In less than two weeks, summer will be over and a new school year will be firing up. Everywhere I go it seems like people are asking me, “Are you ready to go back?” I’ve been answering them pretty adamantly with an “Absolutely!”
Don’t get me wrong, I love my summer break and try to live it up to the fullest during my time off. These past two months have been jam-packed: a trip to Arkansas to meet my boyfriend’s family, where I did some amazing hiking; early morning runs (followed by naps sometimes lasting until noon); a trip to church camp; pool time; an epic adventure to Idaho, Yellowstone, and the Grand Tetons; an attempt to increase my domesticity by cooking a new recipe every week; the Batman movie marathon, which ended in me becoming an avid fan; a building project for my parents; Vacation Bible School at church (which involved me dressed as a panda); and, of course, the occasional days of in-service and professional development.
I need to go back to school to recuperate! My students are not the only ones who thrive on routine and I am definitely ready to settle back into mine.
As the first day gets closer, I find school thoughts running through my head constantly. I feel the need to make to-do lists constantly for all of those “first of school” tasks: writing a welcome letter, creating supply lists, planning a schedule, placing students in related arts and other general education classes, organizing my classroom, putting up bulletin boards and visuals, etc. It can get a little overwhelming, especially since this is only my second time to experience it.
But beyond the to-do lists growing like kudzu in my mind, I am really excited about the new school year. I miss my kids!I’m expecting to have around six returning students and six new faces. I can’t wait to get to know my new students and catch up with my returning ones. I know the first few days will consist of running through the class expectations, showing new students around the building, getting used to the schedule, practicing class procedures, and so on. Definitely feels a little dry, but is always time well spent.
I’m getting a “welcome back” present, of sorts, this year that I’m pumped about! I had heard lots about a Web site called Donor’s Choose and had been encouraged to check it out. Basically the way it works is any public school teacher can get on the site, create a page, and submit a project consisting of things needed in the classroom. Then, individuals can get on the Web site and search for particular areas, student populations, project types, etc. and give to a teacher’s project. Donor’s Choose gives you lots of options for getting the word out about your project; you can e-mail, post to Facebook, and pin to Pinterest, just to name a few. Honestly, I figured this was all too good to be true, but decided to try it anyway in the spring of last year.
My first project was for a small video camera that connects directly to your computer via a USB port and the related accessories. I explained in my project description that this would be used to capture my students performing tasks or demonstrating skills, which I would later share with parents and other members of the IEP team. I also mentioned that it would be great to use for video modeling and practicing social skills. Much to my surprise, my project got funded in May!
I went on to submit a second project for a variety of visual and auditory timers. The project was funded in less than a month! Since my projects were funded close to summer break, I will receive them in August. My students and I will complete “thank you” packages that Donor’s Choose sends us and then distributes to the donors, who gave to our projects. I am already scheming about my next project!
While thinking about the first days of a new school year, several questions pop into my head. What things do veteran teachers do to prepare for the new school year? How do I best transition my new students to their new school and surroundings? What other financial resources, like Donor’s Choose, are out there to help my students get some great classroom materials or have some great experiences this school year?