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July 7, 2013

Preparing for the New School Year

Written By: Brandi Jordan
Category: The School Year
X Questions to Ask Yourself While Preparing for the New School Year

Questions to Ask Yourself While Preparing for the New School Year

Need some ideas for getting ready for the new school year?  Check out these ideas by Tiffany from Sarasota, FL.

Planning for a new year is such an exciting time—a time to build on things that worked and a chance to change things that didn’t. As part of my planning, I take time to reflect on the year that just ended and ask myself questions that help me plan for the new year ahead. Here are some typical questions I pose to myself:

Questions to Ask Yourself While Preparing for the New School Year

•  “What role do desks have in my classroom?” In my class, I plan a lot of group work, learning centers, and rotations where the students are often away from their desks. I have a system in place that dictates what will be kept at the desks. I really like the idea of planning thematic boxes or kits for organizing materials for each team table. This past year I organized a safari theme in which I glued plastic animals to the tops of the boxes. Next year I will plan more of the same.

• “What role does my teacher desk have in my classroom? Will my students visit my desk for supplies or resources?” In the past, my desk was “computer-supply-paper-collection-central.” I found that if I were busy running something from my computer for use with my electronic whiteboard, a student would always “need” something from my desk. Next year, I’ll designate a supply zone and inbox for assignments in an area away from my desk.

• “What theme will I choose for the year?” I like to get creative with a theme that serves my purposes: one that aligns with our standards, the age group I teach, a state-related study, our school mascot, etc. When planning other aspects of my classroom, I tie everything back to that theme, e.g., management tools, room layout, team names, design/decoration, word walls, date/growth wall, etc. For next year, I am planning a friendly pirate theme complete with treasure boxes, a parrot Word Wall featuring a stuffed parrot and word bubbles with common parrot sayings plus paper crackers labeled with sight words, gold coin incentives, bulletin boards covered with fishnet and more.

• “What classroom routines do I need to put into place? What do I expect my kids to do once an assignment is completed? When will students be allowed to sharpen pencils? When can students use the bathrooms? Where do I want them to place various papers? How will I rotate students through learning centers?”  Each year I ask myself these questions anew.

• “What classroom resources do I need to purchase or secure? What do I already own that can be put to better use? What can I make, reuse, recycle or discard?” I like to make a wish list and watch for sales on those things I need/want. I laminate all posters, bulletin board and paper items to ensure they will last throughout the year, if not longer. I think about what I can create from supplies I already own. I make sure I designate a use and a space for each thing I bring into my classroom.

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