So many teachers take time out of their summer to get things ready to go back to school.

I am no exception.

There are plenty of things that you can do now that will help make the transition from soaking in the sun poolside to teaching up a storm all year long.

Getting back to school ready is not just about making everything look great on the first day of school. But it also means doing stuff now that will save you time later.

Here are my 5 things you can do now to save time later.

  • Make Your Homework Calendars
  • Write your Monthly Newsletters
  • Make A Class List Spreadsheet
  • Make a Master Calendar – Long Range Plans

Make Your Homework Calendar

I am not a big fan of homework.

I really think that kids should be kids at home and get involved in their community. Hours of homework finishing classwork is overkill.

Plus I need to do better to make sure that what I assign can be completed within the school day. Otherwise, I am doing too much and the kids are paying for it.

I do however believe that there are tasks that can be done at home for practice that would benefit students each and every day.

  • Number Sense – Math
  • Cursive Writing (why not)
  • Reading (every day!)
  • Community Adventures (get out there and learn something)
  • Real-World Application of Learning (bake a cake or something)

With these in mind, I like to create a calendar that aligns with my long-range plans and gets students practicing in meaningful ways.

The best part and the worst part is that I do not ever have time to do this during the school year. So this year it is my plan to do it this summer and take you with me along my journey.

Step 1

Make a calendar on word, powerpoint, publisher (pages, keynote, google docs)

Alternately you could do a bingo page format that the activities are not aligned to days but simply reflect a choice board of activities.

Step 2

At the top list the learning goals for the month that align with your long-range plans. (you can always change this small detail later if needed)

At the bottom list, a few community adventures that parents could choose to do that would relate to your in-class learning. Think field trips (free or paid) that would supplement your own teaching.

Step 3

Plan out what activities you could do each day. Try for two small activities that could be done in a day.

The key here is that you don’t want to plan anything that requires you to print and distribute worksheets or pages. This homework program can be effective and hands-off for you too.

Step 4

Tracking and Accountability are important for many parents, students and teachers.

So there are a variety of ways that you could track the homework.

  • First, you could make a large tracking label or page that can be glued into the agenda. This could allow parents to sign off which days the child completed homework and which activity they completed.
  • Next, you could ask students to bring in their completed homework calendar or Bingo page with a signature on each page that is completed. You could simply track which students are or ar not completing homework.
  • Third, you could do nothing and leave the responsibility of homework on the parent. If they want to do it then they could also track it independently. Homework, in this case, are simply suggestions that you are providing families as a service.

Write Your Newsletters

Go ahead and start writing all of your newsletters now. Well at least create a template for each month.

You can simply create a one-page template in powerpoint, or keynote and then copy it 10 times and change the necessary information as you go.

Put in the following sections

  • News and Noteworthy (review any past events, including pictures)
  • What we’re up to (Subject Headings)
  • Important Dates / Calendar
  • Home Connections

Add in general information for each month based on what you think you will be doing. Use your long range plans as a guide.