Climate Boosters: Back to School Tips for Teachers

For many of you, back to school thoughts begin the first week you are out on summer holidays. It's such a big deal!  There is a lot of work that goes into setting up your classroom and then there's the nerves - yours and your students.

I try to make sure that my back to school routine  involves helping everyone to feel comfortable, happy and safe.  The way I look at it is that we will all be together for a full year and as Maslow said many years ago in his heirarchy of needs:  people need to feel like they belong to be happy and to learn.  So, with that being said, I always try to integrate the "getting to know you" activities with the "classroom learning environment" activities.

1.  Start with getting to know you activities:  games, discussions and writing are three different ways that can help students get to know each other (and themselves) and have fun while doing it. Here is a way to show each individual that they are special.  There are writing activities that outline their friends too.  You can grab it for FREE at my TPT shop by clicking here.

2.  Use children's literature to help students understand that everyone can get nervous sometimes.  Kevin Henkes is one of my favorite authors for back to school.  Here, students are using concepts from Wemberly Worried  to help them understand the different things that Wemberly worried about and that one thought can lead to another. You can find this activity here in my TPT shop. This is a great platform to discuss how to deal with worries and feelings.  I also have students think about their brain smarts so that they can feel confident that they have something to offer the class.  You can find out more here or grab the brain lift-the-flap for FREE, here.

3.  I start my Mindful Journals right away in September.  Here students write on a variety of topics including Back to School.  It helps them to reflect on their feelings.  Of course, the teacher is important in this whole process.  Once we have been in school about 3-4 weeks, I have students write about their teacher.  I think it's important that they think about what makes a teacher a good teacher so that they appreciate the things that their teacher does for them.  It's also a great way to see what you are doing that is effective with your students. 

4.  Classroom meetings help students to feel that they have a voice.  I try to have meetings regularly on Friday afternoons before they go home on the weekend. We reflect on the week and set goals for the next week.  For a Bright Ideas post on this topic, click here.  You can also find more about meetings in my new BTS set at the end of this post.

5.  I try to get busy right away with Art activities that will form a part of our classroom decor so that students get to feel that the classroom is made up of things they have made.  Here, we did tissue paper apples for our Art Center bulletin board.

I'd love to hear your back to school tips. What makes your life easier and a student's life happier during those first few important weeks back to school?

I have compiled many of these ideas and tips that I have talked about into a new set called:  Second Grade Success.  Many of these activities can be used in grades 1-3.  Check it out by clicking here.


  1. These are all wonderful ideas! I like to share read alouds to ease the nerves, too!
    Creating a Thoughtful Classroom

  2. Love all these ideas! I like to do read alouds the first week too! Also I do a load of class and team building to help create a community of learners.

  3. This looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing your great ideas.

  4. These are fantastic ideas! I love how you incorporated the brain into it also!

  5. Thanks for sharing these great ideas!!!

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  8. Loved reading the ideas you shared! I read The Kid in the Red Jacket every year. The kids love it! =)


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