Here are my top 10 things you’ll regret not having for back to school time!
Start the year off right by reinforcing good habits. The Surprise Box is hands-down the best resource for motivating your students. Students earn tickets and place them in a basket. At the end of the day, you get to draw three tickets to pick a number and reveal what surprise is hiding inside the drawer.
This changed the dynamics of my classroom because students were motivated to earn tickets. They didn’t always win a surprise, but they were happy to have their name in the drawing. It really is a lot of fun!
You can read more about how I use these in this blog post here.
Student surveys are a must-have resource, especially for the beginning of the school year. I love that these are on Google Forms so that students can answer the questions, and all answers are submitted into one spreadsheet. You can print and keep this and reference it throughout the year.
I also created them on paper. You can even have little learners answer these surveys by reading the questions in small groups. It’s interesting to hear what they have to say about each question.
I like to give these surveys at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year. It teaches me a lot about my students’ attitudes towards subjects and their confidence levels. I keep them in students’ folders to create a student portfolio.
It’s helpful to use these during conferences to get students and their families on the same page. This brings me to my next suggestion…
You may not be having conferences at the beginning of the year, but you will want these forms from day one. Why? These forms include an insightful parent survey. I like to have my parents complete this form on our Meet the Teacher Night.
Parents answer questions about goals, learning preferences, etc., to help me understand more about how their child learns. It’s beneficial, and we can use the answers from these to help build learning goals for students in intervention.
These surveys also help me understand what the parents expect from me on day one. I love asking this question because it lets the parents know that I care, and it’s insightful.
Get these assembled during the summer and have them ready for the first day. They are so much fun! You never know what that first day of school will be like, so having these on hand for early finishers is a lifesaver.
We also use these on the first day to set rules for using our STEM Boxes. Students learn how to use them, when to use them, clean them up, and so forth.
This activity is a lot of fun! Getting to Know You STEM is a game I invented and can be used with my STEM Boxes. This is a student survey with a twist. Students answer questions and earn rewards based on their answers. Then, they are given a STEM challenge using only the materials they earned.
I love this because it helps me learn more about my students, and I keep their answer key to learn a little more about their confidence, attitude, and motivation. They think it’s fun!
My favorite part is the letter at the end. Students write to their teacher what they wish their teacher knew about them. It’s adorable and insightful.
All About Me STEM sculptures make the perfect display for Open House. Students answer questions about themselves and earn supplies based on their answers. They create a sculpture that is similar to a glyph.
It’s incredible to see how different each students’ sculpture turns out!
Even while some students have similarities, they will create unique sculptures that really showcase their personalities.
When creating routines and procedures in the classroom, we all know that consistency is KEY! It’s especially true when communicating with our families. You’ll want to keep it consistent so that they know when to look out for new happenings.
The only problem is that it takes a lot of time to recreate a new newsletter each week or monthly.
I put together this editable weekly and monthly newsletters to save you time! Instead of spending a day on it, add a sentence or two when you’re writing your plans, save the document, and return to it when you add more info. This will help you get everything you need on the document without missing a thing.
Plus, it helps to have several cute options!
Meet the teacher night can get overwhelming for both teachers and parents. It’s helpful for all parties to have stations that guide families through the event. This helps ensure that they complete all necessary forms and helps you to meet each family.
I like to use stations for a scavenger hunt on meet the teacher night. This keeps my students engaged in finding the next thing so they can earn a “prize.” Really, it’s just a bag of goldfish to welcome them, but this little touch helps make it fun for them.
Instead of using numbers, I used shapes so that you can use these too! I like to use ten stations, but you can make as many as you’d like depending on the needs of your students.
These checklists are essential for teachers. If it’s your first year teaching, then you especially need to grab these checklists! This freebie includes tips for communicating with parents, how to organize your classroom, and how to manage your classroom. Plus, I’ve included checklists and printables to go along with it.
These checklists will help you get organized and stay confident right from the start.
Yes, I recommend having these right at the beginning of the school year. That’s because you’ll be able to easily print the awards sheet and nominate a child throughout the next nine weeks.
I love giving my students awards every nine weeks. I make a copy of the awards and place it in their student portfolio. Again, we share these accomplishments with our families during our teacher and student-led conferences.
Once the nine weeks are over, you’ll be able to quickly complete the form and have your awards prepared for your class. It makes award time simple and easy!
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