How to Start Preparing Your Classroom for Students to Come Back
Published Date: 05/04/20
It’s safe to say that nobody was expecting a dramatic change in the school year as big as the one we’re experiencing from the CoronaVirus outbreak. Not being physically present at school can be a challenge many teachers are currently facing. You miss your students and your students miss you. There are so many uncertainties, but you can definitely prepare yourself and your classroom for the day when you can welcome your students back. By getting ahead now, you can increase the chances of having a successful start to the new school year.
Order New Supplies
The first step to preparing your classroom for students to come back is to order new supplies. While some items are reusable throughout the years, there are other classroom materials that are a must-by year to year.
First, make sure that your classroom has sufficient paper supplies. You can get post-it notes, chart paper, printer paper, lined paper, and colored paper. Next, one of the most needed classroom supplies are pencils—and you will always need more, year to year. This includes regular pencils and colored pencils, for crafts. Don’t forget to stock up on hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. These may be more challenging to find at the moment, but keep your eyes out for their availability.
Reorganize Your Classroom
The next step to preparing for the upcoming school year is to reorganize your classroom. Whether or not the past set up has proved effective, you may just need a new scenery before starting a new year. Sometimes, just moving furniture around helps your classroom feel brand new and ready for the next group of students.
Before reorganizing your classroom, you may want to take social distancing into consideration. Although it’s probably not practical to have everyone six feet apart, you may want to not keep desks as close as you’ve put them in the past. Also take into consideration what may have previuosly worked or not worked. Are there ways that you could rearrange things to make the classroom a more enriching experience, decrease behavioral problems, or increase participation? Are there ways you can make the classroom safer? According to Hangsafe Hooks, 90% of school injuries are unintentional. By decluttering and making smarter classroom arrangements, you can mitigate problems.
Plan to Get Back to the Routine
Sticking to a routine helps foster good habits. According to Headspace, routines act as guidelines toward goals and work to improve our potential, as well as encourage organization and punctuality. As a teacher, your students depend on consistency and structure. Without a set routine, you will not be able to help your students learn effectively or efficiently.
It can be difficult jumping right into a routine without any easing into it. At least a week before school starts, begin applying certain aspects of your normal, school-day routine. For example, start waking up and going to sleep when you normally would. Begin regularly checking your email and implement other parts of your routine as well. Doing so will help you be ready for when school starts back up.
Create Review Plans
Especially during the unprecedented times with schools shutting down, many of your students may have experienced setbacks in their learning and progression. For this reason, you will want to make review plans to help these students get back on track. While you may plan several school days to be purely dedicated to review, you may also want to incorporate review gradually into your normal lesson plan.
Plan for More Online Learning
While school shutdowns have proved to be challenging, they have also illustrated more ways in which online learning improves children’s progress in school. Many students have appreciated the increase in visual elements, videos, and online resources. For that reason, many schools may start implementing more online learning in their curriculums.
As a teacher, how can you prepare for this shift? The best way may be to start embracing online learning along with school administration. The earlier you can incorporate multimedia and virtual elements in your lesson plan, the better. Learn all you can about different technological tools you can use in your classroom.
While some teachers love decorating their classrooms, others may call it frivolous or unnecessary. However, educational sociologists have frequently recommended that teachers take the time to make their classrooms inviting and exciting. When children walk into a well-decorated, well-organized classroom, they tend to feel more comfortable. They are more likely to participate, ask questions, and feel safe.
Plan for Behavioral Problems
No teacher likes thinking about the different behavioral problems they will likely face in their future class. But rather than putting it on the back burner, you may be better off in the long run if you just take some time to plan for possible issues in the classroom.
First, think back to your teaching experience and revamp your classroom rules. Think about what has worked in the past and what hasn’t. Make sure that each rule has a principle attached to it.Then, create an appropriate consequence. An appropriate consequence always correlates with the rule.
Prepare a Fun First Day
Most kids feel the jitters on their first day of school. Will they have friends? Will they miss mom and dad? Will they have a nice teacher? These are worries that all children will have. It is one of your responsibilities as a teacher to help your students feel welcome. One of the best ways to break the ice on the first day of school is to set up some fun first-day activities. Plan for several fun get-to-know-you games and be prepared to put on your friendliest smile so that your kids feel welcome!
Reach Out to Parents
Most parents feel more comfortable sending their kids to a school where they know their child’s teacher personally and remain informed throughout the year. According to Jamie Smartkins Writing Tips, by following the guidelines for writing a proper email, your message will come across as formal and professional. This can let parents know what resources are available, what their kids should bring to or expect on the first day of class, and who you are as a teacher.
Planning for a new school year--especially after school shutdowns across the country--may seem daunting. After all, there is a good chance that many students may feel unprepared or behind. Don’t let this scare you. With the right preparations, you will be ready to help your students in no time!
Here’s another article you may find helpful: Humidifiers May Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 in Group Childcare Settings
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