5 Tips to get Back to School Ready ~ Teacher’s Edition

July 30, 2010 at 1:23 PM 4 comments

by: Jennifer Perez

I can hardly believe that in two short weeks, summer vacation will officially come to an end and I will once again be back in my classroom!  Knowing this day was quickly approaching, I have been preparing for going ‘Back to School’ for several weeks and wanted to share my 5 Tips to get Back to School Ready with my fellow educators! (Order of Tips does not signify order of importance.

1. Classroom Library ~ For me, having an impressive classroom library is crucial!  I enjoy scouting bargain books anywhere I can: Goodwill, garage sales, Thrift Stores and book fairs held by Scholastic.  I do my best to collect a variety of genres that will peak interests in my students.  At our school, the library is typically closed the 1st few weeks of school in order for Library Orientations to take place.  I don’t want the Library closure to be an excuse for my students to not have books to read.  Instead, I load up my library and make it as inviting and comfortable as possible with:

  • A lamp from home to give the library corner a ‘glow’
  • Pillows for relaxation
  • Reading quotes to provoke meaningful thoughts (and conversation with appropriate!)
  • Reading Glasses-these are old glasses with the lens popped out.  My students LOVE these and they LOVE wearing them while they read!

Summer time is the perfect time to start looking for books to build your classroom library AND collect items to place in your library to make it enjoyable.

2.  Building your Classroom Community ~ This is a piece where I spend a lot of my ‘thinking time.’  Building your classroom community is an extremely instrumental piece that AL teachers should consider doing at the beginning of the school year.  Building your classroom community will allow you students to:

  • Get to know their peers
  • Become familiar with their teacher-the rules, procedures and expectations
  • Feel at home in the classroom.  After all, your students may feel that their classroom is their 2nd home since they spend so much of their time there.  If they feel at ‘home’ then they most likely feel comfortable which is GREAT!  Feeling comfortable and at ease in the classroom is critical in promoting a ‘risk free’ learning environment.  The more learning risks your students are willing to make – the more opportunities they will have to learn!

3.Letter to Parents ~ Each school year, I draft a letter to the parents/guardians of my students.  I make sure to include:

  • Information about me: Name, brief background in my profession, contact information
  • Class Rules
  • Class Procedures ~ Homework, being tardy, etc…
  • Expectations I have for my students
  • Parent /teacher communication

Once I am sure the letter has everything I want my parents/guardians to know, I print out enough for each student and send home on the FIRST day of school.   In my experience, this has proven very beneficial because from Day 1,  to all stakeholders were made of aware of how the classroom runs and expectations for all students!  I make sure I reiterate to all parents/guardians that communication is extremely important.   I do my very best to make myself available before/after school, respond to emails same day and hold conferences once per 9 weeks period.  I truly believe that as educators we must do our best to work as a team with our student’s parents!

4. Post Cards ~ Over the summer, I write post cards to all of my future students.  I introduce myself as their teacher, tell them how thrilled I am to meet them and try to plant some excitement for the upcoming school year.  My purpose in doing this is to let my students know that I care about them and their learning …because I do!  Writing out the post cards will take less than an hour, but I promise it will be a memory that your student will hold near for a long time!  For me, seeing a my new 3rd grade student standing at the entryway to our room with the postcard in their hand is enough for me to continue this tradition each year!

5. State Standards ~ Review of your state’s academic standards is typically done once all teachers have returned back to work.  Sometimes, training will be conducted to show teachers how the standards have changed, been updated and what resources are available to you in order to teach the standards.  Woo – Hoo!

Knowing this, I still make it a point to review the standards over the summer so I have an opportunity to read over everything at my own pace.  If I have questions, I write them down and return to school with them to have them answered.  Knowing your state standards ahead of time will really make planning your lessons much easier since you will already know what MUST be taught vs. not!!

There you have it!! 5 Tips to get Back to School Ready ~ Teacher’s Edition!

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your summer vacation and get ready to change the life of a child!!

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 7/30/10

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Stacey Kannenberg  |  July 31, 2010 at 9:49 AM

    Right on!!! I have to share this one with my teacher friends!!!

    Reply
  • 2. imtjen  |  July 31, 2010 at 7:29 PM

    Thanks Stacey! Hopefully, they will find the info. beneficial! 😉

    Reply
  • 3. Jasmine Sepulveda  |  August 2, 2010 at 9:02 PM

    Wow Jennifer! These are great tips! Thanks for refreshing my memory! I need to start getting ready. I do plan on going back to school next week and at least get my room ready. 🙂

    Reply
    • 4. imtjen  |  August 2, 2010 at 9:13 PM

      No problem! I will be in my room soon doing the same exact thing!! Oh, the life of a teacher!

      Reply

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