It is almost time for teachers to either go back to school or start the back to school planning process. This blog post will provide five useful back to school tips that any teacher can use and share with their fellow teachers.
EdTech Software provided me with compensation in exchange for this sponsored blog post. However, all of the opinions expressed here are my own.
1. Plan Ahead For Lessons and Meals
Take time over the summer to plan out your year. Grab a calendar and map out what you would like to teach during each month. Having a long term plan will make daily lesson planning easier. Once you know where you want your students to be at the end of the school year, it is easy to work backwards and plan out the skills they need to get there. My Pinterest Board on Lesson Planning can help you cultivate those great ideas.
Don't just plan out your lessons, be sure to start meal planning or meal prepping if you have a freezer to store prepared food. The first month back to school is one of the most exciting, yet exhausting times of the school year. Having your freezer full of food, or your meal plans ready will make your home life run that much easier. My Dinner Recipes Pinterest Board is full of slow cooker and make ahead meal ideas.
2. Develop A Parent Communication Plan
It is essential that you decide on how and when you will communicate with parents this coming school year. Will it be through paper or digital means? Will it be a combination of both? Start investigating digital tools in the summer so that once school starts it is all set up and ready to introduce on the first day of school. If you are sticking with paper communication this year, decide on your newsletter template and create the template for each month now. This will save you time during those rushed months (i.e. December) when the last thing you have time for is your newsletter. I teach around 60 students a year. I schedule out my time to call each family during that first month to introduce myself and share news about the classroom. Parents really appreciate that initial contact.
3. Find Engaging First Week Activities
During the first two weeks of school I spend a lot of time building a classroom community through activities that relate to the curriculum. I have complied them into this Back to School Bundle for teachers to use.
-Student Info Sheet
-Interview The Room Activity
-Dear New To Me Teacher Letter Writing Activity
-Letter To Yourself Time Capsule Activity
-Student Seating Plan Choice Card
-Classroom Identity Art Assignment
-Journal Writing Summer Vacation Prompts
-Interactive Story Writing Activity
-Back to School Bingo
4. Try Online Flyers
This year a colleague introduced me to an online flyer app called Flipp. It works on my mobile phone, tablet and computer. Use the search feature in this app to find school supplies in record time. A quick search for crayons in the app and I found seven different stores with crayons on sale, and it listed their price. Go to the app store on your device and download this great app.
5. Go Digital
This is the year to start using more digital tools in your classroom. Textbooks are heavy and can get damaged easily. I cannot tell you how many times duct tape has come to the rescue for a book in my classroom that needed repair. I recently found out about EdTech Software and their fantastic e-book implementation software. EdTech has partnered with major publishing companies to deliver e-books on school and student devices that the teacher can personalize to their curriculum. They provide 24 hour customer support for teachers and students so learning is never interrupted.
The teacher uses overlays (content integrated directly into the e-book) to enhance the textbook experience for students. Teachers can overlay: notes, hyperlinks, YouTube videos (that launch directly in the textbook), photos, video clips, audio clips (to differentiate), quizzes, and attachments such as worksheets or assignments. One of the best parts of this software is that you can link up your Google Drive items. I love using Google in the classroom and was excited that my Google Drive documents could be linked up for student use. Another tool I was excited about was the right click feature that allowed students to highlight the text or search for the meaning of a word. These types of digital learning tools are invaluable for our students.
To use this software, you need to be connected to a reliable internet connection, and have regular access to devices where students can access the e-texts. Both of these can be a challenge in some schools.
Check out this video outlining the features of this software. After the video you can try out the software by clicking this link Try EdTech's Shelfit E-Book Software.