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The first step to organizing paperwork is to gather information about the students.
- You will want to know their transportation information, do they walk, take the bus, drive with parents or a daycare provider?
- You will need parent/guardian address, home and work numbers, emergency information and to whom the student may be released to at dismissal.
- You will need to know about special needs or medical issues, religious concerns and birthdays to make a birthday poster or display and hats (if the family celebrates birthdays). See more about effective parent-teacher communication here.
- Gather all of this information and compile into one or two forms. This is also the start of your substitute folder.
- Also, create a volunteer checklist for parents to complete regarding time, talent and skill that they can offer to the classroom. It will make it easier for you later when in need of some extra help.
- I also begin the year with a get to know you information page for parents to complete. It includes, how the student learns (independent, social), his or her likes and dislikes, any concerns academically. This information can be very useful while you are still getting to know the students.
From the class list:
- create portfolios for each student and a folder to store published writing pieces. It will be fun for the students to track their progress. These will make a great impression at parent-teacher conferences and a special memoire for the students to take at the end of the school year.
- label mailboxes, cubbies, lockers or folders
- create name tags for desks and field trips
- create some "getting to know you" games
- create the start of your word wall. All students and teachers names should be prepared to be posted on the word wall. I also create an alphabetical list of student's names on a poster to refer to when teaching beginning sounds, ending sounds, syllables, chunking words, vowels and alphabetical order.
- create a computer, snack and job rotation
- create a record/assessment book, a running record sheet, behavioral records and charts and a literacy profile sheet if utilized
- create a bus list
This sounds like more prep work for you, but if you get these papers ready early, it will save much time later. Read on this series for more tips on keeping your materials neat throughout the schoolyear (especially as you will have a lot of them.)
- Teaching experience is the motivation for this piece.