Saturday, August 18, 2012

Ten Things I Do Before School Starts

These are things I do every year as a mom, plus a few things I am adding now that I am teaching, too. These are in no particular order.

  • I set a budget for school supplies and back to school activities (t-shirt, pictures, year book, etc.). It keeps me from being overwhelmed by financial surprises that hit all at one time.
  • I buy school supplies for Writing Club (pencils, folders, paper, composition books) - even the things I won't use until the end of the year because the prices are better now than they will be in April.
  • I troll around on Pinterest for bulletin board ideas, school lunch inspiration, etc.
  • I clean out my school email so I have a fresh start when the new emails start rolling in
  • I organize or re-organize my spaces, in the hopes of having a good system in place when the new year starts. In my mind, nothing is worse than starting the school year with piles because I don't have a system in place to maintain all the papers and information and ideas that are churning around during those first few weeks.
  • I take notes - lesson ideas, bulletin board plans, etc. If I don't write it down, I won't remember it.
  • I keep my to do lists close by at all times. The ones I started using this year have lots of space for note taking. I staple each week's pages together and carry a month's worth with me at all times so I can write down meetings or plans as they come up. These also help me visualize my schedule and divy up tasks across the week. One day, I left my to do lists at school and I felt like I was missing part of my body. Usually I wait until late December or January to get my calendar because I want a better price, but I will likely buy the 2013 version of this calendar the minute it is out so I know for sure I will have it.
  • I blog ahead - like I am doing now - so I can focus on my back-to-school tasks without the pressure of my blog schedule or without taking a few weeks off.
  • I wait a couple weeks to start Writing Club. This helps my students adjust to their new schedule and new class before adding an extracurricular activity. It also helps me do the same. It frees up a few afternoons to do set up, organizing, and planning.
  • I try to plan out my year, as much as possible, knowing that things will come up to change those plans. I also know, from experience, that some plans are going to bomb and I will need to adapt. But it helps to have a plan to start from. My goal is to have lesson plans done for the first 3 weeks at a minimum, with at least a sketch or an outline for the rest of first quarter, by the time I show up for my first official teacher work day.

What do you do to get ready for the school year? I'd love to hear your ideas!

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