Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Back To School Checklist For New Teachers

There are so many things to think about besides posting up bulletin boards, cubby tags and tying shoes. But what? We remember those first time teacher jitters. This back to school checklist really helped me. I was sure to ask veteran teachers for tips and tricks....and then came up with a few of my own. Enjoy!

The Back to School Checklist for New Teachers! 
10 Needful Tips From the Pros:
1. Get a list of all the children and parents names. Keep a cheat sheet in a cabinet but work on memorizing all the names as soon as possible!
2. Buy a few stacks of thank you cards from a dollar store. Send them out within the first two weeks of school thanking them for allowing yo to share in their child's life.
3. Set up simple, non- messy materials on tables when children enter the room for the first few weeks of school. Kids will need something to fun and engaging to play with and parents feel better leaving if children are engaged in play.
4. Think of some fun, even unconventional props you could use to get the children's attention during transitions or clean up times. A train whistle, kazoo, a silly flashlight, etc. After children become used to the schedule they can sense when activities will end or begin.
5. How will children be lining up or sitting at circle times? Don't assume all the little ones will know what to do. Colored tape is your friend until kids know the routine.
6. Give everyone a classroom tour. I do it as a group. We walk around the room and I tell them where everything is, what it's for, and go over a bit of rules. Keep it simple...the kids won't remember everything but it establishes respect for the materials and learning areas.
7. Be sure to tell them where the bathroom is! It is the most forgotten room! If you are fortunate to have one in your classroom be sure to decorate it with friendly pictures!
8. Keep the Classroom simple. Brimming baskets full of Lego's and sensory tables full of water looks inviting but isn't always practical until the children are familiar with the room and routine. I put out the toys, but half a basket full...Full baskets and such are for after we have mastered clean up times. If the children are doing well with can always add more to the shelves or baskets later.
9. Be sure to a knowledge kids feelings. Puppets work great in this area. I usually present a special puppet  at circle time and  let the children know he is a bit scared  and nervous his first day of school. I'll ask the children to help him feel comfortable by being his friend. They quickly relate to him and have ideas to help.
10. Don't forget to put the parents at ease! Have a nice letter or present a first day of  hand out of what the kids will be doing. The first day is very special. Letting them know you make play dough together or build sand castles puts parents at ease. Try to have special anecdotal their child did for pick up times to share with them!

Did we leave out anything? Let us know what works for you!


Leah said...

Oh My, I'm sharing these with the ladies I work with. What great ideas! This will be my first year teaching preschool. Thank You Much!

Barbra The Bloggess said...

Hi Leah! We are so glad! They have worked for us, let us know if you all have some great ideas, too!

Jenni said...

Plan on fun, silly books! They engage the children much faster and they love them!

Also...COUNT! When you have new children you aren't familiar with, invariably someone gets left inside the tunnel on the yard...after a few weeks your "teacher sense" kicks in and you just know where all the children are; but that comes with KNOWING the children.

Last, check butts for underwear. Can I tell you how many children I have had mysteriously lose underwear in the first week of school? I don't get it, but it happens!

Dan Gurney said...

All good suggestions. I particularly find the puppet idea helpful. Mine's named Archy. He's an important character in the early days of school.

(V.Kerr) School Time Adventures said...

Perfect timing! I need to work on transitions, great ideas!

Barbra The Bloggess said...

@ Jenni
LOL! It's so true about the missing underpants and diapers! I have had this happen to me twice. Usually with kids that are ready to potty train. The parents I had had a laugh. I guess because I had already established a relationship with them. But I have heard stories about furious parents. Yikes!

Barbra The Bloggess said...

@ Dan
Archy! Awe, I actually collect puppets so I have quite a variety. They all have names and persona's depending on the situation. I think my favorite is FOFO Bunny. Looks demure enough but his head honks if you squeeze it. He can tame any crying child!

@ School Time Adventures
Great! We love to share ideas!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Hi...this is off-topic, sorry. I'm asking for permission to use a photo on this post...the second one, of the child pointing directly at the camera. Do you own it?

I would like to use it on our site to talk about writing a "thanku"...which is a thank you note in the form of a haiku.

Thank YOU for responding!

AprilWayland at aol dot com

April Halprin Wayland
email: aprilwayland at aol dot com

Barbra The Bloggess said...

Hi, April Halprin Wayland,
Not a problem, would you mind giving us a back link to the site? We would love to link back to you as well.