Preparing for the 1st day of School: Linky Party!

Mrs. Crouse's 6th grade All-Stars is having a fun linky party focusing on preparing for the 1st day of school.  She's a first year teacher and literally my palms sweat when I think about starting all over again.  There are so many things to prepare for!!  So join on up and give some words of advice for newbies and those of us that still need a little help getting organized! (ME!)  Here are the rules! :)

1. Post about this linky party on your blog
2. Follow her blog ({6th Grade} All-Stars)
3. Answer the following 5 questions (include documents if you have them):

- What grade do you teach?
- What is the greatest advice you received during your 1st year of teaching?
- Do you have a checklist that you follow when preparing your classroom (include the checklist)?
- What are some must haves in your classroom that you cannot live without (ex. items, books, posters, management strategies)?
- What is something that all teachers should have in their classroom?
So here I go!
What grade do you teach?
I am a proud 1st grade teacher!  I've taught Kinder and 5th also but I am in love with 1st grade!
Here are my sweet 1sties Skyping with Mr. Marc from Adventure to Fitness.  It's the only pic I have of them that doesn't show any of their faces!
What is the greatest advice you received during your 1st year of teaching? 
Say what you mean, mean what you say.  Don't waiver in your convictions and be consistent with your behavior expectations in the classroom.  I had an excellent mentor teacher that taught me so much, but that quote just sticks in my head!
 Do you have a checklist that you follow when preparing your classroom (include the checklist)?
I don't have a checklist.  I have moved so many times in 7 years that I am a pro at moving but I have rarely had the opportunity to just walk into a room and start with an organized list.  That will be my goal for next year, to have an organized list!

Must haves include:
BOOKS!  Lots of them all levels/types. Collect books where ever you can!  Especially if they are free.  Do not discriminate, just take them home and then decide if you can use them later!
Books books and more books!  This is one of 5 book shelves in my room full of BOOKS!

WORD WALL-  Only when I have taught primary though, I never had a word wall in 5th grade.  I change my word wall every year because I always want it to be CUTER!  This year I bought a new word wall from Erica Bohrer at her Tpt store.  Click here to find it in her store.  I love her!!   I will post pics when I get it up.  It's polka dot and it is cute....and functional too!

A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING AND EVERYTHING IN IT'S PLACE!  Have a place to file papers for your students and a place to put stuff for them to take home! 

 This is where all my organization happens in my room!  I label the cubbies for students and in them we put everything they need to take home for the day.  They also store their pencil boxes here at the end of the day so I can easily wipe down their tables.  In the morning they put their homework in the homework bin and their BEE books (like an agenda, Bring Everything Everyday--borrowed from Jessica Meacham at  The "to go home" bin is a place I can throw all of those stacks of flyers that I find in my cubbie in the teacher's lounge.  I always have atleast one sweet boy or girl who loves to file for me!
BEHAVIOR CHART-  Have a few different behavior ideas in mind, because when one stops working (like around Christmas break) you can come back after break with something new in mind. 
What's the one thing all teachers should have in their classroom?
EASEL-  I gave my easel away when I left Kinder and went to 5th grade.  I immediately regretted it and had my husband build me a new one over Labor Day weekend.  It's that important!  Even when I taught in the upper grades it gave me a "meeting place" to break up the boredom of sitting in desks all day. 

So there you have it.  I think the most important thing to keep in mind is do what you are comfortable with in your own room.  I know my closest friends at school and I do not do things the same way in our classrooms because we are all DIFFERENT.  I tackle problems as they come and stay flexible always!

Link up here if you want to play too!