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7 Back to School Tips and {FREEBIES}

If you are a teacher, then you know there is no kind of tired like back to school tired. Well I'm here to share 7 Back to School tips (and freebies) for making your teacher life a little easier!

My number one tip for teachers in the summer is to GET. SOME REST.

Okay, well if you aren't going to do that, then I would brainstorm a list of things that you could be slowly working on in the summer so that when you “go back to school”, you can focus on more important things like curriculum and student data. 

Things to think about: 

  • supplies you will buy/assemble on your own
  • things that you have to re-make every year
  • things that you've always wanted to do but never had time for

Make sure you READ UNTIL THE END for my best back to school secret yet!!

Back to School Tip #1 Pre-Make Supply Boxes

It happens every year. There is always at least one student who shows up the first day of school without any school supplies. Save some precious first day of school minutes by pre-making several supply boxes that will be easy to grab and give to students who need them.

Back to School Tip # 2 Nametag Cheat Sheets

I've been using this one for years. I use small velcro dots to attach my student name tags to their desk. I attach these cheat sheets to the back before I laminate them so that students can easily access how to correctly spell number words throughout the year.

Back to School Tip #3 Boo-Boo Basket

This is a new addition to my classroom this year. I wanted something that would be easy for myself and other teachers (substitutes) to find. I saw this amazingly cute idea on Instagram one day and decided this was exactly what I needed! One dollar store basket and cute label later, I was done!

Back to School Tip #4 Calendar numbers… They're not just for your calendar

A few years ago, I started using number labels for several things in my classroom rather than re-making student name labels over and over. I realized that calendar numbers were PERFECT for labeling things because I only needed numbers 1-22, and calendar numbers come in sets up to 31! My favorite place to use them is in my students' backpack cubbies!B

Back to School Tip #5 Student Names on Word Wall from Day 1

We've all been there… “Mrs. Sullins, how do you spell ______'s name?”. Now, I put my students' names on my word wall from day one. Not only does it help other students spell, but it also gives students a little more ownership of the room from the very first time they walk in the door. An added bonus is being able to use the word wall as a graph and compare which letters have the most names, how many more b's than e's, etc.

Back to School Tip #6 Put Student Numbers on Markers

Like I mentioned earlier, I started using student numbers for several things in my classroom. One thing in particular is writing students' numbers on their markers. It is a little time consuming at first, but it saves so much time later on. When we find a blue marker rolling around on the floor, all we have to do is look at the number and know who it belongs to. I also write their number on the ziploc bag we use to store our markers in.

Back to School Tip #7 Teacher Magnets

I make teacher magnets for my families every year and send them home on Meet the Teacher night. It's nothing fancy. I print my design, laminate it and attach a small piece of magnetic tape on the back. My favorite feature of these magnets is our lunch time so that parents can easily find what time they can come eat with their student!


My BEST Back to School Tip: Phonemic Awareness Flash Drills

I created these phonemic awareness flash drills that cover 7-10 skills and can be done in 3-5 minutes. I use them daily whole group, then again in small groups as needed.

How it works:

•Teacher: “I'm going to give you an example of two words that rhyme, you give me another word that rhymes” •”Johnny: cat, bat” , Johnny responds with “sat” •”Kari: sit, fit”, Kari responds with “bit” •”Levi: frog, hog”, Levi responds with “dog” •(Teacher moves on to the next skill)

The best part of these flash drills is that they can be done in the classroom, but could also be done in a Zoom or Google Meet if needed!

More First Grade Back to School Favorites:

7 Tips for Back to School

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Kristen Sullins

Kristen Sullins

I am a current Elementary Librarian and
Enrichment Teacher, mother of two, follower of Christ and Texas native. In my own classroom, I love to save time by finding unique ways to integrate writing, social studies and science into all parts of my day. I also love all things organization!