Sunday 6 August 2017

Getting Ready For September

Edu-Twitter and teacher Facebook groups are awash with photos from teachers' classrooms that have been prepared for the new academic year. While I admire their dedication, I do worry about when they switch off. Having said this, I have seen several very useful ideas on Twitter and far be it from me to tell anyone how to spend their summer.  I am barely coming out of the end of term fog that descended on  me as I crawled to the end of the summer term. I also realise the irony of wondering about when teachers switch off while writing a blog post about teaching.

For what it's worth, I wanted to share how I intend to prepare for the new year in September in case it may be of use to anyone else.

I spend some time in the summer holidays thinking about what routines I need to put in place with my new class at the start of the year. These don't vary much but I think it is important to reflect on them and tweak them as it is such an important thing to get right. In the first few days of September, I will try to get these firmly established as it saves so much time later.

This is something that I think about a lot. I have tried various systems for organising resources and seating. I have tried rows, groups, pencil pots, having nothing on the tables at all. Which method I have used has often depended on the class I am getting rather than just using the same system every year. I try to aim for minimum movement and minimum distractions in order to maximise lesson time. This year, I am going to try having plastic zip wallets for each child with all the resources they may need. I'm also going to make bound booklets of resources for children to help themselves with their writing. Both of these ideas were ideas I saw on Twitter.

My displays will be minimal to start with. I will add to them as we do the work in class. I am not a fan of word walls. Often the words are too small for the children to read anyway unless they go up to them which goes against my minimum movement ethos. Secondly, if they are single words out of context, they are pretty useless anyway. I have seen word walls with lots of conjunctions on them that are of little use as an aid for the children as it doesn't have them in context. If a child wants to use 'because' from the wall and you have to explain how it is used then it defeats the object of it being an independent resource. All of this is why I prefer the bound booklets of resources as the children have them to hand and they can read them. You can also differentiate them if necessary.

I am going to spend time reading both children's books that I want to use in class and one or two 'teacher' books. It is my choice to do this and I enjoy doing it.

Apart from a short meeting with my year group partner at some point, that is all the preparation I intend to do for September. I would like to start the year re-charged and ready to go. We all prepare in different ways, do what works for you.

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