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7 Must-Makes to Help Make Your School Year Successful

One thing we don’t always have time for as a teacher is creating resources, but so many times we find that creating what we need is the best option!

For students, we create activities, handouts, assessments, projects, art… You name it!

Not only is it helpful for us to make things for students, but it’s important that we make things to help ourselves out, too. Below are some ideas and tips on things to create to help make you school year more successful!

Class Information

On the first day of school, it’s extremely helpful to have a type-up of general class information that you and your families can look back on! This can be one page, two pages, a packet… Whatever size you need for your information.

I personally include these topics in my class information packet:

  • School information (front office phone number, address, my school email address)
  • Attendance/Absence/Tardy Policy
  • Birthday Party Information
  • Volunteering
  • Bussing and Pickup
  • Class Schedule
  • Any calendar changes, such as early release days or teacher work days

Having this out at Meet the Teacher night or sending it home on the first day of school allows for families to get an idea of how you structure your classroom and simple FYI’s. You can add or take out any section that does or does not fit the needs of your classroom.

You could use a simple Word Doc program to type one up, or use Google Slides/Powerpoint to put in more customized elements.

Emergency Sub Plans

Creating an emergency sub plan ASAP will be a time saver in the long run! While schedules can change and things flex after the first couple weeks of school, the sooner you can make an emergency sub plan, the better.

Not only do many schools require you to make one and submit it to the secretaries, it is incredibly useful in an emergency situation, or sudden situation that you can’t be at school.

The other wonderful thing is you can use  your emergency sub plans as your template for all your other sub plans! Once it’s made, you can easily make another copy and edit it as needed.

If you would like some easy sub plan activities, you can click here to get my freebie off TpT!

Grading Grid with Student Names

I know many teachers who like to purchase grading grids and paper from different planner companies, but I’ve always loved making my own!

Simply make a grid with the number of columns you want to be able to grade on each paper, along with enough rows for your students’ names. You can adjust the text size and column sizes as needed to have everything fit. 

One negative about this is that you would need to remake it and print new ones whenever a student moves or if you got a new student. I simply make a copy and either replace the student’s name or insert a new row to add another student name.

Take a look at the pictures below to see how I created mine and what my finished product looks like!

This can also be made in a Word Doc program or Powerpoint/Slides program. I prefer using Google Slides to create my grading grid.

Guardian Contact List

Depending on your district, you may have a different way to access guardian contact information. Once I know what a family’s primary contact information is, usually email and phone number, I create an excel sheet to hold that information on my district computer. This creates a super handy way to quickly look up phone numbers to make calls home as needed.

The other thing I love about making this is how easy it is to send emails to all the families! I can quickly copy all their emails and paste them in a BCC email to send reminders and updates.

Login Cards

More often than not, our classrooms require students to use some type of device – whether that be iPads, Chromebooks, or other online devices. This requires students to have logins to access them!

I started to make my students a login card with all their information so they could login to our most used apps and resources easily. I include emails, usernames, passwords, and class codes to help for easy login. 

I love using tech at appropriate times in my classroom, and using online resources to help bolster students’ knowledge and practice. Below are what I include on my student’s login cards:

  • Google Account (district provided)
  • EPIC! (free)
  • Prodigy (free)
  • Keyboarding without Tears (district provided)
  • Imagine Learning Math Facts (district provided)
  • RazKids (district provided)

I have a specific spot in my classroom where students keep their login cards for quick access. 

My other hack with having these cards is that it’s a great resource when you have a sub and they need to help students login. The students can grab their card, and the sub can help them as needed.

While this is easier for older grade level students who have more independence typing, login cards can also be used with younger kids with teacher/adult assistance. 

Morning Slide

Having a morning slide helps give students tasks to do in the morning to get settled in, or to remind them of a morning task to complete once they enter the classroom.

I love having a morning slide up for my students! One thing that is fantastic about them is how customizable they can be. You can make them simple, colorful, give tasks, or reminders on things to turn in or complete.

My absolute favorite is to add a timer on the screen! This shows students what their tasks are and gives them time updates without me having to get their attention and yell it out for every update.

You can use Powerpoint or Google Slides to create your own morning slide to post, which I have done in the past.

My lifesaver this last year has been to use a website called Classroomscreen. This site allows you to easily create slides that you can add different widgets and things to easily, including timers, stopwatches, lists, student name randomizer, and more! You can use the free version and have 3 saved slides, or do the subscription and have way more slides you can save to your account. I decided to get the subscription, and I use these screens ALL THE TIME. I use them for ELA work time, rainy day recess, testing, math choices, free time…. I am OBSESSED!

Here is a link to Classroomscreen if you’re interested in trying it out! (not sponsored)

Newsletters

Just like with emergency sub plans, it is incredibly helpful to get a template setup for your newsletters as soon as possible! 

A newsletter home allows you to update families on different things coming up in your classroom and any notes you would like to send home.

Some items you could include in your newsletter could be:

  • A short paragraph or two that explain what the class has been up to
  • Reminders for things like conferences, permission forms, testing dates, or field trips
  • Upcoming events and important dates
  • Upcoming class topics for ELA, Math, and other subjects
  • Contact information

This is a great way to connect with families and keep them in the loop for things going on in the classroom!

Just like with sub plans, these are easy to create one copy of and continue to copy off from for the rest of the year. You can simply make a copy, then edit as needed. Simple and easy!

You can find some premade templates for newsletters here.

If you would like more information or a video on how to make any of these, leave a comment below and let me know!

Thank you for reading, and happy teaching!

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