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Dr. Tisha Shipley has been in education for 17 years. She has taught Pre-K, Kindergarten, Gifted and Talented 3rd-6th Grades, Dr. Shipley was an elementary principal, a cheer coach, and was on...
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What Can Teachers Do to Get Ready For School?

Every summer I tried to prioritize what I was going to do to get ready for the next school year.  I wanted my classroom to be engaging, fun, inviting and a place that I wanted to be each day.  This will give you ideas on things you can do this summer to refresh for the fall And Prepare for a fantastic first week of school!

  1. Pick a theme:  Each year I liked to have a new classroom theme.  Some that I have used before are: Jungle, Smiley Faces, Oklahoma, Beach etc). I liked to have something fresh to look at and even try each year. I wanted my classroom to be fun and engaging for my students, families and even myself.  Teachers spend a lot of time in their classrooms so it should be homey and warm.  This theme would be separate from what my thematic units were each week and added to the classroom décor and atmosphere. I wanted my room to not only be fun and engaging but look fun and engaging (don’t forget that first impressions are what people remember)!
  2. Review your curriculum: Is there anything new out that you want to try? I changed, added or redeveloped my curriculum often.  Some curriculum that I have tried are Frog Street Press, Literacy First, Letter People, and I developed Classroom Mascots which I developed a small curriculum on my own. Find something you believe in and that works for you and your students.
  3. Professional Development:  This was one of my favorite things to do in the summer because it always refreshed me, my thinking and my teaching practices.  It also gave me up to date ideas and curriculum that works.  Some that I have really enjoyed are: Dr. Jean, NAEYC, Great Expectations, Bal-A-Vis-X Training,  and Parents as Teachers. Often times we have to use the curriculum our school requires, but you can always add things to make it better.
  4. Pinterest :  I think its important for teachers to get ideas from colleagues and peers.  This includes finding websites that showcase other’s work.  This also gives you the opportunity to showcase your classroom and what you love and believe in. I enjoy searching the internet for different way to set up a classroom, centers and even field trip ideas.  You can also find great articles like Tips and Tricks for Back to School while doing a search on how to have a great school year!
  5. Start a Website: A website is a great way to keep families informed, for you to share your ideas and what is happening in the classroom, and even to start a blog.  There are numerous possibilities for a classroom website.  Here is my personal classroom website: Busy Classroom
  6. Start Social Media: Almost everyone I know has social media sites. My early childhood professional social media sites are some of my favorite ways to collaborate with other professionals and keep families informed.  I have a LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Blog, Website and YouTube Channel.  Here is my page to go straight to the links.  Try to make ONE this summer and have your families follow you!  This article on Involving Families Through Social Media goes more in-depth on the ideas.
  7. Research new and innovative ways to reach families:  It is important that we stay abreast on current topics and ideas happening in education. Social media is one great way to reach families.  There are several options of alerts and text messaging for families, virtual pages, bulletin boards, digital portfolios and  Parent Parties than can keep families engaged.
  8. Reorganize your classroom set up (Environment).  Reorganization can mean many things.  Going through old and used materials, cleaning up your environment, painting, new bulletin boards, and even a new chair for you to sit in will make you excited about starting the year.  Do something or find something that makes you happy.  This can even mean decorating the door to your classroom.
  9. Go to garage sales/Goodwill: These are great places to find new furniture, book shelves, books and pretty much anything you want for your classroom for cheap.
  10. Be a Great Teacher: Great teachers inspire to change a child’s life.  They build relationships with families and they take the time to get to know each student individually. The ten ideas in this article go a long way in getting ready and even excited about the new school year!

This list is very basic and minimal.  There are so many things you can do to get ready and refreshed for next year. Good luck and have fun, make it the best year yet!

~ Tisha