Checklists for Teacher and Student Materials (page 3)
If you have materials that your students will need on a routine basis ready and organized before the beginning of the school year, your job will be considerably easier. Be prepared with extra supplies. Once the school year begins, student monitors can be in charge of these classroom materials.
Name Tags and Name Plates
Name tags are a good idea for the first day of school, regardless of the grade level you teach. Lower grade students’ name tags can be worn around the neck while inside (but not while playing outside, because of safety hazards). Upper grade students can use adhesive or clip-on name tags. Name tags should be easy to read, especially for lower grade students.
Additionally, name plates can be attached to desks. Most schools have desk name plates that can be used, and teacher supply stores have name plates that can be purchased. For students in the lower grades, name plates not only give students a sense of place, but also provide a model for their name.
- Keep the name tags simple. If they are too decorative, they are hard to read.
- Consider folding the name plates so that the bottom section forms a base and they can stand on the desks. This makes them easier to read.
- Have older students write their own names on their name tags and/or name plates.
Writing and Coloring Utensils
Included here are pencils, crayons, and colored pencils. Consider the grade level of your students when selecting these materials: Larger pencils and crayons are used in the lower grades, because they are easier for the students to manipulate.
- Students in grades K–2 generally use large blue pencils.
- Students in grades K–1 generally use large crayons (8 to a box).
- Students in grades 2–5 generally use thin yellow No. 2 pencils.
- Students in grades 2–5 generally use smaller crayons (12–36 to a box).
- Students in grades 2–5 use colored pencils.
Like writing and coloring utensils, paper is sized with a purpose—the more widely spaced the lines, the younger the student. Widely spaced lines are easier for younger students to use when they are learning to print, as they are just beginning to develop their fine motor skills.
- Paper for kindergarten students has lines that are spaced 1⅛ apart.
- Paper for first grade students has lines that are spaced ⅝ apart.
- Paper for second and third grade students has lines that are spaced ½ apart.
- Paper for students in the fourth grade and up generally has lines that are spaced ¼ apart.
- Plain newsprint can be used for math.
A school district adopts textbooks in a specific series for each subject area taught. All students should receive a textbook for each subject area.
- Post a number on the spine of each textbook, using a small sticker and a permanent marker.
- Assign each student a specific textbook, and keep a record of the assigned textbook number.
- Review your expectations for textbook care with the whole class.
Writing journals, which can be used by students for projects in any curricular area, are generally available at your school site.
- Have students create journals for each subject area. These journals present a continuous record of what students are learning, and they are an excellent example of the students’ work to show to parents at conference time.
- Make a point to summarize lessons, and model writing with the whole class.
- Create simple journals from white paper stapled inside a designated color of construction paper, with the student’s name written at the top.
- Use journals in math for students to write up explanations of how particular problems were solved or to illustrate their understanding of math concepts.
It is important for students to have a designated folder where they keep their homework. Home communications can be kept there as well. Students in the lower grades should have folders with covers showing their name and the specific skills they are learning (for example, colors, alphabet, numbers, shapes). Homework folders for students in the upper grades can also have illustrated covers, or perhaps be identified with just the student’s name.
- Require each student to have a two-pocket folder. These come in a variety of colors.
- Label the pockets “Homework” for all homework to be returned and “Paperwork” for all school notifications that need to be signed and returned.
At the beginning of the school year, there are many forms that students must have filled out and returned. Check with your school office for such paperwork, which might include emergency information cards, release of liability forms, PTA membership forms, and school behavior contracts.
- Offer incentives to students for bringing necessary paperwork back.
- Keep track of what has been returned by checking off each returned sheet next to students’ names on a class roster.
- Record emergency contact information in your grade book before turning information in to the office.
- Note students’ allergies.
A “Welcome to My Class” letter is an excellent way to introduce yourself and spell out your policies, procedures, and expectations. Keep in mind that any correspondence that is sent home with your students needs to be approved by the school administrator before distribution. Check with fellow grade-level teachers to see if they send welcome letters home and what their letters include.
- Keep the welcome letter short and sweet.
- Be prepared to follow through with the procedures, policies, and expectations that are spelled out in your letter.
- Include information in the welcome letter on topics such as curriculum overviews, homework policy, absentee and tardiness policies, supplies needed, resources for parents, and recommended readings.
- Translate the welcome letter into the family’s home language, if possible. Check with the school office if you are unsure which language is spoken in the student’s home.
As a first-year teacher, you will find that being equipped with the materials you need on that first day of class will make it possible for you to focus on the students in your class. Have a place for everything, and have everything in its place. After all, being well prepared is your best strategy.
The following list of items, all of which can be kept at your desk, includes many things that can help you get off to a great start.
Keep referrals made either to the office or to the nurse in this file.
Keep correspondence from home (such as absences and excuses) in this file. Parental Consent File Keep legal consent forms (such as field trip permission slips and video releases) in this file.
Keep a supply of blank referral forms used by the school for times when you need to send students to the office or the nurse.
The class roster listing your students’ names and relevant information is important for you to have well before the first day of school. It will be needed to create student name tags and desk name plates, as well as to set up your grade book or grading program. Make sure to keep a copy of this roster, or attendance sheet, as backup.
Personal Emergency Card
It is advisable to complete an emergency card with information about yourself to have on file in the office. You might include medical information, contacts, and vehicle information. Be sure to update the information as needed.
It is helpful to have a binder specifically for school policies and procedures. Be sure to keep this binder updated with the most recent version of each document.
Your binder may contain the following items:
- School faculty roster
- Room list
- School policies and procedures, including those for inclement weather, substitutes, dismissals, shortened days, special schedules, lunch schedule, recess schedule, emergency procedures and protocol, visitors, and volunteers
Supplemental Curricular Materials
Confirm with other teachers at your grade level that you have all the necessary components for the curriculum that you are teaching. Then spend time well ahead of the first day of school to really get to know the curriculum—not only the textbook, but the supplemental materials as well. These supplemental curricular materials may be referred to as Teacher’s Editions (TEs), Teacher’s Manuals, or Curricular Guidebooks.
Keep up with your lesson planning! Ask your fellow teachers how and when they plan, but remember that, as a new teacher, you must set aside time for lesson planning, no matter what other, more experienced teachers may be doing. Make sure you protect yourself: Plan, and always have your plans available for your administrator to see. Have a full set of weekly lesson plans prepared in advance.
Maintain a grade book as a record of all assignments and assessments that are being used to measure your students’ performance. Make it work for you, but always be prepared to show it to parents and/or your administrator, and have scoring rubrics on hand as well. A grade book that is complete and up-to-date shows why you are grading a student the way you are. In some schools, these records may be kept in an electronic grading program.
Have supplies readily available to keep things running smoothly. The importance of this cannot be stressed enough. Many—if not all—supplies can be requested at your school site.
The following are important supplies to have:
- Pens—black (for legal documentation) and blue
- Pencils—sharpened No. 2 pencils
- Markers—assorted colors for posters, word cards, and headings on bulletin boards
- Permanent markers (Sharpie)—for labeling
- Overhead markers—assorted colors and transparency sheets
- Tape—Scotch, masking, bookbinding, and clear plastic
- Sticky putty—for hanging posters
- Stapler and staples
- Paper clips
- Sticky notes (Post-it Notes)
- Note paper—for correspondence with parents and other teachers
- Hole punch
- Lined tag board (heavy poster board)
- Sentence strips—long narrow strips for writing sentences, labels, and standards
- Word cards—shorter sentence strips for words, flash cards, and name tags
- Pointer—for instruction
- Yardstick and/or meter stick—for math measurement
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