Ah, it’s that time of the year again. After a (hopefully) relaxing summer break, everyone is now back at school and getting back into the swing of things. As you well know, the first few weeks of school can be an exciting yet challenging time for both students and teachers. To ensure that things run as smoothly as possible, we’ve prepared this handy Back to School Checklist for Teachers. Enjoy!
1. Create an organised and simple classroom environment
This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s absolutely essential that you get it right, meaning it should be towards the top of any back to school teacher checklist. Before your students set foot into your classroom, make sure everything important is labelled and easy to find, including stationery drawers, your bulletin boards and workbook shelves. This way your students will know their way around the classroom almost automatically and can start learning as soon as possible.
2. Create an engaging class display
This is another one that should be towards the top of every teacher’s back to school checklist. While it’s all well and good to create a highly organised classroom, it’s hard to get students to engage in class if you don’t sprinkle in a bit of fun and excitement throughout. One of the simplest ways to do this is to create a class display. ‘But what should I put on there?’, you ask. Well, if you have already done some transition work with your new class, we recommend putting some of that work up. Alternatively, put up a colourful display that shows the fun aspects of certain subjects (e.g. how maths relates to space).
3. Get comfortable with your EdTech
While EdTech can be incredibly useful for reducing teacher workload by cutting down lesson planning and marking times, if not implemented properly it can also prove an additional burden. If your school has recently implemented a new piece of EdTech and you find you’re not 100% confident with it yet, it’s absolutely vital that you make some time to familiarise yourself with it before you start using it in lessons. That said, at Whizz Education, we make sure that sure that all our schools are comfortable using our multi-award-winning interactive teaching resource right from the very outset by providing each one with their own personal Customer Success Manager. Not only will a CSM come out to your school to implement Maths-Whizz, but they’ll also provide CPD-certified training courses for your staff, host celebratory assemblies for your students and provide expert advice exactly when you need it.
4. Come up with some icebreaker activities
No back to school checklist for teachers would be complete without some icebreaker activities. As it’s the start of a new school year, we recommend some collaborative games that encourage students to focus on what they want to achieve this term rather than on what they did over the summer holiday, so they are in the right mindset to learn straight from the outset. If you’re looking for some ideas for specific icebreaker activities, there are a number of resources available on the TES website.
5. Establish expectations
At the start of the term, it’s always a great idea to sit your students down and make your expectations for the year clear. We suggest drawing up a solid set of rules and posting them somewhere in the classroom where students can see them. Aim to start the year with a firm but fair approach, but as the term progresses and you get a better idea what resonates with your students, you can alter the rules to whatever works best for your class.
6. Establish classroom jobs and routines
Setting routines and implementing them early in the first term is one of the best ways to ensure a classroom runs smoothly throughout the school year. We advocate implementing a start of class routine for the morning, an end of class routine for home time and a set of ‘classroom jobs’ which every student needs to undertake at some point during the year (e.g. putting books away, stacking chairs etc).
7. Make sure your home handouts are ready
Your students obviously aren’t the only people you’ll be dealing with this year. Creating and distributing notes for students’ caregivers should definitely be on every teachers’ back to school checklist.
8. Lesson plans for the first week (and beyond)
Last but certainly not least, make sure that you have detailed lesson plans for each subject ready for the first few weeks of school. If you want to be super-organised, you could create a few extra plans, just in case your class progresses ahead of schedule.
What are your thoughts on our back to school teacher checklist? Did we miss anything out? Please tweet us your hints and tips (@MathsWhizzTutor), we’d love to hear them!
*Research by Whizz Education – conducted with over 12,000 students and verified by independent experts – found that students who used Maths-Whizz for 45-60 minutes a week increase their Maths Age, on average, by 18 months in the first year of use