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Preparing for the First Day of School

Janelle Cox

Back to School Activities for Teachers

Preparing for the first day of school can seem a bit overwhelming, but with a little planning you can make a smart start to the New Year. Here are five tips to help you prepare.

Create a Behavior Management Plan

Behavior management should be your number one priority. If you are a seasoned teacher, then think about what worked, and what didn't work in your past classes. If this is your first year teaching, think about what worked and what didn’t in your past student teaching placements. When designing your back to school activities for teachers plan, ask yourself, "Will rewards help motivate my students?" And "Do I want students to sit quietly most of the day, or be able to work in a group setting?" As you think about your answers, think back to when you were in school. What kind of classroom would you have liked to be in? Use this information to help you create a behavior management plan that works for you.

Write a Welcome Letter

Before school even starts, send home a welcome letter. This will give students and parents the opportunity to learn about you and your expectations for the school year. In the letter, include a brief description of yourself, all of your contact information, a description of your behavior management plan, your homework policy, a list of school supplies students will need throughout the year, and a brief description of your educational philosophy. Remember, this will be your first parent-teacher communication, so make sure that leave a great first impression. This will help set the tone for the rest of the school year.

Desk Arrangement

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Something as simple as where you place the desks in your classroom can have a huge impact on student learning and behavior. If your teaching philosophy is to have an open classroom where students work together in teams, then you will want to consider arranging their desks into cooperative clusters. If your philosophy is that students work best independently, then you may want to arrange their desks into classic rows. The way you choose to arrange your classroom really depends upon your educational philosophy, and reflects your goals for the classroom.

Classroom Routines and Procedures

Starting on the first day of school, as part of your back to school activities for teachers, it is imperative that you implement a classroom routine, and teach students all classroom procedures. This may take a few weeks to really run smoothly, but if you go over routines and procedures each day, you will be happy once students grasp what is expected of them. Make sure to explain classroom routines and procedures clearly, and post them somewhere visible in the classroom. If students forget the dismissal procedure, all you have to do is direct them to the poster that has the directions on it.

Emergency Folder

Make sure that you have an emergency substitute folder already in place by the first day of school. There will come a time when an unforeseen circumstance arises, and you may not be able to have time to leave the substitute lesson plans. In this packet include: quick lessons, worksheets, class list, schedule, and routine, behavior management plan, school policies and procedures, important student information such as food allergies, and teaching colleagues’ contact information. Always keep this packet on your desk in case of an emergency. This is something quick and easy that you can do before school even starts.

How do you prepare for the first day of school? What are your back to school activities for teachers? Do you have any tips or ideas that can help fellow teachers? Please leave your suggestions in the comment section below. 

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