Free Tools and Tips for a Successful School Year

Free Tools and Tips for a Successful School Year | A collection of tips, tools, and resources to help you get the school year off to a successful start. |

It's back to school time. Many teachers are well into their new school year, while others are still prepping for those littles ones still to come. No matter where you are in the back to school hustle and bustle, the bloggers from The Primary Pack would like to help get your school year off to a positive start.

We're throwing a 3...2...1... Back to School Bash. Each member of The Pack will give you three teacher tips, two giveaways (one on each of our blogs and one large prize from The Pack), and one freebie. To enter our big giveaway, you need to start at The Primary Pack. As you hop through each of our blogs, you will collect a total of 28 letters that spell out a secret code. When you've collected all letters, you'll be directed back to The Primary Pack's post where you can enter the message to win! Just be sure you visit each blog in order so that you collect the correct code!

 Let's get started!


TIP #1

1. Create a sub binder. Have this ready to go even before the school year begins. Trust me - you'll thank both me and yourself later! You never know when that unexpected sickness will hit, car battery will die, or a little one brings home a bug from school. Being prepared for a substitute, especially one that is unplanned, is one of the best time saving tips I can give any teacher. For more details on how I prepared for substitutes, including having emergency sub plans ready and what to include in your sub binder, check out this post


TIP #2

2. Create "New Student Packs." In my last school, turnover was high. Each year, I would have anywhere between seven and twelve new students. For years, I would receive a notice that I'd be gaining a new student the day before he was set to come and spend an hour that night preparing for his arrival. It wasn't until a few years of this scrambling that I got smart and began preparing well in advance.

At the beginning of the school year, I would make at least ten extra sets of everything - new student information sheets, parent letters, initial newsletters, emergency forms, blank cubby and desk labels, folders, binders, journals, agendas, etc. I put each set in a separate gallon-sized plastic bag along with a few special pencils, erasers, and other welcome trinkets. When I received notice of a new student, I simply pulled out one of the bags, labeled the items, and set them out for the new student. Super simple! 

I continued this idea for content specific materials, such as interactive notebooks. During the year, I would have a few of my students who worked quickly glue important notes or pieces into spare notebooks after they finished their own. When a new student arrived, I was able to give him a notebook that was up to date and contained all of the same information as everyone else. No more trying to get anyone caught up on their very first day or having a new student feel left out because he didn't have the same notes as the rest of the class. (Also great for keeping those fast finishers busy!)


TIP #3

3. Proactively manage behavior. If you've been teaching for any length of time, you know that, no matter what, you will have behavior issues during the year. While you can't avoid every problem, there are several steps you can take to avoid most issues before they even occur. For details, read my recent post on 6 Steps to Reaching Your Most Difficult Students


There are your tips - now for the freebie! 

Included in my Back to School Getting to Know You and Read Aloud Activity Pack is an activity called "Snowballs." 

Have a timid group? Snowballs are sure to change that! Students write a fact about themselves before crumpling their papers and throwing them across the room. They run to find a “snowball” near them and read what is written on the page.

After sharing a few with the class, students add a second fact about themselves to their new papers and set them soaring. This repeats until students have written ten separate facts on ten different pages. Click here or the image below to download it for free. But be warned - it’s a surefire way to get a class talking!


Now for the best part - the giveaways!  





I've collected even more resources for you on a Back to School Pinterest board.



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Next up is Stories and Songs in Second. Click here to keep the hop going!