The TOP FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO BE READY FOR BACK TO SCHOOL.
I could actually write a whole book on this topic. And if you've been a teacher you'll be nodding your head to that...but I thought I'd share my short hand ideas on the things I think are essential. Interestingly, some of these things aren't even covered in your teacher training. Part of the reason for that is because teachers across the country and around the world teach in so many different and diverse environments and circumstances.
But back to the 5 things that I think are essential to a successful start to the school year.
1-Classroom Management Plan
2-Games and Activities for special days, subs and rewards.
3- CLASSROOM DECOR
4-Music Program Themes, Songs and Dates
There are a lot of other things to worry about and take care of-but these are my Top 5
And believe it or not, I have a solution for all of them. In fact, 1 of my products has the top 3 covered. You can find #4 and #5 too and there are many stores on TPT who offer whole curriculum's--and if you are new, I think that would be a great way to get off the ground and teaching quickly.
#1 CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT:
My classroom management plan is PROACTIVE. That means that I'm clear on rules and consequences and I'm keeping my students actively engaged. I keep them engaged while I'm teaching them the rules. We learn the rules through games and chants.
I've actually already returned to the classroom and just went through all the basic procedures and routines with my students. For example, I have them line up quietly and then give me a SILENT thank you-in sign language.
It's a great way to transition the students from your classroom back into the hallway. And I think it's great to teach students some manners-like Please and Thank you too.
#2 Games and Activities for special days, subs and rewards.
I love to play games with my students and I've found that it's important to have a lot of games up my sleeves. There's short schedule days, reward days, double class days and many other reasons why it's a good idea to have some games ready. I do a lot of games with bean bags.
I also do a lot of movement and created these two products last year.
You could do some very simple guitar or piano songs-make a list of the ones you know. Print it out, put it in a clear sheet and start a notebook on ACTIVITIES, BRAIN BREAKS and GAMES. You'll be glad to have it when your brain is a little fuzzy--like mine get's right before a program or concert.
#3 CLASSROOM DECOR
Classroom Decor really get's the students attention. I have several products and bundles that I've put together:
There are many choices on TPT if you like more colorful designs. Mine's pretty basic as I didn't want to print in color-just black and white.
#4 MUSIC PROGRAMS and DATES
Something new that I'm working on right now is putting music programs together.
I just put out a PATRIOTIC PROGRAM
Soon I'll be putting out a DESERT HABITAT, GARDEN, RAIN FOREST, and HOLIDAY programs. Some of the music is already available at my store.
#5 LESSON PLANS and STANDARDS
Once I have all my dates in the planner including concerts and programs I can then go and organize my lessons. They are organized around the standards. My state has it's own standards and I've gone through them and selected the essential ones that I can teach in a school year. I also have I CAN statements for each of them that I put on my board, or I write them in...
Since I've been teaching 15 years-I have tons of lessons to choose from and have a sequence of skills worked out for each grade. I usually plan them by the month. There are many curriculum planners on TPT and I urge you to check them out. I actually use an excel sheet with the dates of each week and the schedule for that week and put my lessons there first. I do this every year-because every year is different. After I have my other dates plugged in I can block out when we'll be rehearsing for those programs or when we need to get ready for an assembly-and work back wards from those dates. I usually need 8-10 weeks to get ready for a program. I also want to make sure I'm covering the essential standards the rest of the year. As much as possible I try to correlate the standards between grades-but sometimes it's just impossible. I teach Keyboards in 4th and Guitar in 6th and I'm adding Ukulele's to 4th grade...so the standards and lessons are going to be very different from each other.
You might want to look at grouping your lessons K-2 and 3-4 or sometimes even K-3 if you are implementing new skills like Kodaly or Orff methodologies, and adapt them to the different grade levels as you catch them up on the concepts. I do try to block out themes for the whole year. This year I'm focusing on Multi-cultural music and we'll be doing some special units in the classroom as well as covering that music in our music programs. I find that the students love the dances and music from around the world.
This may seem overwhelming-but it's totally worth the time to do. Start with one quarter at a time and don't try to do more than is realistic.
There's so much more I could write about getting ready to go back to school--but I think and hope I've given you enough to get your brain thinking about what's important to you and what you need to do to create or implement one or all of these essential things in your classroom.
I sincerely wish you the best during your first week of school and hope that you'll be able to keep calm and centered throughout the year.