15 ways for teachers to get organized for the start of the school year

15 ways for teachers to get organized for the start of the school year

All teachers need a user-friendly system to help them stay on top of the endless pages of assessments, reviews, and worksheets. Plan as thoroughly as possible, and if you don’t already have one, develop an organization system. It’s really amazing how many papers and grades go into the first year. It’s easy for a new teacher to feel overwhelmed and confused. Try to avoid these initial feelings by planning your lessons in advance as much as you can. Rely on a system that is simple and easy to use. Consider these tips when organizing or opening your classroom for the fall semester.

Remember that being well organized and having well prepared lessons are also important to a well run classroom.

1) Have a computer backup plan. Buy a flash drive, hard drive, or consider creating a Google Docs account.

2) If you are using a paper program, prepare everything you need to enter the school year smoothly. Prepare important dates in the calendar; wait until your class is established to copy to students. If you are working with an electronic system, decide on the rating weights or averaging system and establish the formula in the software.

Make sure you have a storage plan.

3) Have a plan for storing on-hand materials such as a stacking/filing system and a specific place to find those piles. Keep only 1 master copy of each file and recycle last year’s batch copies. Make sure you have a copy on your computer!

4) Prepare a makeup work plan and location that is ready for action by the first day of school. You never know when you’ll need it!

5) Choose a location for this year’s documentation. If you maintain an individual student file for each student, have an organizational system for each class. If you keep a separate file for each course or section, organize according to this system as well. Try really, really, really hard to have an empty file cabinet drawer for this year. You can at least leave the documents in the file cabinet and close the drawer even if you don’t have time or maybe you need to file in folders.

6) Old photos and newspaper clippings tend to yellow and become brittle. Laminate colorful pictures and recycle the rest. Libraries are a great place to donate unwanted textbooks and old readers that students no longer need.

7) For teachers in a team teaching the same grade(s), a shared file or folder can be useful for quick and easy access to worksheets. Again, these should be broken down into skill sets and items.

Organize your own additional resource material. This could be a teacher’s checklist that you consult and use often, some words of encouragement for bad days, or a list of reminders.

9) Have a folder of school policies and regulations. You especially need to know where you stand in terms of how your school handles discipline issues. Having this file easily accessible will definitely help you when you encounter difficult and unexpected situations in the classroom, which will undoubtedly happen.

10) If you are a reading teacher, you may want to have a binder for informal reading comments as you listen to your students read during the first week. Advance electronic assessments) during the first weeks of school are especially important in getting to know your students.

11) Prepare folders of letters to send home on the first or second parents’ day. You might consider a separate drawer with different letter folders.

12) Keep a folder of materials needed for each new student who may arrive a week or month later. There is nothing worse than running around the room looking for important materials for a new student!

13) If applicable, hang a bus list. Keep an extra copy in your folder.

14) Make sure you have a posted lunch and PE schedule. This is VERY important for students. Again, save a master copy in your folder.

15) Have a folder of blank journal templates for the first day of school. Younger students can write a letter to their parents telling them everything they learned that day. Older children can write a list of goals setting out their intentions for a good school year. Keep extra folders with blank seating charts, blank documents, and other templates.

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