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Wednesday 3 August 2016

5 To Do's To Make BTS Simple!

Hi Everyone!  It's my day to post on the We Teach SPED page and I have some tips to help you make going back to school simple!

1)  Get to Know Your Students

This first step is crucial in setting up your classroom for the year.  If you don't know anything about your students or their abilities, how are you going to make a schedule or plan lessons for them?  Getting to know your students can be easy.  Read their IEPs, behaviour plans and student profiles if they have them.  If you can't get access to these items during the summer, call their parents and hold interviews either over the phone or in person.  If you can and are willing to, ask to meet and observe the students at home or their summer program.  Over the years, I have found that reading about students is helpful, but it's not until I meet and observe them that I can get a really good understanding of their needs and abilities.

2)  Print and Prep!

Over the summer, I like to print and prep my teacher binder, my sub binder, forms I will need throughout the year and reminder notes.  It doesn't take much time to put these binders together and it one less thing I have to worry about the week before school starts.  It also helps to get me organized and on track for the documentation I need to keep throughout the school year.  There are several resources for these binders on TPT, but here are links to the ones I use:

3)  Go Shopping!

This is my favourite part of going back to school!  However, I usually leave this part to the last minute and then it just becomes stressful for me and my bank account!  This year, I decided to spread it over the summer and when I am out running errands or going grocery shopping, I stop at the dollar store or Walmart and pick up things I need.  I have to say that doing it this way has really made it more enjoyable and less financially stressful.  Plus, I am getting everything I want that I see at the dollar stores!  In the past, I would wait until closer to the school year and then what I wanted would be gone!  If you see something at the dollar store you want/need, scoop it up because the next time you go there, it might be gone!!!

4)  Plan & Prep Week One

Once you know who your students are, you can start planning your first week back.  I always start the school year off the same way.  The first week is dedicated to teaching the routines, pairing with reinforcement and assessment.  Teaching your students how you want your classroom to run from day one is key!  Building independence in our students is a major goal and we start this by teaching them the routines for every part of the day.  We also take time during this first week to pair ourselves with reinforcement.  This is especially important for new students, but you need to rebuild your relationship with your returning students after a two month break.  So during the first week, we extend recess and playtimes a bit and make sure that we plan some fun activities that the students like.  Finally, the first week (or two) is devoted to assessment.  This is a key process as it informs me what skills my students have retained over the summer and which ones they have lost.  The assessment drives my instruction and also informs me of any changes I need to make to the schedule in order to meet the students' needs.

To achieve these goals, I have to prep the materials I need.  Over the summer, I make new independent work tasks and prep any materials needed for assessment.  This includes data sheets and teaching materials.  I also make sure to have materials I will need for art class and music class as this is easier to prep.  I use these resources for independent work tasks and art.

5)  Meal Prep

This is something that I do every year and am so thankful to have time over the summer to do this!  The first week at school is hectic and it only gets more hectic over the course of the year.  So help future self out by making and freezing some meals.  This eliminates so much stress for me the first couple weeks of school as I am usually exhausted and don't even want to think about cooking.  There are tons of Pinterest boards about quick and easy freezer meals you can make.  I also like to make some quiches, soups and chili to freeze for my lunches.  And don't forget to take advantage of all the fresh, local produce available during the summer and freeze some of it!  I love freezing berries in the summer to use in smoothies during the school year.

If you complete these 5 To Do's over the summer, I guarantee you will have a less stressful return to school!  I'd also love to hear what you do to make back to school simpler!  Leave me a comment below!  Thanks for stopping by! 

Until next time,


  1. Planning ahead sounds like a good idea, but I'm getting a little panicky... I just got hired, I start teaching at the end of August, and since I won't get to see my students' IEPs until the school year starts, I have no idea what to plan for! Any suggestions?

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