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The bell...

Da plane, boss!  Da plane!  For those of you old enough to remember that expression, it well exemplifies how I feel at the beginning of each school year.  The guests are coming, and I need to be ready to make all their dreams come true!  Are you ready?
If you are anything like me, I need a checklist to make sure I have everything done for that magical first day.  And knowing that I will not sleep at all the night before, I must be of sound mind all of the days leading up to it to make sure things are the way I want them.  So, here is my checklist:
  1. Classroom is arranged in a manner conducive to learning (and for building a community in the early days of the year).
  2. My walls are bright and welcoming, with great examples of student work and select motivational posters scattered throughout.
  3. Learning expectations and classroom rules are posted and are clear for student understanding.
  4. The syllabi are printed and copied for each student, detailing my expectations, rules, and an outline of the year.  An explanation of my course is also provided, as well as a note to parents that must be signed and returned.
  5. Student examples of my first assignment are laid out for me to show as I assign the homework at the end of the first class period.  It won't kill them and it helps get them off on the right foot!
  6. A bottle of Lipton Green Tea is sitting on my desk with a few assorted snacks next to it.  I know myself, and from years of experience, I know that I will not take the time to eat lunch.  I'll be too busy working to make my classroom look perfect for the next group coming in, so I must have some nutrients on hand.  More importantly, knowing that I will talk way too much on the first day, that green tea may save my voice from class to class.
  7. And on the night before, knowing there is no sleep ahead, I grab my copy of my book.  It reminds me again and again why I go through all this stress every year.  It reminds me what my "job" is all about.  And most importantly, it reminds me why I love all of it - tomorrow the kids will come!  And no matter what age they are, they are your kids and will be your bright, shining stars for the coming year.
I hope you are prepared for your first day.  If not, I hope this checklist will get you there!

Have a great school year!

Michele