Updated: Jun 27
There are not many things that feel better than when you are a teacher on Summer break! However, if you are a teacher, you know that you often need to spend some of your precious time off preparing for your new class. Some of us like to prepare everything at the start of Summer break and some of us prefer to head into school the week before the new school year starts to organise everything for our new kids. Whichever camp you fall into there are a few things that NEED to be prepared no matter what age or subject you teach.
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This blog post talks about the three things you should have organised for the new school year that will make your teacher life so much easier. Of course, there are many more things you could spend your time organising and you can read about these in my other blog post, What Should Teachers Do Before School Starts, which goes into a bit more detail about other things you could have prepared for the new school year. But if you want to decrease your workload over the Summer while still ensuring you are prepared for the first day of school then check out these three things! As a little bonus, I have put together a Back to School Activity Bundle which includes everything you need to ensure you are ready for the first day of school.
Setting up & decorating your new classroom
Setting up your new classroom is probably the only thing you may need to actually head into the school building to do during your Summer break. When setting up your classroom think about how you will arrange your furniture, consider the age and stage of your children and if you are going to have areas in your classroom or mostly desks. If you are looking for more detailed tips on setting up your classroom, make sure and read through my blog post, Classroom Set-Up Tips or watch my video here.
Classroom Décor is another thing you will have to think about. It might be a good idea to already have a theme or colour scheme in mind. Will you go for neutrals or pastel colours? Will you have an animal or under the sea theme? There are so many ideas out there it can be a bit overwhelming! Especially, if like me, you love to scroll through Pinterest for inspiration! My Pastel Classroom Décor pack has a pastel theme which is perfect if you are wanting to create a calming classroom. This décor pack is also included in my Back to School Bundle.
When decorating your classroom try and keep things simple. Choose only one theme or colour scheme as having an overstimulating classroom may not suit all your learners. As the years have gone on, I have tried to scale back the number of labels, posters etc I have up in my classroom as I found if my classroom was too busy my children were not really able to use all the displays to their full potential. My blog post, How to Decorate My Classroom, talks about what makes a good classroom display as well as the 10 Class Décor items you need. These are the 10 Class Décor items I have found I cannot live without, and I have managed to get rid of everything else! Obviously, this is just my opinion and what works for my class, but I do love how un-cluttered my classroom feels!
Planning the first week of learning and activities
Planning your first week with your new class is another must-do before school starts. This not only includes what learning or activities you will be doing but also introducing things such as class routines and expectations. You can read more about classroom routines in my blog post, How Do Teachers Stay Organised?
Quite often you may spend a lot of your first week with your kids assessing their previous knowledge and skills. You may do this through more formal assessments or more informally through group or class activities. This year, I am excited to have created my Back to School activity pack for my new class. This pack includes a range of Literacy and Math activities suitable for ages 4-7 years old, which can be used to assess your children’s previous knowledge.
During your first week of school, you will also spend a lot of time getting to know your new students. There are so many ways to do this! You can play Getting to Know You games, there are lots of great ideas here from theprintableprincess.com. My Back to School activity pack also includes a range of Getting to Know You activities. If you would like to read more about what to teach during the first week of school, you can check out my blog post, What to Teach the First Week of School?
Organising your teacher binder or folder
Organising your teacher binder is another task that is definitely worth spending some time on before school starts. If you are inheriting a class from another teacher, you may be lucky to receive a lot of your new class’ information from them. However, if not, you will need to spend some time gathering and organising the information yourself. If you are new to a school make sure and check with management what the expectations are regarding your teacher binder. What types of information do you need to include? Is there a certain way it needs to be organised?
Deciding on a planning format that you will use during the school year is another task worth doing during the Summer. Will you use daily, weekly or monthly plans? Or all three? If you are looking for some organisational templates you may find my free Teacher Self Care Kit useful which includes daily, weekly and monthly planners as well as some extra tips on how to incorporate good self-care into your daily routine. You can download it for free here!
Back to School Bundle
Thinking about the top three things that teachers should have prepared for the new school year I decided to create a Back to School Resource Bundle which includes all the resources you need to help you prepare the very three things I talk about in this blog post! If you are looking for everything you need for back to school in one handy place, then this Bundle is for you.
This Back to School Resource Bundle takes the stress out of preparing for back to school and includes:
Pastel Classroom Décor Pack – 10 Class Décor Products
Back to School Activity Pack – 2 weeks worth of Literacy, Math/Numeracy and Getting to Know You Activities suitable for ages 4-7 years old (Pre-K – 2nd Grade).
Teacher Binder/Planner Pack – includes daily, weekly and monthly planners.
This Pastel Classroom Decor Bundle includes everything you need to create a calming, pastel themed classroom.
This Back to School Activity pack includes a variety of Literacy, Math and Getting to Know You activities for Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st Grade & 2nd Grade students to enjoy during their first days of school in the new school year. There is 1 Literacy, 1 Math and 1 Getting to Know You Activity for each day to cover the first 2 weeks of school! This pack will enable you to assess your students' knowledge and skills from the previous year.
There are 30 different activities, 10 Literacy, 10 Math/Numeracy and 10 Getting to Know You activities. Check out the full list of activities below.
Beginning Sounds - CVC, CVCC & CCVC
Middle Sounds - Short & Long Vowels
End Sounds - single sounds & blends
Which Word? - CVC, CVCC & CCVC
I can read - differentiated
Fix the Sentence - differentiated
Read and Draw
Read, Colour, Write
CVC Cut and Stick
Addition with pictures - differentiated to include numbers to 5 and 10
Addition with Number Lines - differentiated to include numbers to 5 and 10
Subtraction with Number Lines - differentiated to include numbers to 5 and 10
Which is More? - differentiated to include numbers to 5 and 10
Which is Less? - differentiated to include numbers to 5 and 10
Missing Numbers - differentiated to include numbers to 5 and 10
Colour the Missing Number - differentiated to include numbers to 5 and 10
Counting - differentiated to include numbers to 5 and 10
Number and Letter Sort
This is Me
All About Me
My Favourite Things
3 Things I'm Looking Forward to This Year
Things I Like About Me
This Year I Will
Classroom Scavenger Hunt
How to Be a Good Friend
This pack of Teacher Planner/Binder pages includes:
Daily Planners - 1 for each day of the week + any day version
Monthly Planners - 1 for each month of the year
Teacher Hours Worked Tracker
28 Days of Teacher Self Care Ideas
If you want to be organised for the new school year but are unsure of what to prioritise then this Back to School Resource Bundle will help you with that. This Back to School Bundle is for those who are short on time but still want to be prepared for their new class after the Summer break.