Back to School Organization 101

Does the sight of this classroom make you shudder?     Unfortunately for many teachers, this is reality during back to school season. As soon as we sign our contract, we become immediate hoarders, stock piling supplies purchased during those great back to school sales. But once we get in the classroom, we realize there’s simply not enough space for 100 boxes of crayons. What is one to do? Here are 4 easy storage solutions to get your year off on the right foot:

1. Book Boxes: These colorful cardboard book boxes are perfect for any type of paperwork. I purchased several to hold daily work as well as quarterly copies of behavior charts, writing paper and reflection forms. I also use them to store my centers; each box holds a specific concept (i.e. ABC order, antonyms). They can also be used as writing portfolios to organize students’ writing pieces.

Book boxes

2. Plastic Bowls: I purchased 4 bowls from Target clearance section to hold small items that I need throughout the day. These bowls are perfect for staples, rubber bands, paper clips and push pins. Simply label and place on desk.

Desk bowls

3. Silverware Caddy: A silverware caddy is the ideal desk storage solution because it has multiple spaces to hold a variety of items. I use the first 3 sections to store scissors, pens and . The back section is much larger, perfect for stickers and notepads. I label each section to help ensure continued organization (especially if students use).

Silverware caddy

4. Tupperware Storage: Inexpensive tupperware is a great solution for small items such as googly eyes, jewels, beads, cotton balls and clothespins. Plus they stack easily, making organization a snap. Add labels to find items easily.

Ziploc storage 2

Have an innovative organization or storage solution? I’d love to hear from you!


Start Back to School Right – Avoid These Top 5 Missteps

Back to School Night can seem so scary, even for veteran teachers. Possible scenarios might be running through your mind…parent heckles you, no one shows up, toddler screams during presentation, etc. Make Back to School Night your first step in building a positive culture with your parents.  Avoid these 5 teacher behaviors to ensure a successful Back to School Night.

1. The Long Lecture: Each year as I prepare my Back to School Night presentation, I always want to add as much information as possible to make sure parents understand policies, procedures and expectations. The reality is less is more. Parents simply want to meet you, get a feel for the room and take home quality handouts that they can refer back to in their leisure.  Keep your presentation short and simple (less than 10 minutes).

2. The Condescending Tone: Although I want to explain everything clearly for parents, I always make sure to be mindful of my tone. Education is a partnership and you want to make parents feel that they are valuable members of the team.

3. The Teacher Jargon: If I had a dollar for every teacher acronym, I could retire. Stay away from these terms with parents, they are confusing and overwhelming. It leaves parents with more questions than answers and they will tune you out.

4. The Frigid Welcome: Nerves can come off as coldness or arrogance. Remember to smile and greet each parent and student with genuine interest. Take time to listen to and respond to questions. This is your chance to make a good first impression and it will set the stage for the rest of the year. Even after 10 years, I get nervous. I find it helpful to take deep breaths and think positive thoughts.

5. The Unprepared Classroom: Parents can easily tell which teachers took the time and effort to prepare for Back to School Night and which ones just showed up. Welcome parents with refreshments, handouts and an activity for students to complete.

Need help getting ready for Back to School and Curriculum Night? Our  Welcome Back to School Customizable Parent Packet & Curriculum Night Guide covers it all!  These forms and letters include everything needed for the beginning of the year from curriculum and grading to student information card and parent directory.  All are customizable, allowing you to make quick and easy changes to make appropriate for your classroom.



Top Ten Tools for Back to School!

The new school year means endless meetings, countless hours of preparation and the dreaded Curriculum Night…all resulting in major stress! Let Astute Hoot: Tools for the Wise Teacher alleviate your pressure with our FREE Top 10 Tools for Back to School. As veteran teachers, we understand the tension that Back to School time brings and are here to help. Our FREE unit includes:

  • Essential Back to School checklist
  • Golden Keys to Success classroom behavior management plan with parent brochure
  • Interactive lesson plans
  • Effective routines, procedures and transitions

Download our FREE back to school unit here.

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