Thursday, August 27, 2015

Start-of-Year Practical Matters

A team symbol is a helpful way to communicate the learning/teaching team values.
Students may also make symbols to reflect their own learning goals. 
I enjoy the big think and ideas related to teaching school and spend a lot of time thinking about that, but now that school is only a few days away it's important to focus on the practical matters:

Weekly Schedule
Creating a chart for the weekly routine, makes it easy to plan
and share. I use a shared Google doc for this. 
It's helpful to make a weekly schedule template that you can fill in each week to share with colleagues and other interested members of the learning team. Creating and sharing the pattern of teaching/learning helps everyone to coordinate their efforts with impact.

Class List
It's helpful to make a collection of check-off lists online and/or offline to use as you check in student work, forms, field trip money, and more. It's great to give every student a number as that makes organizing all those papers easier.

Creating a class list with numbers and space for check-off
helps with multiple organization efforts throughout the year. 
Field Trips
If possible, it's great to send out one field trip permission slip at the start of the year to collect money early on as well as permission.

Class Websites
Updating the class websites prior to the start of the year helps parents, teammates, and classmates stay informed about all class events and contact information. I find that Google sites is a great venue for this.

Team Symbol
If possible, it's great to use a class symbol that reflects your class focus and values. Students could be encouraged to make their own symbols of the school year.

The posters, images, and words on the classroom wall should lead and inspire students' best efforts.

Organizing supplies in a central location helps students to access those supplies with ease.

All routines should be posted with simple language and images too. This will help students how to transition, get ready, and close learning sessions.

School Motto
Our school motto is Kindness Matters. There is specific school language and the acronym "KIND" to reflect that theme. I put together a coloring sheet to help students remember what's important too.

What other practical matters do you attend to in those days just before school starts? I welcome your share.