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The Back to School Checklist for Science Teachers

If you’re a science teacher heading back to school, this back to school checklist is everything you need to go from nervous to confident on the first day!

Science teachers, it’s back to school time!

Let’s play a game of this or that!

Exciting or stressful?

Organized or chaotic?

Cool and calm or nervous?

If you’re feeling stressed about heading back to school, let me share my back to school checklist for science teachers to help you feel cool, calm, and collected about your first days back in the science classroom!

 1. WELCOME LETTER/SYLLABUS

Set the tone for the year with a welcome letter! Share your excitement for the upcoming school year and a few things about yourself to help students and parents get to know you.

  • Introduce yourself
  • Supplies for class
  • Homework policies
  • Grading policies
  • Make-up and late work policies
  • Contact information
  • Classroom expectations
  • Procedures
  • Topics for the year

I like to have the parents sign and return this so that we can all start off the year on the same page!

Want to save HOURS of formatting your own letter? Take a look at this best selling resource!

welcome letter

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

I absolutely LOVE this resource! Because of the sections, it makes it easy for students to find specific areas of your policies and procedures that they may have questions about. I was able to edit it to add some things that I use in my classroom and they will keep it in their science binders to refer back to it whenever they need!

-Brittany F.

Pro tip! Be sure to save this in a folder on your computer!!!  Next year, everything will be ready to go and all you have to do is tweak the dates and make any changes for the new year. 

2. PROCEDURES

Classroom procedures are different for everyone. It’s really important that you determine the procedures and expectations for your classroom.

You might even want to include the procedures in your welcome letter.

Procedures to consider

  • paper turn-in
  • pencil sharpening
  • getting out of their seats
  • managing transition times
  • entering and leaving the classroom
  • make up work for absent students
  • attention getter (I like “give me 5” – then students put their hands up and stop talking)
Grab the checklist below!

3. MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Whether you’re a fan of a paper planner or digital, take a few minutes before the year starts to mark all of your after school meetings, content planning times, and duties.

Our lives get so busy, that it helps to have your schedule laid out in advance so you can plan any upcoming appointments with ease!

4. SEATING ARRANGEMENT

Decide on how your will arrange your desks/tables.

Are you the type of teacher who likes to have a seating chart for students on the first day? Or would you rather let students choose where they sit?

It’s a personal decision. I usually like to have assigned seats for my students in the beginning of the year. This helps me get to know their names more quickly.

5. PLAN YOUR FIRST WEEK ACTIVITIES

This could be an entire blog post in itself!

Building relationships in the beginning of the year is KEY!

Take time the first few days to get your know your students and to help them get to know each other.

Take a look at this post 5 First Week of School Activities to Build Lasting Relationships for some ideas to get started!

Don’t forget to pin this for later!

6. LAB SAFETY

No matter what grade you’re teaching, lab safety is key!

A lab safety contract is a must at the beginning of the year!

I love using the Flinn Science safety contract for grades 6-8. This free safety contract covers all of the general rules students will need in middle school.

There’s also a free science safety test from Flinn so you can be sure your students are ready for lab!

Most importantly, be sure that you take some time to explicitly teach your students the lab rules!! Take a look at these 7 Stupid-Simple Ideas to Teach Science Lab Safety for ideas!

7. GET STUDENTS ORGANIZED

Teachers aren’t the only ones that need to be organized!

Consider using a classroom system for students to organize notes, labs, study guides, etc.

Whether you’re “team composition book,” “team three ring binder,” or “team 3 prong folder” (my favorite – learn more here!!!!), help your students establish a system for organizing their class materials!

In the long run, you will save SO much time and appreciate this more than you can imagine!

8. CLASSROOM SET UP

The back to school checklist isn’t complete if I didn’t mention classroom set up!

This is the fun part! But remember – your classroom doesn’t have to be “Pinterest perfect!”

Here are a few ideas for easy bulletin boards or displays that you can leave up all year long!

More from the shop…

Don’t stress about empty bulletin boards or blank walls! Check out all the options ready to print and go!

CER Poster & Anchor Set

Prefix, Suffix, & Root Set

Lab Safety Poster Set

9. MAKE YOUR COPIES

Get all of your copies organized for the first week.

I love stacking trays to keep things neat and organized!

  • Welcome letter/syllabus
  • Lab safety contract
  • Copies for activities

10. Most importantly… TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF!

Schedule time for yourself! It’s easy to get wrapped up in “school” 100% of the time! You can’t be a great teacher if you’re stressed out and overwhelmed!


Back to School Blueprint

If you’re a new science teacher, let me send you my Back To School Blueprint! It’s full of tips and tricks to get your year started with confidence!


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