3 Back-To-School Prep Projects To Crush Before You Get Your Class List

Back-To-School season always means your to-do list is a mile long and one of the most challenging things about prepping for a new school year is that most of that list can only get done once you have your classroom keys, your new class list, and the other resources you’re waiting on from admin and your district. 

Core Inspiration's back to school to-do list trello board showing all tasks that need to be completed before the first day of school in the elementary classroom.

If you want to reduce your workload in the upcoming back-to-school season, there are a few things you can this summer to prep what you have control over regardless of what room you’re teaching in or the names of the students in your class. 

You can try tackling one of these mini projects each week over the summer or plan to set aside about one week before you head in for your first official work day to complete these projects.  

Write Your First Day Plans 

Regardless of which grade you are teaching or how many students will be in your class this coming year, your first day of school will look relatively the same because it’s all about the routines. You can write detailed plans for your first day of school and simply plug in the grade-level specific activities you need when you get that information a couple of days before school. 

Using the template in this post to create a detailed first-day schedule with notes about all the routines you want to introduce will help you visualize each moment of the first day of school.  

Third grade lesson plan on table in folder with classroom welcome banner overhead

As we know, visualization leads to more confidence and success…and we need all the confidence and success we can get when we’ve got 25+ new personalities making a debut in our lives.

To read more about the goals you may want to focus on during that first day of school, hop over to this post

If you’re looking for a collection of top-rated back-to-school activities that will help you establish strong classroom routines while helping your students ease into the new school year, check out the Back-To-School Category in my TPT Shop.

Get Your Classroom Library Labeling Done

Getting your library books labeled and in order before the first workday will take a ton off your plate during those busy hours before the first day of school. 

When it comes to organizing a classroom library, it is important to have a simple plan for how books will be sorted. I highly recommend dividing fiction from nonfiction to support your students’ ability to distinguish between these two genres. From there, decide whether you want to sort by sub-genre or by reading level.

Core Inspiration's classroom library labeling kit showing the action/adventure shelf in her classroom library along with a book labeled with a matching sticker.

This decision will depend on your philosophy behind reading instruction, emphasis on leveling within your classroom, and personal preference. Remember, it should be easy for you and your students to find a particular book, and your library should be sorted in a way that makes that process seamless.

This post shares a more detailed classroom library organization process that will help you set up a classroom library that is low-maintenance for you all year because it’s completely managed by your students. 

If you’re looking for a set of editable library labels that will make this project a breeze, these library labels are being used in over 5,000 classrooms and are absolutely LOVED by students and teachers.

Begin Brainstorming Classroom Jobs 

Classroom jobs are another element you have complete control over whether you know all the details of your teaching position for the coming year or not. 

As you brainstorm your classroom jobs, try to think of all the tasks you might need to do before, during, and after school that students can help with after you train them. 

Core Inspiration's classroom job brainstorm back to school project with all classroom job ideas listed on a sticky note

Creating classroom jobs that have meaning not only makes your list of tedious tasks shorter, but it also helps students feel they are integral contributors to the daily maintenance of a smooth-running classroom. This translates to greater respect for classroom property, and more buy-in when you teach students how to stay organized, tidy, and efficient.

If you want a set of editable job cards that makes this process quicker and easier than ever, fill out the form below. To read more about using classroom jobs and establishing a strong classroom economy you and your students will love, check out this post.  

Free Editable Classroom Job Cards

Which Back-To-School Prep Project Will You Start First?

This back-to-school season you can say goodbye to some of the stress that comes with waiting for resources from your admin and your district.

Tackling fun mini projects like labeling your classroom library, writing your first-day lesson plans, and brainstorming classroom jobs, can help you feel more organized and ready for the first day of school while still making time for that well-deserved rest and relaxation this summer.

Comment below to let me know which project you plan to try first.

Wishing you all the best as you think of the year ahead!


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2 Responses

  1. Hi Laura,
    As a retired teacher that missed teaching so much that I now do long-term subbing, I don’t have a specific grade that I teach. I do have an assignment for the first three months for this year though. I will be teaching kindergarten for a teacher on maternity leave at the school I retired from! I have not been in the classroom yet and we don’t begin classes until August 17th, but I am very excited. I love getting new ideas! I’ve been on TPT everyday this summer…at least it feels like it! Thank you for your words of inspiration and encouragement! I have read all three of your “Back to School” articles!

    1. Cindy, thank you so much for the kind message. I hope you enjoy your 3-month assignment. I am sure the teacher who is on leave is feeling so much more relaxed knowing that her class will consistently be in the hands of an experienced educator who is already putting so much thought and care into the job. I’m so happy to hear you’ve enjoyed the back to school series. 🙂

I’m Laura Santos

I’ve been an elementary teacher for ten years, and love sharing tips and resources that make differentiated learning more manageable for you. Thank you for visiting.

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