Preparing for Back to School

 Since you are reading this page, you are on the right path to preparing for back to school---that is RESEARCH. It is not necessary to be a creative genius in order to be a good teacher and have a great classroom.  Researching what other teachers do is a great way to find ideas on what to do for the school year.  Here are some ways that I prepare for the school year:

 (1) In June, I write down management ideas that worked and keep them in a notebook.  During the summer, I go back to that notebook to begin preparing how I will structure my class. Here are some ideas that are in the notebook--

  • classroom jobs

  • homework routine

  • spelling routine

  • furniture arrangement

  • desk organization (mine)

  • student organization

  • time management

 (2) Next, I jot down some themes that I want to use throughout the year.  They are organized by season and month.  Here are some examples:

  • September: Community and community workers

  • October: Fire Safety (correlates with community workers) / Christopher Columbus (geography, cultures and community, map skills) / The Human Body (skeletons for Halloween)

  • November: Native Americans and Pilgrims (history, map skills, past tense, communities long ago).

 I prepare for these units by searching the web, looking through teacher resource books, and creating lessons/activities. (Take a look at the Themes section to see how the themes are created and organized.)

(3) Another thing I like to do is create activities for thel iteracy centers, such as Choose-A-Chart, file folder games, etc.  Check out the Literacy Centers Page and the Printables section for some ideas.  

(4) To make lesson planning easier, I plan the year's spelling words in the summer. Then I make an outline of the first half of the year's lessons. 

(5) If I come across any good ideas that I can use throughout the year, I keep a copy of it and place it in my teacher's guides using a Post It glue stick.

(6) Once I've decided what units I plan on teaching, I write down outlines, make notes, create lessons, look for books and worksheets, and put them all together into a large file folder. When I'm ready to use the unit, all I do is get the file folder and everything is ready.  


September Bulletin Board

"Our Great Bunch!"
Take a photo of each student. Have students cut out two purple circles for grapes. Once photos are printed, cut the pictures into a circle shape and glue onto a one of the purple cirlces. Write the students name above the picture.  For the second circle, have students write a few sentences or paragraph about themselves. Tape, staple, or glue the two circles together to form a book. Place finished "grapes" onto bulletin board. Add a brown stem, two leaves, and curly vines.

Classroom Management

Check out the Classroom Management Section here from Busy Teacher's Cafe.


Tips from Other Teachers

Some tips from Stephanie, a first grade teacher:

1) There is a first grade website, , that
consists of monthly windsocks and the pattern to make them.  There is a
cute one for back to school.

2) Name Glyph
   The students will use stencils to trace the letters in their name on
a paper strip.  They will use these directions to make their name.
1st letter-boy-stripes/girl-checkboard
2nd letter-do u have any brothers or sisters-yes-red/no-green
3rd letter-do you have a pet-black dots-yes/no-white dots
4th letter-Which subject do you like the most?
5th letter-How do you get to school?
6th letter-Do you like ice cream?
yes-black triangle/no-white triangles
7th letter-Do you like sports?
yes-black stars/no-white stars
more than seven letters color the eighth like the first one,and so on.
This idea came from the Mailbox magazineAug/Sept. 2002

I make folders for my students on Back to School night by folding a 9x12 construction paper then  put a carson dellosa cut-outs on the outside. I place all back to school forms inside.
To organize these forms I use a notebook. I bought pocket folders. I place each child's form and any notes that i receive from that child inside this pocket.  It eliminates papers from desk.
I make welcome bags for my students, I put a pencil ,eraser, bookmark, and lollipop inside.  Then I sponge paint school designs on the bag.
I use the $1.00 minicrates for my my mailboxes(red, yellow, green, and blue) I have 25.

Submitted by: Valerie Young
Philadelphia, PA
Before the children arrive, I make up index cards in which I label animals on them. These animals live in certain areas: rainforest, desert, ocean, artic, pond, etc. I then have tables labeled accordingly so when a student selects an animal, they go to where the animal lives. This prevents students from sitting next to their friends. I've used this activity for the past five years and it works wonders to set up a new community!