A lot can wait when it comes to getting back to school ready. If you’re feeling pressured to have you room look like a Pinterest dream, remember that who you are and who you present yourself to be on that first day is more important than having a theme or perfect decor.
Here are my 5 must-haves for the first day of school:
- LGBTQ+ Visibility and Inclusiveness
- A clipboard (with paper)
- A seating plan clearly marked
- Sticky notes
- One goal for the end of the first class period
- LGBTQ Visibility and Inclusiveness
Whether or not your students ever tell you about their sexuality, they’re thinking about it constantly. It’s so important for students to feel represented and seen, not just in the texts we teach, but also in the atmosphere of our classroom spaces. I have a really easy way to celebrate inclusiveness below!
2. A Clipboard (with paper)
You’ll likely be jotting down random notes the entire first day (or month, if you’re like me). Nicknames and tricks to remember names and what students reveal they’re interested in offhandedly. Reminders to call parents and check in. I’m never without my clipboard close by.
3. A Seating Plan Clearly Marked
I post each class’s seating chart on a PowerPoint slide and also have each student’s seat number on my clipboard and taped onto the backs of their chairs. It can be really scary walking into class the first day and making this transition as clear and direct as possible is huge!
4. Sticky Notes
A great way to help students be seen right away is to place a note on their desk as you see them working hard, being positive influences, being brave, etc. If you see some students are immediately ready to be pushed, give them a little secret challenge on their post-it and ask them to signal you when they’ve attempted or accomplished it.
5. One Goal for the End of the Class Period
Obviously we’ll need a lesson for our first day, but I think it’s easy to get ahead of ourselves in what we want to get done. Everything always ends up taking twice as long as I imagined it would, for instance, and I scrap a ton of the lesson. So the more bite-sized the goal, the better. Here are some of my previous goals from years past:
Idea 1: Call on at least 10 different students during the class period. Don’t repeat anyone until you’ve gotten those 10 different voices.
Idea 2: Address every student by name at least once.
Idea 3: Say goodbye and have a great day to each student individually at the end of class by standing in the doorway.
If you’re curious, here are some pictures of how my room came together in the first couple weeks of the year!
As always, thank you so much for reading! I hope this post is helpful as you start to mentally prepare for back to school. See you over at @cobbleandbrick!