Monday, July 30, 2018

Back to School 2018

Teachers' minds are probably whirling around right about now. Preparing for the beginning of a school year is a daunting task. It should get easier with time, but somehow it doesn't. Every year there are so many changes and so many new requirements, not to mention the exciting but challenging task of getting to know a whole new group of students. For a secondary teacher, that could mean learning well over a hundred names. It makes me tired just thinking about it.

The digital age has helped teachers in many ways, but we still have to input all the data, and let's face it, many tasks still require paper and pen. In secondary schools, the first few days are chaotic because while counselors balance the classes, teachers must enroll students in their classes one day, only to find that they drop out the next.

Often, classes are interrupted by class meetings, fire drills, preparing books lists, recording locker numbers and bus assignments, just to name a few.

I suggest setting three major goals to achieve during the first few days of school:

1) Get organized (Class rosters, seating charts, student information sheets, add and drop forms, book lists, bus routes, etc.)
2) Get to know your students.
3) Set the tone for your class.

How can you accomplish these three goals in just a few days? It's not as hard as you think. Use my activities to introduce students to you and to one another and hone their writing and oral presentation skills at the same time. 

I have a unit that might help. One of the first things I tried to do as a secondary ELA teacher, was to access the writing and speaking abilities of my new students. I developed a back-to-school unit to get the new semester or school year off to a good start. Everything you need is included in this unit. Five pages of instruction for the teacher and a four-page handout packet for the students. 

When completed, students will have introduced each other to you and to their classmates, and you will have taken three assessment grades.

This lesson is aligned with: CCSS.ELA - Literacy.CCRA.L.1 and CCSS.ELA - Literacy.CCRA.L.2   

This assignment can be easily adjusted to meet any challenges you encounter such as unexpected class meetings, fire drills, and so forth. This is a fun and interesting way to begin a new year of school. I used it every year with my students, and we all enjoyed getting to know each other.

As a bonus, students can work independently and in small groups while you attend to the paperwork that accompanies the beginning of a new semester or school year.

I hope this helps you and your students to get the 2018 school year off to a great start. If you would like to try this unit, click here.

Group of students with notebooks

You will find several FREE resources in my TeachersPayTeachers Store. Come on over and take a look!

I hope your new school year is the best one yet! 

Thanks for reading,

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