success and give that feedback. 

TIP 3: Reach out to Parents
Yes, I know you're groaning internally here. It's so busy during the first week or two, but sending a short (2-3 sentences) e-mail or call (or send handwritten note) to all parents within first two weeks with something positive! It reassures many parents and sets things off on a positive note. This is especially helpful if you have to contact them later about something less positive. Plus, you might get a positive e-mail back! 

TIP 4: Plan Ahead BUT be Flexible
Plan ahead  - I always have the first five days of plans set and copies made, math books labeled, etc., but be ready to change things up as needed, Your students may need more time than you thought they would to complete activities, or move through things faster. They may also need more scaffolding and support, or you may find students need enrichment. 

TIP 5 : Start Talking "Growth Mindset" Early On!
I am a huge believer and proponent of growth mindset, I have many activities I have purchased but I do starting talking the talk right away. For example, you know all those beginning of the year assessments you have to administer? This is a great time to say things like "This is to help you show me what you can do  now, so I can help you learn a lot this year"  or "Do what you can now. You might not be able to do all of it YET, but you will soon!"
I have more tips specifically for organizing your personal life before you go back to school! Check  out that blog post here.  
Also, you can see what back to school books I recommend for teachers at this post!

Finally if you are looking for an easy peasy way to start the year with your students in grade 1, grade 2, or grade 3, the Back to School Starter Kits are your key! They are chock full of fun activities to fill the first week of school. Each kit has:
  • math assessments/printables
  •  handwriting check ins
  •  writing prompts
  • classroom scavenger hunts
  • get to know you activities
  • morning work
  • and more!
You will barely have to plan with these!
Check out my video walk through of the second grade kit here!

Here are some in action photos of the Second Grade Starter Kit. Clicking on any will bring  you to the resource on TpT!


Check out these images from the Third Grade Starter Kit!

 This is a good photo of just some of the activities from the First Grade Starter Kit!

Do you have any back to school tips? Be sure to let me know by commenting below!

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