Remember that alphabet chart you ripped off the wall in June? Well, it’s time to get it back out, again. Just as students are getting pencils, notebooks and lunch bags together, teachers are getting their rooms ready to usher in the new school year.
Although the task of getting your classroom ready is never easy, some have it better than others. Public school teachers returning to the same room and grade level can re-use the posters and giant notepad paper charts from the year before. All those notes you wrote for your students on plot, character and setting…yes, you can hang those up again, too! If you held onto your graphic organizers from last year, you can take them out again this year when you reach that point in your lesson plans. No need to re-write everything. Of course, creating new lists with students helps to reinforce concepts, but you do not need to re-create everything year after year.
Some private school classrooms use the opposite approach. Instead of buying classroom posters to be used as guides for the students, everything that gets hung on the walls is created by the students. This is done in an effort to help students learn concepts on their own, share with their peers, and take a sense of pride and ownership in their work.
Once you have all the assorted posters you would like to hang on your walls, you can start thinking about some other educational resources to add to your repertoire. The History Channel offers some wonderful study guides on all different topics – from Beowulf to How the Earth Was Made; they offer a comprehensive look into science and history. A&E also has a plethora of study guides. They take a slightly different approach, offering information on art, obesity and social media.
Along with all the traditional educational material you will bestow upon your students, you will need to have one other discussion with them. This may be a new discussion, based upon recent events in the U.S. The topic is school safety. What can students do to help protect themselves in an emergency situation? What can teachers and administrators do to help prevent a crisis? Schools need to develop a plan and everyone needs to sit down and discuss what should happen if a crisis (of any kind) should occur. Some parents have gone so far as to buy bulletproof backpacks for their children. Other forms of school safety include talking to your children about the effects of bullying, staying safe on a school bus, and environmental hazards you might find in your school. Whatever the safety issue, discussions between parents, teachers and students must take place periodically to keep the information current and enforceable.
Between getting your classroom ready, your lesson plans together and school safety issues in mind, you will have just enough time to take a deep breath as you bid one final farewell to the summer. Before you know it, you will be standing in the doorway of your room looking at the throngs of students charging towards you and saying, “Walk! Walk down the hall! No running!” Good luck!