Teachers report back to work on August 17th – so we have 15 days of summer break left! *Cue sad soppy music…*
No…not really. I’m excited to go back and try some new things in my classroom. I’m also really excited to get a new class of students and to build new relationships. Anyway – on to my tips.
I haven’t had much time for planning this summer, after attending the ASCD Teaching Excellence Conference, working summer school, and then being a bridesmaid in my best friend (and teammate’s) wedding, I am only now getting started on school prep. There are 3 things that I have done that have made me feel so much more prepared than I was a week ago.
- I planned my first day
- I decided what supplies we would use for each subject
- I have planned how I will manage homework in my classroom
I planned my first day with the following considerations:
- Supply Collection
- Student Interest Surveys (something for the students to work on while you collect supplies)
- Team Building Activities
- Class Expectation Activity (include the students in the rule making)
- Embed Routines Throughout the First Day/Week (which requires that you plan your routines ahead of time and purposefully plan your activities and transitions around these routines, so that the students can learn them in context and can practice them. For intermediate grades, consider creating a document that outlines your classroom routines. This will be especially useful for new students who join your class during the school year).
I created a list of each subject that I teach and considered my teaching style and the procedures I plan to use for each subject. Using this, I decided what supplies the students will need for each subject area. I also planned out where we would store each of these notebooks/folders/etc.
I really like to stay organized and want to teach my students to be organized too. Messy student desks are one of my biggest pet peeves, and one of the most inevitable situations in elementary school. I want to be proactive when it comes to helping my students keep organized. “A place for everything, and everything in it’s place” is a mantra I hope to teach my kids this year! 😛 I might be setting us up for failure, but you never know until you try. So I’m going to try.
Homework can be so frustrating – students lose things they forget things…. it can be so painful. So this year, I wanted to be ready and prepared to help eliminate all excuses!
I am going to set up homework binders/folders (enough for each student, at least 5 new students, and a few extra for those students who are going to misplace theirs). Last year students had a take home folder and a spelling notebook, they would do spelling homework in their notebook and they would take math homework home in their take home folder. I wanted to have students do reading homework, but I didn’t have a good system and wanted to make sure it was meaningful.
So, I create some binder inserts to organize these homework binders with. The inserts are as follows:
- A cover
- A page outlining homework expectations
- Spelling homework menu (students will choose an appetizer on Monday, entree on Tuesday, and dessert on Wednesday. On Thursday they will take a practice test). There will be some lined paper after this insert for students to complete their spelling homework on.
- Reading homework questions, 12 for fiction and 12 for non-fiction. Students will choose 1 question a week. These questions are based on the third grade common core standards. Although I teach fourth grade, I want to make sure students can complete their homework independently, so it is more of a review and practice. Again, there will be lined paper after this insert for students to answer questions on.
- Reading Log. Students will be expected to read for 20 minutes every night and record their reading on a log. I will include 2-3 copies of this log in each binder.
- The last insert is just a Math Homework cover. My intention is to have this insert in a sheet protector – so that students can place their math homework in the sleeve for safe transportation to and from home.
- I am considering adding (updating/revising) the inserts to include a “keep at home” and “please return” inserts, also to go in sheet protectors. I may also include exemplar examples of each activity – to really eliminate any question of expectations and to help parents be clear on my expectations for homework. Let me know what you think?
Use the code BTS15
What do you do to get ready for a new school year?