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10 Must-Read Tips for Back to School Success

1) Create Bulletin Boards

I'm putting this one first because it is my favourite!  I love a good bulletin board.  Each year I search for the best possible idea, and change my mind soooo many times before I actually commit.  Check out my Pinterest board to see what's currently on my mind. 

2) Set Up Seating

This year, I'll be starting out with flexible seating.  When I began with flexible seating a year and a half ago, I created 4 posts on the topic.   I'm in a new room now, which is much more flexible.  I've been very fortunate that admin has been on board to support this venture.

In the past, before flexible seating, I've set my desks up in two's for the first week of school. I've also started in groups. 

3) Parent Letter

Draft something that lets parents know about important classroom routines and school procedures.  You might choose to also include a survey.  I've used this foldable version by Ashley Reed for a few years.  I love pairing it with Astrobrights paper.  Many parents have commented on it as well!


4) Sharpen Pencils

I'll be honest,  I do one of two things here.
1) Find a small child who is willing to work for candy or a gift card.
2) Buy pre-sharpened pencils.

You might even want to consider a pencil management system like my friend Erin, at Mrs. Beattie's classroom, uses.


5) Prep Community Building Activities

 Setting up a strong class community is crucial.  This post has several great ideas for building classroom community and links to several more!

6) Sort Supplies

This might be my second favourite part of school setup.  I love all the new supplies! With flexible seating, my students don't get supplies in the traditional way.  Meaning, I don't have desks that are vomiting out a mess of pencils and crumpled paper.  We use shared supplies.  Kids grab a bin and have access to pencil crayons, markers, scissors, and glue anywhere in the room.

7) Substitute/TTOC Binder

Prepare as much of your TTOC Binder as you can ahead of time.   There will be some info you won't know until school actually starts, but a lot of it can be prepared early.  Some of the info I have in my binder includes:
- Where to Find it (in the classroom and around the school)
- Classroom Procedures (morning meetings, inside recess, etc)
- Safety Procedures (fire drills, lockdown)


8) Emergency Procedures

From fire drills to lock downs, there are so many things to consider.  You'll want to consider all scenarios ahead of time, especially if you're in a new room.  My emergency procedures are typed up in my TTOC binder.  I have a class list on a clipboard near the door.  

I like this tutorial for simple window covers by Kindergarten Works.  My covers are on magnets, but this option would be really great for a wooden door.

9) Organize Class Library

My class library is organized mostly by genre.  Really popular series, like "Who Would Win", or "Captain Underpants" have their own bins.  The labels I created match my genre posters so students can easily compare.  Each book has a small label on it with an image that also coordinates.  Since I've started this system I have rarely had to rearrange the books.  Kids know where to put things back properly, and they do!


10) Rest and Relax!

Don't forget to take a break.  You don't want to be exhausted before school starts.  Mrs. Beers has an awesome post on the summer teacher refresh.

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