By now, you have decided on your supply list, you’ve probably been thinking about all you want your students to accomplish this year, and you’ve been setting up your classroom. Preparing for a successful year takes a lot of work upfront. You want to have a great plan in place for the first day your students walk in. That plan, though, has much more to do with organizing your school year than planning getting to know you activities.
Don’t get me wrong, getting to know you activities are essential at the beginning of the school year. But the work that needs to be completed now is The Plan. Think about the types of work your students will do in class. Will they write in journals, take notes, complete homework, compile portfolios? For each type of work you want students to do, you will need a plan for how they will organize and store this work. Yes, this is true from kindergarten through 12th grade. You need to be very explicit in your expectations for how they will organize and store their work if you want to end up with a quality product and with students who feel confident each day in the work they are doing.
This may seem like a big, daunting task that holds the success of your year at stake but don’t fret. If you are at least taking it into consideration and developing a plan, you are already on the right track. You may find that your plan isn’t working once the school year begins and you have to modify it. Don’t worry, parents and students can be very understanding if you explain your reason for adjusting the plan (just don’t try to come up with a completely new plan each week and don’t expect parents to run out tonight to buy a whole new supply list).
Where to start?
1) Make a list of the activities you plan on having students do each day or each week.
- vocabulary notebook
- take notes
- complete morning work
- reading log
2) Look at the list you made. Now think about how you want the students to complete this work. Also, think about where the work will be stored.
Here are two examples of different ways you might expect students to complete the same type of work.
- vocabulary notebook –Spiral notebook kept in classroom
- take notes -spiral notebook for each subject that students can take home
- complete morning work -each student will have a folder with their own morning work for the week based on needs, teacher will monitor progress throughout the week
- journal -spiral notebook that students keep at desk and turn in on Friday
- homework -homework folder
- reading log -print reading log sheets to insert in middle of homework folder
The End-All-Binder Example (Have a quality 3-Hole punch ready!)
- vocabulary notebook -vocabulary section in binder
- take notes -notes section in binder
- complete morning work -morning work section in binder, turn in when finished
- journal -journal section in binder
- homework -homework section in binder, turn in at beginning of class
- reading log -reading log section in binder
And there are about a million other ways you may choose to have your students organize their work. Come up with the best plan possible now but be willing to adjust certain aspects for the needs of your new class. Because of course, the best-laid schemes of mice and men oft go astray.