The first few weeks in the classroom can be tough. You’re given the room and the caseload, but not much else. There’s grade level curriculum to be adapted, but before you can even start that, you’ve got weeks of assessments and data collection ahead of you.
Here are a few ideas to help you survive the first two weeks of school.
1.) Get Organized
I wish I could say I am an organized person by nature, but I’m just not. I’m a “setter.”
While my love for being creative benefits me in the classroom, having a messy classroom does not. Instead, I must be very conscious of where I put things. This year, my classroom is labeled and color-coded, to keep me on track!
1) Dollar Tree 2) The Container Store 3) Wal Mart* 4) Wal Mart* 5) Lakeshore Learning
*I’m not sure why the Wal Mart prices are so expensive online, but I paid no more than $10 for these in the store.
Starting the year with an organized classroom sets the tone for a calm, ready-to-learn environment.
2.) District Assessments
Familiarize yourself with all district assessments and make a calendar of the due dates. You don’t want those deadlines to sneak up on you!
3.) IEP Goals
Right away, you need to start collecting data. I keep all data sheets on a clipboard for easy, grab-and-go data collection. It is important that your data sheets are specific to the student’s individual goals.
Each of my students has their own “data bag,” which is a ziploc bag with any materials I need to assess the student’s goals (sight word flashcards, math manipulatives, etc).
Having this at your fingertips eliminates the wasted time (and headache) of searching for supplies.
4.) Teach Schedules and Routines
Consistency is SO important to my students. I once had a student break down in tears after we took a left instead of our usual right. Yeah. That happened.
With structure such a high priority, we practice our schedules and routines daily. I want my students to know what each station looks like, what it sounds like. It is equally important to practice what happens when there is a change in a child’s schedule, as that can sometimes cause a student great distress.
5.) Discuss Classroom Expectations
While you may be tempted to jump right into the ABC’s and 123’s of learning, you will also want to focus on the social aspect of back-to-school, such as classroom rules and behavior expectations.
I am thrilled to have found The Behavior Basics program from Autism Adventures. It is leveled, it is hands on, and, most importantly, it focuses on necessary social skills in a way that is appropriate for the levels of my students.
While there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for back to school, I hope you found these pointers useful!
How do you prepare for the first two weeks?
For more great tips on how to schedule your first two weeks, be sure to check out Kayla from My Special Learners!
Oh MY GOSH I love your class expectation board! That is SOOO cute!
Umm I’m in LOVE with your classroom expectations board! How adorable! And you are killing it with the adorable color coded organization. You will be organized and no longer a “setter” in no time!
LOL! “setter” … I think my mixture of Type A and Type B teacher goes between organizer and setter!
So excited your classroom is color coded too. It was such a game changer for me.
I want to know more about those IEP data bags! Genius!
Hi, I love your Expectations board. Where do I find the Ready to Learn behaviour monitoring chart?
I love the setter, I may have that issue. ?
I adore your expectation boards!! ?Do you sell the templates?
I love everything. I wish I could be so organized. ?
Mona Busbice says
Did you make your class expectations or bought them?
Is that class expectations board on TPT or where can I find it?
I love your class expectations board and your products. I purchased the whole body listening but was wondering if you had the classroom rules (mouth is quiet, eyes are looking, hands and feet to self, ears are listening, have fun and learn) available to purchase? Thanks so much!
I love your stuff! I especially like your Class expectations bulletin board but I can’t find directions or a link for the clip art anywhere – help! I would love to use it in my preschool classroom! Thank you!
I like classroom expectation board and the data clipboards. Can you tell me where you got the pieces from for the board?
Love the organization of the class. Work with AU students, and looking for ways to take data better with IA’s. (thanks). And look the color coded ideas in the class. Any extra ideas would be helpful!
Hi, i so love your expectation board. Would it be okay to use it in my class too?
Laura Marshall says
I love your class expectations board but am having trouble finding it for sale. Can you please send me a link? Thank you
Michaela Davis says
Laura, this is the link to Whole Body Listening: Classroom Expectations.
Where did yo uh get the items from in the pinterest cover photo? It’s a black and bright colored classroom expectations chart and a behavior chart next to it
Karen Bedford says
I paid for the the class expectations board and thought it came with everything shown and now I am ver disappointed. The main think I wanted was the red, green, yellow, purple expectation ladder but did not get it. Is there another link to follow?
Michaela Davis says
Hi Karen! Isn’t the clip chart cute? That is actually a product from Learning in Wonderland and can be found here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Behavior-Chart-Editable-Clip-Chart-Classroom-Management-1953878. Sorry for any confusion! The picture was posted years ago and is just now going viral on Pinterest.
Hello! I would like to know what labels you used for the container store container. “Toolbox” I like your labels.
Where’d you get the labels for the #3 organizer for pencils and highlighters?
Are you selling your templates for your expectations board?
Love it! Where did you get the pencil holder to put on the clipboards?
Michaela Davis says
Believe it or not, but I actually got that at a thrift store!! Who would part with such a treasure??