Plan ahead and make back-to-school pop

By Joanne Sallay

President, Teachers on Call Canada

Back-to-school season is around the corner. It’s not just students who begin to get butterflies; teachers do too! Planning ahead helps to ease the transition, leaving educators feeling organized with plenty of time to focus on new students, lesson planning – and teaching, of course!

Here are five tips for teachers to get a head start before the bell rings in September:

Scan the supply stash
Take stock of your current classroom supplies. Consider the types of activities your class may engage in during the first term of school and then create a back-to-school shopping wish list. You’ll want to keep in mind student supplies (e.g., glue sticks, pencils, sharpeners, etc.) and teacher supplies (e.g., dry-erase markers, pens, pencils, stickers, etc.). This will help budget your school dollars on the new items needed and leave you feeling well-prepared.

Bulletin board chic
Bulletin boards are not only functional, they can be stylish too. They are the perfect place to showcase student work and house classroom expectations. This space can even act as a third teacher to display words and leave lesson examples for review. Give your board a makeover by choosing a solid colour for the base and then decorating with vibrant borders to make the display stand out.

Map out the space
Get set up before day one by thinking about the set-up of your classroom and how best to utilize the space. Where should the desks go? Is there a classroom library? Will you have a carpet? Once you’ve laid out the primary areas, educators can create shared supply bins filled with the appropriate tools (e.g., pencils, erasers, glue sticks, etc.) to ensure students have easy, independent access to the materials they need to learn.

Plan ahead
It’s time to pull out the Teacher’s Planner. The next step is to revisit lessons that went well from past years, and make tweaks and additions before slotting them into your schedule. Take the time to fill out your plans for at least the first few weeks of school and prioritize the teaching materials. This will allow you to focus on getting to know your new students.

Have fun
Remember to have fun in the process. While everyone loves the summer break, back-to-school is an exciting time to meet new people, explore fall fashion, and stock up on colourful supplies!

The secret to a successful school year is in having a plan. The more organized you are before the classroom doors open in September, the more prepared you will feel to embrace the challenges of the year ahead!

Stay updated with all things Staples this summer by checking out our back to school centre here at www.staples.ca/bts

About the Author: Joanne Sallay is an education expert and President at Teachers on Call, an award-winning home tutoring service providing one-on-one instruction in all subjects and grades.

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