The First Week of School

I was planning my back to school purchases for my classroom the other day, and remembered back to my first year of teaching.  I had no idea what to buy, and as a result I purchased a ton of things I had no need for.  The worst part was that within weeks of the year beginning, I discovered materials that I truly needed.

So I decided to dedicate this blog to some back to school advice for new teachers.  If you’re not sure what to buy. . . then wait.  Even though you’re watching all of the back to school ads on TV, and a lot of supplies are on sale, you still don’t know what supplies you will truly need.  In addition, you don’t know which supplies your students will come to school with.  My first year, I spent a ton of money on crayons and markers only to discover that most of my students had come to school with their own. 

The only exception of course would be tools you used during your student teaching that you know will be a part of your regular teaching.  In addition, if you have had the opportunity to speak with members of your grade level team they may have some good tips.  That being said, however, there will be some differences between grade level classrooms – for example I like glue sticks and my teaching partners prefer liquid glue.  It seems silly, but we all have our preferences.  So, while you’re still learning yours hold off on spending a ton of cash.

So what should you spend these last few weeks doing?   Your time will be most effective right now planning that first week of school.  Actual activities you will do with your students.  I recommend over planning.  It’s better to have more planned than you can actually get to, than to be left with an hour and no idea what you are going to do with your new class. 

The first few days are crucial to building a strong sense of community with your students, and for setting up the rules and procedures for your classroom.  I always plan a ton of activities to help students (and myself) learn one another’s names, learn more about one another, and learn our rules, consequences and procedures.  After over planning all of my activities, I go through the actual lessons and number the activities in order of importance.  This way, I make sure I get through the most important activities, and if there is time we can complete the others.  If I miss an important activity on Monday, I simply push it into Tuesday.  By the end of the week, I’ve always covered what was most important and my students leave happy and confident after a very positive first week back. 
Happy Planning!!


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