Setting up your year for success

Starting a new school year is the best feeling ever.  It's a feeling unique to teaching; new students, new supplies, new curriculum, and sometimes even a new classroom.  It's a clean slate in many ways, but also one of the most stressful and busy times of the year.


In kindergarten, there are a few things that I like to focus on to set my year up for success: classroom management, parent communication, and assessments.


Classroom management


Classroom management and structure is one of the most important things needed for a classroom to run smoothly.  Students need to know what is expected of them, what their daily schedule and routines look like, and what consequences there will be if they do not follow those routines.


Classroom management is also a very personal decision for all teachers.  At my school, we have 30 classrooms and they all are run very differently, but we all have the same goals and outcomes (mostly).  For me, I like to have individual, small group, and whole-group positive reinforcement.  And having a prize box full of legit prizes always makes it better (Play Doh, bubbles, sticker books, etc.).


Parent communication


Transparent and consistent communication with your students' grown-ups is absolutely essential.  This can be a mixture (or one) of what you're most comfortable with: phone calls, emails, Zooms, etc.  My advice is to spend some time thinking about how consistent you can be with your communication.  If weekly does not seem manageable for you, focus on thorough bi-weekly communication.


I also like to be clear about our standards and goals throughout the year.  I don't give weekly updates (it's really hard to stick to weekly schedules--especially during a pandemic), but simple and easy-to-understand lists and explanations. My favorites are my handbooks (they give full page overviews of each standard) and my standards checklists.




Assessments are the most important tool to inform instruction.  I also love sharing assessment data and goals with my students' families.  Again, transparent and consistent communication is essential, especially with assessments and data.


I recently grouped all of my literacy assessments into a year-long resource for my classroom.  I'm so excited to have a comprehensive portfolio to use for my phonemic awareness, phonics, and writing assessments and instruction.  Each month also includes a progress report to send home to students' grown-ups.  I most likely won't send one for all; just the friends that need extra practice on specific goals.


CLICK HERE for my Kindeergarten Assessment Portfolio!


Best of luck for the school year!  :)