It's almost hard to believe, but summer is coming to a close, and it's time to start thinking about back to school. Every year, I make subtle (or sometimes huge) changes, but there are a few things I can't imagine heading back to school without. Some of them are loved by students, some by parents, and some are sanity savers for me! I wouldn't go back to school without...
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... a Teacher Contact Info magnet
This is one that parents adore! A few years ago, I noticed a trend of teachers creating business cards with their contact info for parents to hang onto. I thought it was a great idea, but I worried that they would lose the business cards or toss them in the trash. Instead of a business card, I had magnets created with my contact info on them. I have had parents of siblings the following year give me the new magnet back, and say they still had last year's on the fridge!
There are a couple of ways to do this, depending on how much you want to spend, and what deals you can find. If you want to go the DIY route, you can print the information on printable business cards, cut them apart and attach them to business card magnets or add a strip of magnetic tape to the back. If you'd rather have it done for you, you can do what I've done the last two years, and order magnetic business cards from a printing company. I used VistaPrint, and was pleased with the quality. Either way, you can download a template to make designing your card easy.
... a Classroom Organization Plan
As thankful as I am for parents who purchase school supplies, keeping them organized can be a bit tricky. The first days of school come with more supplies than anyone should ever have to deal with at one time. Make sure you have a solid plan in place so that when those supplies start flooding in, you're ready to handle them. My favorite way to do this is to set up bins or baskets around the room, and have students sort their supplies into them. I like to use plastic storage bins that can stack together for storage once I empty them.
For community supplies, such as markers, colored pencils, and glue, I store these in separate plastic boxes for each group of students. Regular sized pencil boxes are perfect for markers and glue. Mini pencil boxes hold a pack of 24 colored pencils perfectly. This year, I'll be storing sets of crayons in plastic crayon boxes. I have students keep all of their other school supplies in a zippered pencil pouch in their book box, since we do flexible seating.
... a Class Information Handout for parents
This will be my third year using a flipbook for back to school class information. Every year, parents tell me that they love the concise, colorful format. This year, I am using Astrobrights paper in the Happy color scheme. I add a magnet strip to the back of each flipbook so that parents can hang it on the refrigerator to refer to when needed. Inside, I include my contact information, our daily schedule, homework and behavior plan information, class policies, etc. If you'd like to grab the editable flipbook template I use, it's in my TPT store
... my Teacher Toolbox
These puppies have been around for a long time, but mine is still one of my favorite classroom organizational tools. No longer do I have to dig through
the junk drawer my desk looking for paper clips or whatever other supply I need. Everything is neatly organized and out of the way in my Teacher Toolbox on the bookshelf behind my desk. I wrote a blog post a few years ago on how I made mine, and it has lasted since then. I still have the same labels on it that are shown in the picture! (The labels in the picture, and several others are in my TPT store.)
What are your must-haves for back to school? What am I missing? If you're looking for more Back to School inspiration, check out my Back to School board on Pinterest!