Thursday, July 20, 2017

5 Sanity Savers for Back to School



Feeling a bit overwhelmed as you get ready for Back to School?  These 5 sanity saving ideas will help you with classroom organization, classroom management, and more the first day of school and all school year long!  �



As you know, back to school season can be crazy!  There is so much to do and very little time to do it.  In my school district, we report back to our schools a week before the students show up.  That week is filled with district meetings, school meetings, team meetings, and even some parent meetings.  AND don't forget the year long curriculum map, weekly lesson plans, Meet the Teacher night, and a host of other things a teacher has to get ready for the new school year.

Did you notice that I didn't mention getting your classroom in order?  Where I work, we have to pack up all of our classroom materials for the summer.  This includes taking down bulletin boards and emptying bookshelves.  When I show up back to school in August it is like a fresh start, a blank slate.  Because there is so much to do, I love knowing that I have a few things that I don't have to worry about as I plan for that BIG first day of school.   I'd like to share them with you.

I have used my first day packet for a few years now.  There is so much that I love about it!  I love that it is a first day packet, but it lasts the whole first week!  My students keep it in their cubbies and when there is some free time, they beg to work on parts of it.  The packet includes an FAQ section which covers questions students might have about me, our routines, and expectations.  There are also sections to help them get to know me and some fun pages for writing about themselves, drawing, and a classmate name word search.  On the first day of school the packets are on student tables so the kids have something to work on while I am greeting parents and other students, helping put materials away, taking attendance, and all those other million things we do on in the first hour on the first day!

Feeling a bit overwhelmed as you get ready for Back to School?  These 5 sanity saving ideas will help you with classroom organization, classroom management, and more the first day of school and all school year long!  �

A first day packet isn't hard to put together, but if you want to save yourself a bit more time, I have mine in an editable version available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Click the product cover below to open the product description.




One of the most important classroom management tools a teacher can have is his/her signal that attention is needed.  I have a bunch of attention getters in my class.  I have a chime that I love to use.  It sits on the corner of my desk.  I have a cow bell that we use to signal students to get their mail out of their mailboxes.  One of the things I don't like about these two signals is that I have to move toward them to ring them.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed as you get ready for Back to School?  These 5 sanity saving ideas will help you with classroom organization, classroom management, and more the first day of school and all school year long!  �

Last summer, while reading blogs, Instagram, and Facebook, I came across a post about using doorbells in the classroom.  WHAT?  GENIUS?  I wish I knew who to thank for that piece of miraculous advice, but I don't.  What is so clever about using a doorbell in the classroom is that they come in two parts.  One is the actual doorbell button that you push and the other is the chime which you can place on a bookshelf or cabinet.  The button is small enough to fit in your pocket so that you can ring it wherever you are in the classroom.  The one I got had several possible chime settings.  I chose one that sounded like a coo-coo click.  I taught the students that whenever they heard that sound, they were to stop talking and raise their hands.  Not everyone would hear the sound, buy they would notice the room quieting and the hands raised and would follow suit.  Genius, I tell you!  Pure genius!!!!

Feeling a bit overwhelmed as you get ready for Back to School?  These 5 sanity saving ideas will help you with classroom organization, classroom management, and more the first day of school and all school year long!  �



There are many positive behavior reinforcers out there.  For the first week or two of school, I just use marbles and a jar...  AKA...  The Marble Jar!  Very low prep!  The class as a whole can earn marbles for good transitions, working quietly, etc.  Individuals can earn marbles for following directions, getting out materials, walking quietly in the hall...  you get the point!  The key here is that it is easy for me to implement.  It is visual and tangible for the students.  And most of all, the students are working together toward a common goal from day ONE.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed as you get ready for Back to School?  These 5 sanity saving ideas will help you with classroom organization, classroom management, and more the first day of school and all school year long!  �


I don't use the marble jar all year long.  The past 5 or so years, the class would fill up the marble jar so that they could start earning Danley Dollars which was our class monetary system.  I'm moving to a new grade level, a 5/6 split, and am working on a new positive behavior system that I am very excited about!  I'll make sure to share it here on the blog when I have it presentable.


Classrooms are digital these days.  Whether you are a one device classroom or you are a one-to-one classroom, you have to deal with students' logins and passwords.  Last year, I put together password rings for my students.  Believe it or not, ALL 32 of my students still have their rings by the end of the year.  THIS definitely saved my sanity! We kept the rings in a basket and students got them out when they needed them or we took the whole basket with us to the computer lab.  They were brightly colored and have student names on them, so if they did get misplaced, it was easy enough to find them or get them returned to us.  I've included a link to my FREE editable template for the password cards on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Just click on the product image at the bottom of the post to open it up in a new window.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed as you get ready for Back to School?  These 5 sanity saving ideas will help you with classroom organization, classroom management, and more the first day of school and all school year long!  �



The last sanity saver I'd like to share is how I manage classroom jobs in my class.  All of my students have a small job that they are responsible for each day.  I have a Teacher's Assistant, Light Manager, Chair Stackers, Librarians, Board Cleaners, and the list goes on...  32 students = 32 jobs.  Because it could be overwhelming to make sure everyone is doing their jobs, I also have two job managers.  It is their responsibility to check off which students do their job each day.  I tie this into our classroom economy and students get "paid" each month for doing their classroom jobs.  This might sound like a headache to organized, but it really isn't. You can read about it more fully in the blog post "Your Hired:  Building Community with Classroom Jobs"

Having all students help out in the classroom is a big sanity saver!  At the end of the day, if everyone is doing their job,  I don't have to worry about cleaning up after my students.  This saves time for me to grade papers, plan lessons, and clean up my own corner of the room.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed as you get ready for Back to School?  These 5 sanity saving ideas will help you with classroom organization, classroom management, and more the first day of school and all school year long!  �

If you are interested in starting classroom jobs with your own students, I've created a resource that includes the editable classified ads, job application, job board, check-off sheets and much more.  You can take a look at it by clicking on the product image below.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed as you get ready for Back to School?  These 5 sanity saving ideas will help you with classroom organization, classroom management, and more the first day of school and all school year long!  �

There you go.  My five Sanity Savers for back to school.  I hope that you leave with at least a couple of ideas to help your preparations for the new school year go a little bit smoother.  Don't forget to grab the Password Ring FREEBIE by clicking the link below.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed as you get ready for Back to School?  These 5 sanity saving ideas will help you with classroom organization, classroom management, and more the first day of school and all school year long!  �

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Feeling a bit overwhelmed as you get ready for Back to School?  These 5 sanity saving ideas will help you with classroom organization, classroom management, and more the first day of school and all school year long!  �
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