10 Back to School Tips for Dual Language and Bilingual Teachers.

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The thought of going back to school after a restful summer break can be stressful and overwhelming, and that is why I have put together 10 tips to help you plan so that you can live as stress-free as possible.  Let's dive in!

10 Back to School Tips for Dual Language and Bilingual Teachers

As the new school year approaches, Dual Language and Bilingual teachers face the unique challenge of getting their classrooms in order so that they can support and nurture multilingual students.  For both new and seasoned teachers, setting up a successful learning environment requires thoughtful planning and a strategic approach. In this blog post, I'm excited to share my top 10 Back-to-School tips specifically tailored for Dual Language and Bilingual teachers.  Let's dive in, and make this school year the best one yet! 

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1.  Take the time to care for yourself!

As I look back on my years of service as a Dual Language and Bilingual public Educator, I wish that I had taken more time to relax!  So my best advice to you is, "Take time to smell the flowers!"  If that means that you need to take some time to watch your favorite show, then do it.  If you want to get your nails done, do it.  If you need a nap, take.  The point is that you may need to slow down and take some time for you.  Summer is good for that.  So are weekends.  But so is every day.  Start to build in 'You Time' every day, today!

2.  Know the routines and procedures you want to have in place.

Every teacher wants to train their class to work on 'Auto Pilot', right?  This is essential because teachers need to attend to their small groups.  Start to think about what kind of centers you will need right away so that you can start to teach your 'Centers Routine' that first week of school.  

I highly recommend super simple and easy centers so that the kids can learn your routine without trying to learn new content.  This is exactly why I created this bundle of Fine Motor Activities.  I used this exact bundle every year so that I could teach my center routines for math and literacy without my kids experiencing frustration.  If you want more information on the how-tos, then check it out this BLOG POST.
Click on this image so that you can see the resource on Teachers pay Teachers. 

If you are looking for Kindergarten Spanish Centers, I want to direct you to this POST as well.  

3.  Know your Behavior Management plan.

This is crucial.  Nip it in the bud.  What system do you like?  What has worked best for you in the past?  If you are new to teaching, then I recommend using a Wow Board.  A Wow Board is simply a 100-square grid with a spot on the left for the names of all the students in the class.  When a kiddo does something outstanding, then they can put their initial on the Wow Board.  Once a student gets their initials on the board 10 times, then you can give them an earned classroom privilege.  This non-punitive system is great for incentivizing children to earn non-material rewards, or privileges for good behavior.  

If you need a system for individuals who need a bit more attention, then check out this bundle by clicking HERE.    Also,  THIS POST for more on classroom management and how to use my amazing Star Charts!
Click on this image to see the resource on Teachers pay Teachers.

4.  Have a plan for your print-rich environment.

No matter what, you need to think ahead about how you want your room to look so that you are not so overwhelmed when you start to set up your room for the year.  I have spent entire summers thinking about this in the past. . . and I still got overwhelmed.  Balancing out perfectionism with the reality of time is essential.  Think about where you want your centers, where you want your alphabet and numbers, your calendar and so forth.  

Do you have different spaces for Spanish, English and your Bridge between the 2 languages?  If you set up for Dual Language, consider one wall for Spanish literacy and color-coding in green, and consider another wall for English and color-coding in blue.  If you have these 2 spaces, then most likely you will also create a space for bridging between the 2 languages.

Print-Rich in 2 languages is essential for biliteracy, and the languages must be clearly differentiated for early readers to understand the differences.  Of course, color-coding the languages is the first step, but also consider creating clear spaces for Spanish literacy and English literacy, including word walls.  

Check out some of my K-1 classroom decor options by CLICKING HERE. 

5.  Plan out your first 3 days of class.

You need a plan for the first 3 days of class.  I love to simply create bullet points, or even a check list of things I need to cover with my class in those first 3 days. On the first day, I teach my Kinder or First Grade kiddos about classroom expectations, and then fun stuff! This way they can put into practice the new classroom expectations.  My go-to every year is this fun sorting activity  Kids love the sorting activity either in partners or whole group, and you have an anchor chart activity as well.  The anchor chart works well as a classroom contract and all the students can sign the chart!

6.  Put your units and themes in order for the year.

This type of planning is best done with your team, but I know that sometimes we as teachers don't always have a team because we are the only grade in the school.  It has happened to me.  In this case, I have had curriculum maps from the school to use as a general plan.  But the actual materials were always up to me to find.  If this is your case, I want to send you to my Teachers pay Teachers store specifically to my units.  Click HERE to check out some of my unit plans for K-1.  

7.  Make your photo copies for the first week.

Be sure to make copies of your first newsletter, including your behavior plan, your system for chaperones and field trips, your classroom volunteers, and how you can be contacted by parents as well as school news.

9.  Print, laminate and organize your decor and centers. 

During the summer months printing and laminating can get done at your convenience.  I love to organize my centers over the summer and get all my boxes and bins organized without feeling rushed to get it all done.  Once you get your centers organized, then you have accomplished a huge part of your workload because now you have specific direction for teaching center routines.
Image of Spanish Literacy Centers.
Click on this image to read the blog post about Spanish Literacy Centers. 

10.  Take time to reflect.  

Take time to reflect on your plans, your routines, your centers, your behavior management system and your personal margins.  Think about how you will fit it all together so that you can hit the ground running on the first day of school, but also think about how you will create that essential work-life balance.  

In Conclusion,
Plan ahead, and leave space for margins in your life so that you can create a strong work-life balance.  Be sure to rest, and know your routines, know your behavior management plan, and know how you want your room to look.  Get those lesson plans for the first 3 days in order, and know what your units and supporting materials need to be so that you can get your copies and laminating done and organized.  Plan and work ahead so that you can stay ahead of the race, and have time to rest, regroup and reflect.

If this post or the resources suggested in this post have helped you, please consider leaving a kind comment!

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