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5 Things Teachers Should Do Before The First Day Of School

Have the teacher dreams started? Does your heart pound when you see the school supply section at Target? While you’re relaxing on the beach, have you defaulted to lesson planning over reading novels? To help calm your nerves, I’ve compiled notes about five things teachers should do before the first day of school – and I guarantee you’ll have a great start!

Things teachers should do before the first day of school:

  1. Organize your classroom

Kids (and administrators) love to walk into a classroom and feel the structure you’ve created.

  • Think about how you (and the kids) will move around your room. Create clear traffic patterns to get in and out, as well as to the trash can, pencil sharpener, and your desk/computer!. Make sure the ‘big’ furniture is in place before school starts.
  • Make supplies visible – labels and signs help everyone know where to find – and put back – their stuff.
  • Figure out your seating chart and how kids will find their seats. I use numbered groups, and each seat has the group number (ex, 5) and a letter (ex, A). I project the seating chart on the screen, and kids find their way.
  • Make bulletin board space for students to put up their work/projects. I have an “A” wall for my kids to hang up work they’re proud of.
  • things teachers should do before the first day of school organize

 2.  Sketch Out Your Year

I’m a HUGE believer in balancing planning with flexibility. At the start of the year, I like to have a road map for what strategies I want to teach, and what content I’ll use to teach them. I’ve found using sticky notes really helps – as I set up my plan book for the year, I create sticky notes for novels/units/strategies, and place them on the monthly page where I think I’ll teach them. Moving the ideas around is much easier when I don’t have to erase – and I like the physical part of placing the notes. Then, talk to your colleagues – can you collaborate on projects, share materials, or build curriculum together? Collaboration is much easier when you do it with a friend! Finally, think ahead about what facilities or tech you’ll need, and sign up! Try not to be last minute and you’ll find that your teaching goes much smoother, and you’re able to conquer so much more than you ever thought you could!

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Paper planner or digital?

3. Plan Activities Get To Know Your Students – And To Share About You

One of the most important things teachers should do before the first day of school is to think about how you can infuse a ‘get to know you’ activity for part of every day during the first week. And make sure you create a lesson to help kids get to know you, too! I’ve got some neat ideas on my Pinterest board, Beginning Of The School Year Ideas. Take something and adapt it for your grade level/subject and have fun!

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I surprise my students with Play Doh the first day – they make something that represents them!

4. Get Kids Moving On The First Day

There’s nothing more boring than kids listening to their teachers drone on about the syllabus on the first day of school. For middle schoolers (who I teach) that can really set the tone that your class is going to be B-O-R-I-N-G! Be that teacher who switches things up – I love to use stations for the first days of school. It lets kids get up and moving with hands-on activities, and I can observe and interact with kids as they work. Use this time to learn their names, to teach your classroom signals “1-2-3 eyes on me”, and to establish a student-centered classroom. You can read about my back to school stations here.

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Back to school stations can adapt to any curriculum or grade level!

5. Plan On Incorporating Technology

Teaching in the 21st century means meeting kids where they are, and technology is front and center in their lives. If you’re a veteran teacher, plan on how you can make some simple adjustments to use technology in your lessons. Have you tried Google Apps? Can you stream YouTube or Shmoop videos instead of direct instruction? What about trying lessons with kids using their personal devices? Whatever you do, think about your comfort level with technology, and find someone on your site who can mentor you. Join a twitter chat (#2ndaryELA is one of my favorites) and meet educators online who can give you ideas – and confidence.

things teachers should do before the first day of school tech

For more tips about things teachers should do before the first day of school, check out two of my favorite websites – Education World and Scholastic – they’re full of great ideas! And if you have any teacher friends, please share this post and add your ideas in the comments!

What other ideas do you have for a great start to the school year?

Best of luck for an inspiring school year!

 

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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Real Love In Real Life

Author: Bagande

I haven’t read Fifty Shades of Grey or any of the sequels.

I don’t plan on seeing the movie, and I’m getting tired of all the media hype. Watching women coo and drool and act like what is depicted on those pages and projected on the screen is real love in real life is making me angry.

It’s no coincidence the movie opened on Valentine’s Day – media strategists are clever that way. And it’s bad enough that people feel the pressure to perform and produce on a day created to sell flowers and chocolate, but to add in this portrayal of romance and ‘love’ as some sort of meter for what real love looks like is shameful. And confusing. And frightening.

It’s commercialism at its finest.

In real life, we should be doing the exact opposite. We should be showing what real love looks like, for our sons and daughters and friends and anyone struggling with how to find, define and experience love in real life, outside of the screens and seductions of the media.

Valentine’s Day has never been one of my favorite holidays – I wrote about my youthful experience of feeling like it was supposed to be something – to mean something. I’ve been in love with the same man for nearly 30 years, and I have to say that my definition of real love has definitely changed since that day in my early twenties. Now that I’m a mom, and I’m watching the hype about love and relationships, I’m acutely tuned in to what my teenage son and daughter witness as examples of real love – and I can assure you, it’s not any shade of grey.

In my world, real love looks like this:

* a dad spending the day on the ski hill, coaching other people’s kids so his own can have the opportunity to race.

* a mom painting her son’s bedroom, painstakingly primering over childhood scribbles so he can have a more ‘teenage’ place to be.

* a teenage boy spending the entire day with his mom, doing errands and chores, so she isn’t alone.

* a college-aged couple taking a road trip to Vail, cheering on the U.S. Ski team and enjoying being together under the blue sky in the mountains.

* a furry black dog, nuzzling your hand in search of some affection.

* a young couple strolling along the creek on a sunny morning, pointing out how ducks swim.

* a father and son buying wood fencing at Home Depot, planning a vegetable garden for their backyard.

* a teenage girl bringing her teacher a red rose, just to say thank you.

* baristas at Dutch Bros decked out in pink t-shirts and tutus, gleefully pouring coffee and serving it with a smile.

* parents driving to Vegas and Mammoth and Antioch and Los Angeles early in the morning and late at night so their child can ski and play hockey and make that soccer tournament and they will be right there cheering them on.

That’s what real love looks like. It’s not on Pinterest or the movie screen. It’s not in the pages of a book about submission and domination, or in a box of expensive chocolates.

It’s in real life.

And it’s really, really good.

 

Bagande (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusYelp