I remember how hard it was at first to walk into a new classroom becoming a new science teacher after over 20 years in the regular ed classroom. I figured out right away that I needed to get started right away getting my room ready and making it perfect aesthetically for my new K-5th grade students. After that, however I started to realize that it was so much more than just a pretty room! I needed to have a plan.
To help you start off on the right foot and make your first year of teaching a success, I've compiled seven tips that focus on organization, planning, and preparing easily. Let's help make Science child's play for you, too!
1.Create a Yearly Scope and Sequence:
Develop a yearly plan that outlines the main topics and concepts you'll cover throughout the academic year. This scope and sequence will act as a guide for your lesson planning and help ensure you cover all necessary content. We use FOSS science for all our K-5th graders. As a group we chose what kits we would do at the same time per year. I am sharing my scope and sequence sheets that I created for you to use! Use the free download right away or pin for later:)
2.Break Down Units into Weekly or Daily Plans:
Take your yearly scope and sequence and break it down into smaller units, then create weekly or daily plans for each unit. This approach will make it easier to manage and stay organized as you navigate through the curriculum. Invest in a teacher planner to keep track of important dates, deadlines, and lesson plans. Use it as your go-to resource for staying organized, jotting down ideas, and managing your day-to-daytasks. I found that google was my best friend and an easy way to organize both my units, weeks,and days. Let me show you what I mean...
3.Set Up an Efficient Classroom Layout:
Arrange your classroom in a way that works for you. One of the most important areas that I felt that I needed included the carpet area in the front of the room where students gather, and where the supplies I had for each class were organized and stored. Consider the flow of movement, access to materials, and creating designated areas for different activities (e.g., science experiments, group work, and individual study). If it doesn't work right away, change it up again so that it works for you. Make sure you know how you will seat your students, how you will have group activities, as well as passing and collecting sheets, packets, and tests. Ask yourself, how will students get supplies and return them easily as well. There is a lot to consider.
4.Develop a System for Material Organization:
Establish a system for organizing teaching materials, including worksheets, handouts, lab equipment, and resources. Ask yourself will I utilize labeled folders, binders, or digital storage solutions to make sure there is an easy way to access supplies when you need them. I had grade level buckets with supplies at first, then realized that sometimes there was just too much to fit into each. I switched to a spot on the counter for each grade one after the other. I labeled the counter then with a colored folder that had all the printed sheets for the week. I had colored folders that they then placed each sheet and they were collected after each class. I also used digital resources that they housed in seesaw. I went less paper and more digital as the years went on.
5.Pre-Plan Lab Activities:
Plan and prepare lab activities in advance to avoid last-minute scrambling. Create a list of necessary materials and ensure you have them readily available. The supplies I needed each week were already set in plastic bags in each kit, or set in a specific box, however the list of supplies were set up on my roadmap which always helped me! It is also good to develop clear and concise lab instructions to guide your students through the process that can be shared on your smartboard, iPad or sheets. I planned a week ahead of time and each time I had prep I would prepare for another grade level. After you are done with a given week, think to yourself "how will I store them so that they are easily found again next year?" This will help as you
6.Build a Resource Library:
At the beginning, I never had any resources except for FOSS. That is why I started created resources...I needed them for myself! Compile a collection of go to science resources, such as books, websites, and educational videos, sheets, and units for example. Having a go-to resource library will save you time when searching for supplemental materials or engaging content to enhance your lessons. Check out Epic books which was a perfect go to for non-fiction science books I could project! It is FREE for teachers! There are also free resources that teachers share with each other on Teachers Pay Teachers. Don't forget to follow me on Instagram! I post a ton of pictures to show you what I am doing in my own classroom! Grab these free Science Posters to get you on your way!
7.Seek Support from Experienced Colleagues:
Don't hesitate to reach out to experienced colleagues for guidance and support. They can offer valuable insights, share tips and tricks, and provide mentorship as you navigate your first year as a science teacher.
Starting your career as a science teacher is an exciting and rewarding, but there is a lot to think about and organize. Utilizing these eight tips for organization, planning, and preparing easily, you'll set a strong foundation for a successful first year in the classroom. Remember to stay flexible, be open to learning from your experiences, and most importantly, enjoy the journey of inspiring your students and making Science child's play!
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out! I am happy to help you answer any questions!