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
- 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!
Pro tip! Be sure to save this in a folder in 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.
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)
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!
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!
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. 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!