Here are some of the things that I do to prepare for the first day of school and beyond!

Send Post Cards I usually try to get my class list with addresses one week before school starts. I then send each child in my class a post card welcoming them and telling them a little about me.
Get familiar with the curriculum It's important to know what you're responsible for teaching for the year! I always make sure that I "map" out what I'll be teaching for the year. I do this prior to school starting so I can ask questions about anything that I'm not sure of.
Arrange the room I assign seats for the first day (usually looking at comments made by the previous teacher). Students enter on the first day and have a seat already assigned. At a later time, I let them select seats.
Make Desk Tags

In order for students to know where they sit, I put a desk tag on each desk. Not only does it help them know where they sit, it also helps me put a name with a face!
Make Appointment Cards

I make "appointment cards" for each child in my class. Instead of letting them choose a partner for partner activities, I've taken the guess work out and made it easy and simple. I call a number and that's the person they work with. For more specifics send me an email and I'll explain. I think if you view the links you'll get a better understanding for how it works.
Label all things that require a name and then laminate them I have a lot of different things in my room that are specific for each child. I put names on them and then laminate them so they last the whole year.

 

Here are pictures of the things that I label and laminate:

I decorate my door with a frog that says: "Hop Into Mrs. Walker's Pad." Then I have a frog for each person in our class.

Each student has a job and I label the frogs that move from job to job.

Each student has a mailbox and I use a laminated and labeled frog to indicate which mailbox belongs to each student.

As the students move through the writing process, they move their "pencil" to each step. This way we can visually see where each student is in the process.

Everyone has their own bucket with their name on it. On the first day each child colors/decorates their bucket and then I put them on a library pocket and put them on the board.

Each child has a frog with their name on it. I use this for my classroom management system.

Business Cards- I laminate each card and put a magnet on the back and then send them home with each student. This way parents can put this card on their fridge, or near their computers and will be able to contact me easily!

These is what the finished Appointment Cards look like. I cut them out and laminate them and then tape them onto that child's desk. You can see that Kyle's #1 person is Thomas. On Thomas's Appointment Card, he has Kyle as his #1. Each numbered appointment has a partner. When I want them to work with a partner, I say, "Get with your #4," and they just look on their card.

Set up the calendar and weather frog

Each month we change the calendar and talk about the upcoming holidays. We also have a weather frog in our room and he has clothing that he wears according to the weather forecast for the day.
Buy or create a lesson plan book

I like the Mailbox Ultimate Plan Book. I add the names and addresses and phone numbers of all my students into my plan book and I get it set up (writing in the dates).

This year I decided to create my own "plan book."

Figure out my daily schedule If you have special education students that are being pulled out, you'll need to sit down with the special education teacher to make sure your schedules work together. You might also need to talk with other teachers in your grade if you team or do block scheduling.
Make a handout of my daily schedule and post it in the room.

Once you've got your schedule figured out, make sure to write it down and have it copied. I always give a copy to my principal and to the parents.

I also have a schedule chart that I got from www.reallygoodstuff.com and I post the daily schedule on the board so the students can see what the daily will look like.

Determine where students will get paper, turn in papers and sharpen pencils

 

I have a filing crate that has hanging files for each child. When students finish their work, they place their work in THEIR file. This works so well because if they forget to put their name on their paper, I can still figure out who's paper it is!

I also set up a place for the lined paper.

 To eliminate unnecessary sharpening throughout the day, I have a pencil cup and one side is labeled "Sharpened Pencils." I have about 24 sharpened pencils in there. The other side says "Needs to be Sharpened." Students can just swap their unsharpened pencil for a sharp one. At the end of the day I sharpen all the ones that need to be sharpened and move them to the "Sharpened Pencils" side.

Organize my desk

 

I try to make sure my desk is clean and organized so I know where all necessary things are located.
Get centers ready

I have a writing center and I make sure that my center is ready for the first day. I have red pens, erasers, dictionaries, graphic organizers, tape and staplers. I make sure my pens all work and I fill up all staplers with staples and I make sure there's enough tape.
Get my grade book ready I use www.themailboxcompanion.com for a lot of planning things. I especially like their planning pages.
Get my sub tub ready with emergency plans

I've learned the hard way that you NEVER know what could happen while you're not at school. It's always best to have a sub tub ready and have a few days worth of emergency plans available! Each day when I leave, I put my sub tub on my desk so that if someone has to come into my room, it's right there for them.
Put textbooks on desk Each student is given a number (alphabetical order) and their student number goes with the numbers on their textbooks. That way they know they've got their own book and aren't using someone else's.
Get a parent packet together to send home on the first day I usually send home a packet on the first day.

Things I include in the parent packet:

Welcome Letter Daily Schedule Wish List Items Supply List
Tell Me About Your Child Handout Email/Website Permission  What to expect in 4th Grade Volunteer Information
Business Card      

 

 

Create posters for the room:

 

  

 

I include a poster for morning/end of day procedures and our classroom rules. I also put up posters for daily objectives and homework for the week.

 

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Start planning the first week I always spend a lot of time on procedures during the first few days. You might want to also give some review work to see what skills your class has coming into the new school year. I also give a survey on the first day.
Make a sign for the outside of your room so students will know which room to go to

In my building, we're multi-tracked so each track is color-coded. My color for track three is yellow. I have a sign outside my room that identifies my room.

Have a place for lunch boxes

I have a tub that my students put their lunch boxes in each morning. When we go to lunch, our lunch carriers (a classroom job) are responsible for carrying the bucket to the lunchroom.

 

That's about all I can think of right now! I'll come back and update the list if anything pops up that I forgot to add!

 

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