What are the Must Dos for PrePlanning? Preplanning is usually a time filled with meetings, required training sessions, and beginning of the year prep. It is a fun time to catch up with my wonderful coworkers and their summer festivities. It is also a great time to start to bond with new faculty members. There is always a rush of fresh start excitement! And there is a buzz about rosters and students and just NEW NEW NEW. Preplanning is also a whirl wind of tasks! Some of us are extremely blessed to have only limited meetings and training sessions, while others must have their classrooms ready to go before pre planning starts. So lets break down the Must Dos for PrePlanning!
Must do 1- MAKE A PLAN AND A LIST
Make a list, a thoughtful list. It is just a smart way to keep organized and use your time effectively. Make sure you write down due dates for required items, like training sessions and meetings. Then, make a list of all the things you really need to do before you get a classroom full of kiddos to train and teach. Lastly, make a list of the things you want to get to,but the ones that are not your first priority, even though we really want to do them. We all love planners so take time to use yours now.
Sometimes I struggle to make sure you prioritize those things that can wait, even if you don’t want them to wait. I prefer to make to cute in my room when I need to put away my supplies in my closet. One trick I like to try to motivate myself to tackle a less than fun chore is to reward myself with one of those fun things to do in my room. Yes, I know it might sound lame but I tell myself to finish an online training session so then I can print out cute communications labels for parents.
Additionally, you need to make sure you are checking things off, but at the same time, your time is so valuable. Making a pile of everything you need copied THEN going to the copier a limited number of times. It is just a good way to work smarter NOT harder!
Must do 2- MAKE A PILE TO ADD STUDENT NAMES
One of the most time consuming tasks most lower grade teachers do during preplanning is those student names… the endless list of things that need student names on them. One solid tip is to number everything in your classroom then assign students a number. Somehow this plan doesn’t seem to fit my desires in my own kinder classroom. (I have seen it work great for others an it is great in many grades, it just isn’t for me.) Therefore, I suggest making a pile of items to add students names on. Do not add names until the last minute.
My school holds “Meet the Teacher” THEN I write names on everything. This allows me to ask the actual child what their name is and what name they want to be referred to in class. I do not have to erase “Grace” to write down “Gracie” on that students items. Additionally, we always add a few kinders to the list at Meet the Teacher.
Must do 3- Take Time to Plan Ahead
Take the time to plan out lessons for the first two weeks. Life happens fast you will most likely will not have much time to breathe much less make plans. Plan out great books to read, great basic lessons, and tried and true classroom community building activities. You will most likely not have your breakdown of math groups ready to be planned, but you can prep the start of the year assessments and maybe a skeleton of when you want to assess them. Here are some of the activities I prep for that first week of school!
Keep in mind that as you start to plan ahead, you are going to be adding things to your to-do list! Don’t let that scare you. Some moments will have you adding many things to do. Make to to grab this First Day Art Project Freebie! I do this each and every year then use this project to create our end of the year scrapbooks!
Here is a great tip I love to do at the start of the year as well, using Google Forms! It is most efficient way to collect information from parents that I can use over and over again!
Must do 4- Have a Few Essentials Ready
Have a ton of good read a loud at hand for the first few days of school. Books are a great way to invite learners to listen to you. They are also a step to introduce a topic, refocus little minds, and everything in between. I also like to use these lessons to start teaching students the parts of book, how to read a book, and how to take care of a book. Some of my favorite books include: First Day Jitters, David Goes to School, Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten, The Night Before Kindergarten, and On the First Day of Kindergarten. Scholastic usually sells great $1 book for the start of the year! You can also download these freebie start of the year reading notes here!
Have some wiggle music and brain breaks ready. Little learners have a lot of learning to do the first few weeks, and it can be less than thrilling. Adding some Go Noodle Brain Breaks or some Dr. Jean songs is ideal to get all your little wonderfuls wiggle free and ready to be engaged again. An added bonus is teaching your little ones how to go from a brain break, back to whatever you are doing over and over again!
Additionally, I am not a huge fan of worksheets, but I think it is important to have a few “filler” activities ready to go. If a new student walks in your door when you are about to start a science experiment, this is the exact experiment I conduct in the first few weeks of school, you may need to hold that hands on, messiness for a moment so you can talk to parents. We also have tons of potty accidents to start the year and students may not know HOW to find the nurse or bathroom just yet.
Must do 5- Grab Help When You Can
One of the biggest must dos of preplanning has to be… get help! If you have a child who can help, let them help. They can sort, organize, decorate, and maybe even cut activities! If other teacher’s have kids that are hanging around, recruit them as well. Remember all those names you might be writing? Maybe a super neat hand writer can set up and take over. Perhaps they can run some copies or even collate papers. I know even my littlest kids can help collate all those beginning of the year forms for each student packet.
Now that you know how to tackle PrePlanning…
Check out the Must Dos for The First Day of School here.