It’s back-to-school time again! Are you ready for a new school year? If you’re like me you spend the last few weeks of summer hunting for back-to-school deals, school supplies, and fall clothes! I love to shop, so I don’t mind braving the crowds. Over the years, I’ve found some great deals, time-saving tricks, and a few ways to make easing into a new school year a breeze. I’m excited to share my favorite back-to-school tips with you.
The hardest part of going back to school is getting myself and my kids back on a schedule and on a regular routine! Below, are few tips and tricks I’ve found to be useful during the hectic back-to-school time!
#1 Take Advantage of Tax-Free Weekends
First and foremost, I’m all about saving a few pennies! All those school supplies add up, so be sure to shop during your state’s “tax-free” weekend. When you combine sales, coupons, and tax-free savings you can really save a lot of money! >>Update: Unfortunately, some states no longer offer a tax-free weekend. This is an ongoing legislative process. Check the link below to see your state made the list.<<
Click here to see if your state offers a tax-free weekend.
#2 Start Getting Back Into a Routine
Start getting back on a schedule a week or two before school starts back. It’s hard to get up early when you’ve been sleeping in for the past two months. Make it easy on yourself and start setting your alarm a little earlier each day until you’re back to your regular wake up time. Don’t forget the kiddos! Get them up, too. You’ll be thanking yourself later. 🙂
#3 Have a Game Plan for the First Month
Start planning early! Get those pacing guides out and start planning your first month of school. I use my Year at a Glance to fast forward and look for lessons that I want to improve or change. The first few weeks of school are crazy, so have a game plan and you won’t be overwhelmed.
#4 Get Ready for Open House or Meet the Teacher Night
Think about the information you want to share with parents and students. What has worked well in the past and what hasn’t? Prepare that critical information now so you don’t have to hustle at the last minute to get it copied and ready to go! These 2 resources have saved me valuable time for many years! They are my go-to resources when prepping for back to school.
#5 Plan Healthy School Lunches
Need healthy lunch ideas? Pinterest is the place to go! I found so many healthy lunch ideas on Pinterest over the summer. I made a shopping list of items I would need, and I keep it on my phone. When I’m doing my weekly grocery shopping, it’s easy to pull up my list and choose my lunches for the week.
#6 Shop for a Planner
I love a new planner! The Teacher Lesson Planner by Erin Condren and The Big Happy Planner from Michaels are two of my favorites. They keep me organized all year long. Do you have kids? If so, you probably know what it’s like to run here and there all week long. I also use Google Calendar to schedule my kids sporting events, practices, appointments, and extracurricular activities that I don’t want to miss. I sync it to my phone so that I constantly have a reminder of when and where I need to be after school hours. I also use my Google Calendar to schedule meetings after school. The reminder alarm helps me remember where I need to be and when I need to be there.
#7 Get Organized at Home and at School
Not only at school, but at home, too! It’s hard to feel like you have it all together when your world is in chaos. I always feel better when I have a clean house, meals for the week are planned, the bills are paid, the laundry is done and clothes are ready for the week. Make a plan for getting these chores done during the week, or even better – on the weekend.
#8 Decide on a Classroom Theme and Get New Decor Ready
If you’re like me, you change your classroom decor every year! I get tired of looking at the same decor. After a year of wear and tear on labels, posters, signs, etc., I like to freshen things up with a new look. I spend several days during the summer printing, cutting, and laminating new decor. This is something I can easily do at home. You can find so many different decor options on Teachers Pay Teachers. Below are a few of my favorites that I’ve created over the years.
#9 Find a Classroom Management Plan That Works For You
Do you have a classroom management system that works? If not, start looking for new and innovative ways to reward students for good behavior. Brag tags are really popular right now, and there are tons to choose from. I love these monthly themed reward tags from The Little Ladybug Shop. They are perfect for my upper elementary students. They take a little bit of prep to get them ready for the year, but it pays off to go ahead and have them ready to go on day one. A positive reward system will encourage student motivation.
#10 Plan Bulletin Boards Ahead of Time
Bulletin Boards – ahhhh….the dread! I’ve found that year-long bulletin boards work best for me. I also like bulletin boards that I can easily change in and out with the different seasons or classroom topics. I typically choose bulletin boards that can either stay up all year (such as my classroom chores board) or boards that will allow me to easily change student work without having to change the whole board. Start search and planning your bulletin boards now so you don’t have to dread it later.
Bonus Tip: Let Go and Just Breathe
Let go of last year – good or bad! In my case, last year was a hard year. It’s a new year with a new group of students and for me, a new teaching position.
Just breathe…the beginning of the year and the first day of school can literally cause nightmares! It’s important to take care of yourself, get plenty of rest, and know that you’ve done all you can do to make the start of this year one to remember!
Have a positive attitude! It’s going to be a great year!
Do you need a fun and easy back-to-school activity? Use my All About Me Pennant Banners to decorate a bulletin board! They come in color or black & white for students to complete. Click here to download them for FREE!