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A Back-to-School Backpack Just For You

July 31, 2015 / by Gretchen Vierstra

2015 Back-To-School Backpack

As kids plan for back to school, they (and their families) often think about backpacks. Do I need a new one, or is my old one just fine? How big should it be? How will I make it my own?

For kids going to school for the very first time, getting a backpack is a rite of passage. When you’re ready for your own backpack, you’re ready for your own adventures. You can bring the things you need, and take home what you created and collected throughout the day. While what's on the outside of a backpack is often about personal style, it's really about the things students carry inside them, especially the things that are meant for their eyes only. Maybe it's a secret journal, a book to read in the quiet moments between classes, the small stuffed animal tucked inside an inner compartment just in case it’s needed. And, backpacks often carry brand new supplies that get students excited to go back to school after summer break.

A Virtual Backpack

Well, what about educators? Is there the same excitement over backpacks and what goes inside? Of course! Although we may not literally have backpacks, we could certainly fill one with our own tried-and-true helpful resources for starting off the year.

As you think about the beginning of the school year, Teaching Channel is giving you a head start with our very own Back-To-School Backpack. We've filled it with 4 fresh notebooks on subjects we know are important to think about at the start of school. While brand new notebooks with blank pages are exciting, it's also comforting to have some starter ideas. Each of our notebooks contain carefully selected links to related Teaching Channel content that can support you in your back to school journey.

•    Classroom Setup: How will you use the space in your classroom?
•    Lesson Planning: What tools can you use to help plan your lessons?
•    Class Culture: How do you set up and maintain class culture?
•    Assessment: What are all the ways you and your students can assess learning?

Over the next four weeks we'll be adding new Teaching Channel content to each notebook, so keep an eye on our evolving Backpack page.

Contribute Your Ideas

In addition, we'll be asking you to contribute to the notebooks. We want to fill our backpack as a community. We want to keep getting better together. During this first week, we’re asking you to share your favorite ideas related to classroom setup via an open Google Doc:

•    What are your favorite ways to set up desks or tables?
•    How do you have students organize their work?
•    How do support students in organizing their work space?

Simply describe your idea on the doc, add links if applicable, and include a way for people to contact you if they have questions. Then check out the great ideas that others are sharing!

Whether you're packing your backpack for your first school journey or your 30th, take a peek at what we've put in ours and share your own school supplies by adding them to the Google Doc notebooks. You can also share your backpack flair -- new ideas, advice, photos -- via social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) using the hashtag #TchTogether. If you do, you'll automatically be entered into our Back-To-School Giveaway! And remember to check the Backpack page each week for brand new Teaching Channel content. We'll also be showing sneak peeks of upcoming resources on the Tcher's Voice blog, and we'll do a roundup of what our community has shared via the open Google Docs and social media.

By the end of these four weeks, our backpack will be brimming with amazing ideas to start the school year. But it's only the beginning of our year-long journey together. Once you’ve opened your classroom door and unpacked your backpack, be sure to come back. In the spirit of getting better together, Teaching Channel will be introducing you to new faces and ideas to support you in your journey. We're in this amazing adventure together!

Topics: Professional Learning, Class Culture, Assessment, Lesson Planning, Video Playlist, Resources, Back to School, Classroom Setup

Gretchen Vierstra

Written by Gretchen Vierstra

Gretchen Vierstra taught middle school for ten years in the San Francisco Bay Area. During her 15+ years in education, she’s also been a department chair, new teacher coach, curriculum developer, and policy analyst. She is Director of Educational Content at Teaching Channel.

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