I was talking to my friend Georgia the other day about how excited we were to get back into the classroom! After actually getting back into the classroom we got a little stressed and overwhelmed with all the things we might want to do with our classroom and thinking of different ideas of what to do in the first week (i’m sure you are all feeling exactly the same way we are!!)
SOOO… I thought I would create a post AND some cool resources to relieve some of our stress and yours!
1. Last years crap (we all have it…)
So if you aren’t a first year teacher, I’m sure you agree that you accumulate a whole bunch of absolutely crap that you really don’t need (and some you aren’t really sure where it came from). While going through my stack of paperwork and resources, Georgia and I found an old little doll… this is what we mean by things we don’t know where they come from haha!
The start of a new school year is a good chance (and excuse) to do a big chuck and get rid of all the things you don’t need. It also give you a good chance to create new resources and figure out what works and what doesn’t.
2. Finding a classroom decor
Picking a theme, for me (Georgia) was probably one of the hardest decisions I had to make when planning and finding my classroom decor. Once I decided on my theme (Harry Potter, Click Here to see our cute Harry Potter classroom decor and many many more) the fun part began. Going into the classroom, deciding where I wanted each display and what worked with the shape of the room. I decided to use my glass sliding door as an ‘Instagram’ wall to showcase my classes learning to parents and other members of the school community (more about that later!).
3. Setting up your calm down corner
This area within your classroom can be extremely helpful and definitely NEEDED!! A calm down corner is not necessarily punitive, it can also be a great place to redirect students when they need a moment to reflect upon their behaviour or reactions (more about this in PBL).
First thing to set up your calm down corner is to gather the essential resources to support students. These could include:
– Sensory object
– Fiddle toys
– Calm steps
– Restorative practices
– Mirror for self reflection
– Blankets or pillows to create a safe space
4. Tackling week 0
What to expect…
This week is a time for you to get to know your team and start to get organised.
For me 0 week was very hectic, but more manageable as I feel more prepared than last year. Meeting a new team can always be nerve wrecking as you hope that they will embody the same values and hopes as you do. I feel very lucky to have had two great lots of team members!
This week is also filled with meetings around what will be happening within the school year, what focuses the school is putting in place, different professional learning opportunities and
meeting your team! During this time you also have small little meetings with your team to discuss what our daily timetable will look like and what we should be teaching (which is super important!!)
This time will seem really full on and completely stress you out!! So remember to take care of yourself, sit down and rest… read a book!
5. Creating classroom expectations:
When creating your classroom expectations use the schools expectations as a base. This will make you job easier and the students will have a good idea of how to achieve the expectations that you set. There will be another blog post around this area of ‘Learning to learn’, so keep an eye out for it!You should also talk to your team about the expectations you are setting… this is really important, especially when you are team teaching, or differentiating lessons across different rooms. It allows the students to go in any of the classrooms, or around the school and know exactly what is expected of them.
When creating this ‘classroom code’ you may also want to look at what your students expect from you as their teacher. This is a good talking point around what our duties are as their teacher and what we want to achieve with them.
6. Getting to know your students
This is super SUPER important in your first couple of weeks! Getting to know your students likes, dislikes, working habits, little ticks and how they learn is so important in being able to run your classroom smoothly. During this time you develop a connection and relationship to your students, which comes in handy during those trickier times when they needs someone to trust and support them. Knowing your students will also help you to fill out necessary documentation around ‘Individual Learning Plans’ and “Personalised Learning Plans’.
For some really great ‘get to know you’ resources, visit my TPT store!
Love Mel xx