Back to School Planning

Posted: July 30, 2015 by Lindsey Nagorski

Earlier this month I did a scope about my back to school planning.  I was a little bit amazed by how many viewers were either new teachers, or had never used these resources.  During the scope I shared many of my favorites but in this post I just want to introduce you to the two that I feel will be most essential to your planning.  

If you are a new teacher, I want you to stop what you are doing and go get this book.
Get it here
Seriously though, this is a resource that I think every teacher needs.  Even if you’ve never heard of Responsive Classroom, this book will be a game changer in how you start your year.    Building rapport with your students and a community of mutual respect is absolutely essential- what you do in those first few minutes, hours, days and weeks will set the tone for the rest of your year… so, you want to make it good right?

My other go-to beginning planning book is this one:

Get it here
This is the second edition of The Daily 5… I have the older edition as well, and I do like this one a bit better (but as a creature of habit I still refer to the original 😉 ).  This newer edition has some great updates about when to implement different components of the Daily 5 as well as how to implement Math Daily 3.  It is meant to go along with the CAFE book, but regardless if that’s what you do in your classroom or not this will be a helpful tool for you!  If you use guided groups in LA and/ or Math this resource will help you to set up expectations and routines as well as build student stamina for working independently.

So for me, back to school planning usually looks like this….

Last years planner, this years planner, and my favorite teaching resources (yes… even several editions of the same book lol)… notice what is missing?  There is no curriculum!  The social curriculum- creating an environment that is respectful and building rapport with my students comes first.  We purposefully take the time to learn and practice routines before jumping into any academics.  Don’t get me wrong… I’ve been doing this for many years, and EVERY year I need to fight the urge to start our formal curriculum- I too (especially during my years as a 5th grade teacher) feel the stress of “the test” and all the material we are required to cover in one year.  Trust me though, taking this time in the beginning of the year make the rest of the year go so much smoother!
Check back soon for a post on my other “back to school necessity”… becoming a Culturally Responsive Teacher.  Now go grab your flair pens and start thinking about those first few days (ok, thats a lie… if you can, enjoy the last little bit of summer we have left!)