Looking to start the year off right? Check out my 5 tried and true favorite tips for a great school year.
Save Extras for a Great School Year
Create extra folders for the new students that show up at your classroom door at 10 am on a Tuesday. Pick a cabinet or dedicate a shelf in your closet to make room. Try to secure at least 1-2 copies of each textbook. Label the journals and folders. I even suggest using a little zip lock bag with pencils and scissors to help new students get through the day. Lastly put ALL the back-to-school forms, welcome letters, and permission slips in a special folder to give new parents when they drop their child off or to send home the first day. Having it all prepared makes the new student feel welcomed while making it easier for you to play a fun ice breaker game for them instead of feeling stressed and printing and looking for supplies.
Emergency Sub Plans
Make them yourself or buy a no prep print and go to lesson from Teachers Pay Teachers. Check out my 3rd grade and 5th grade lessons if you would like something easy to use. My school started requiring them to be updated quarterly but even if your school doesn’t, I highly recommend it as a practice you should adopt for your classroom. Learn more about sub plans here.
Weekly math homework is the best.
My school provided daily homework that reviewed what was covered in class that day but often students went home practicing something they hadn’t mastered yet. Not good! I was frustrated. Parents were frustrated. Students were confused. I started switching to weekly homework as a review of previous standards a few years ago but only had time to do it the weeks I was ahead and could make it myself. All the spiral reviews online had standards we hadn’t covered yet so I didn’t feel comfortable sending them home. Finally, I made a 3rd grade and 5th grade set that covers one standard a week and includes all standards. I loved using this instead! You can read more about why weekly homework is the way to go and download a FREE week here.
Plan centers one day at a time.
Don’t fall into the Sunday scaries time trap of planning centers for hours trying to make it work perfectly. Planning centers daily takes 5-10 minutes tops and is more flexible which leads to you actually meeting the needs of your students not just appeasing the administration. You can learn more and grab your free planning tool here.
Use a parent communication program like class dojo.
I’ve used lots of ways to communicate with families, but Class Dojo was my favorite. Parents loved it! I had the most parental involvement those years and it made switching to virtual during Covid so much easier. I had a quick way to contact all the families of my students. Definitely check it out if you aren’t using anything currently.
I hope one of these tips has been helpful to you for the upcoming school year. Let me know in the comments below which one is your favorite.