Saturday, August 11, 2012

Back to School

Well, it's time.  The summer has flown by.  It's time to shake off the cobwebs and get back to it!  For me, this is the 35th time I've been on the teacher side of "Back to School".  It is always a little bitter-sweet.  Summer is just so wonderful, with a relaxed attitude and schedule, but it is so exciting and fun to start again with a whole classroom full of new possibilities.  I don't know any other profession that has so many opportunities to "start". 

One thing that really helps with the craziness of starting over, is to have a standard back to school to-do list.  You know, the things that you need to do every year, but since you only do them once a year, it's easy to forget.  Things like supplies to get from office, copying your parent info packet, making desk top name tags, etc.

I also like to have some items calendared for the entire year.  I always make a year-long plan for my small-group reading instruction.  I select comprehension skill to be emphasized, the reading text that will be used (a combination of selections from 3 different reading basals and various trade books), and determine how many days will be spent on the lesson.  By the way, I don't believe in ever throwing away basal reading texts.  You can ALWAYS use the selections from basal readers.

I usually have a math calendar in place, as well.  This is based on the pacing guide from my district, and core concepts and skills that drive the curriculum.  This year, we will have a new math program, Go Math! and I have not yet received the pacing guide.  That will come next week.  I'm anxious to get the plan laid out for the year.  For me, it is so helpful to have these major pieces of my planning in place for the year.  When I finish a unit, I don't spend any time wondering what to do next.  That is already decided.

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