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Friday, 29 November 2013

Planning for Your First Day at School

Your classroom will be your home-away-from-home for the next nine months. You'll want it to reflect your personality, your educational philosophy, and your goals for your students. How do you do that? Consider some of these suggestions from veteran teachers.
Prepare bulletin boards. Most of your bulletin boards should be reserved for displaying student work. Simply cover the surfaces with butcher paper or a sturdy fabric and add a title and appropriate graphic. Depending on the grade level of your students, you might want to designate one bulletin board as a calendar board, which will remain constant throughout the year. Elementary and many middle school students also enjoy a student-of-the-week bulletin board. (To get the ball rolling, start with an autobiographical bulletin board of yourself!) For older students, consider setting aside a section of a bulletin board for posting the day's schedule, objectives, class assignments, homework, and upcoming events. Another section of the same board could hold a running assignment log and a handout folder (for students who are absent). For additional bulletin board ideas, check out the Education World article Your Search for Bulletin Board Ideas Is Over!
Set up the room. Desks and activity centers can be arranged in a number of ways, depending on your individual teaching style. You'll find some of the most common room arrangements, along with a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of each, at Creating an Effective Physical Classroom Environment, Teachers Helping Teachers: Classroom Management, and the Education World article Do Seating Arrangements and Assignments = Classroom Management? Assign seats, at least initially. It will help you learn students' names, establish mutual respect, and maintain classroom control.
Obtain student supplies. Depending on the grade level of your students, you may need paper, pencils, crayons, scissors, glue, construction paper, rulers, or calculators. You'll also need textbooks and possibly workbooks. Be sure to count them!
Obtain teacher supplies. You'll probably need (among other things!) pens and markers, a stapler and staples, paper clips, tape, rubber bands, a plan book, a seating chart, hall passes, and attendance and lunch forms.
Post classroom information. Post your name, room number, and the grade or class you teach, both inside the classroom and outside the classroom door. If you have a telephone in your classroom, post important school numbers next to the phone. Include the main office, the nurse's office, and the phone numbers of nearby classrooms.
Although not, strictly speaking, part of preparing your classroom, this is also a good time to:
Review lesson plans. Look over your first day's lesson plans and obtain all necessary materials.
Prepare materials for students to take home the first day. These might include emergency data cards, a school welcome letter, a calendar showing the class specials schedule and upcoming events, a syllabus, and a homework assignment.
Check books out of the school or public library. Start a habit of reading aloud to your students for a few minutes each day, whatever their grade level!


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