Happy Summer, Kindertribe!
It is a little weird talking about back to school for me, seeing as my last year ended only 2 weeks ago! Although I know the end of the year is super stressful, the beginning of a new one is even more so.
There are a few things I do at the end of the year to help the transition into the new one go smoothly. We have to take down and pack up EVERYTHING, so for a good two weeks before the kids come, I am working on setting up my classroom so it is ready for the first day (and ya know...the whole year). The LAST thing I want to do is the “Charlie Work” tasks that need to get done.
I teach at a Pre-K through 8th grade school, so in those last few days where everyone is checked out, I always borrow a few middle school helpers to get the little tasks done (and done right- something the kinder babies can’t help with). Sharpening pencils, sorting out shiny new crayons, and fixing broken rekenreks are a few tasks they have helped me with, but none are as helpful as them preparing my back-to- school packets and homework folders.
We are required to give homework nightly, so I try to have it be as meaningful as possible. My homework folders are very important, and I see them as a way to teach my students responsibility and problem solving. They are responsible for bringing them back and forth daily, and putting them in the proper bin upon arrival. They are full of helpful information that they are used to seeing in class, so they (and their parents) are able to use them as a tool to help with homework and other learning.
We have a very transient population, so I use name labels on the front so I can change them out easily when new students arrive. I use the poly folders from Target, and as long as the kid isn’t too rough on it, they last longer than the whole year (even toted around in backpacks).
I saw this idea on a blog years ago (forgot who- sorry!), but I label the sides of the folder to reinforce left and right.
I like to keep very open lines of communication with parents, so I like to have my contact info easily accessible. I make labels with all the ways they can contact me and stick them right on. I also want my students to know an emergency number they can call, so I have parents write their number in, and seeing it daily really helps them remember it!
My kids definitely aren't babied by me, so I do hope they have some self-sufficiency when working at home. In a page protector, I put some “homework helpers” for them to reference if they need help. Each folder contains an alphabet chart, mini word wall, number chart, 100 chart, shapes, and symbols. We use these tools in class, it only makes sense to have them at home, too. You can grab this homework helper here.