Kick Off the School Year Right with These 14 Back to School Tips and Tons of Resources!

I’m excited to announce I’ve taken on a new position as the Technology and Computer teacher at a STEM charter school in Houston, Texas. Yesterday, I met some of my 650 elementary students and their parents. I will be teaching 2nd to 5th graders and working with our PBL teachers to support the kindergarten and 1st graders. I’m excited to begin the school year and already have a checklist of what needs to be accomplished before we officially begin on August 22nd. I’ve included these tips below along with slide presentations, posts, and tons of resources. I hope these ideas and resources help you plan for an incredible year ahead!

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Back to School Resources

These are some back to school tips along with posts, presentations, infographics, and resources to help you prepare for the school year ahead:

  • Encourage students to set academic and personal learning goals so they envision their success and come up with strategies to achieve goals!
  • Students learn on the first day we are not just a classroom, but a community!
  • Use icebreakers and get-to-know you activities to cultivate relationships, teach digital citizenship, promote active learning and get students to know each other. Find tons of icebreakers I’ve created here.
  • Cultivate relationships! Learn students’ names and help students learn their peers’ names with the ideas in this post.
    • You can use my free Buncee Student Class Name Dictionary template here. Quickly assign students this editable template, then stitch the slides to add to the original Name Dictionary. This takes just a few minutes to do all this.
    • Another option is to use my Google slide template and have students add their own slide.
  • Classroom management is easier when students come up with the rules for their communities and commit to following them, because they understand these rules help their peers and them thrive. Check out this webinar recording and post with ideas and resources.
  • Revamp your syllabus so students actually know the important information shared. Make your syllabus more interactive and engaging with these ideas.
  • Animate your textbook and make it more engaging and hands-on with the ideas shared here.
  • Create a teacher survival kit so that you are more flexible and prepared when the unexpected occurs, which happens often throughout the year!
  • Discover how bell ringers or lesson starters at the beginning of each class period help you and your students get mentally prepared for the learning ahead.
  • Make your classes more accessible and culturally inclusive with tips shared here.
  • Find lesson planning tips here.
  • Find more tips for integrating technology here.
    • Find ideas for managing a classroom full of devices here.
    • Check out slides 19 through 24 in the presentation for specific tips on keeping students focused and storing devices in one area.
  • Engage parents with these resources.
  • Transform your classroom environment to support student-centered learning.
    • Check out flexible classroom designs, makerspaces, learning stations, etc.
    • What is your class theme this year? We have a superhero theme this year, since we are accomplishing missions to transform our school community and help out our peers. I tie activities, projects, the classroom design, and some of the materials to this theme. I’ll be sharing more about our theme in the future, but here’s a post with an example.

Challenge: Try any of these ideas to prepare you for the school year head. Feel free to share your tips in the comments below.

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell),, and on her blog,, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at


  1. Thanks a lot Shelly. Great tips and resources.
    I wish you all the best for your new activities and your students!

  2. Hi Shelly, I love your attitude about community building. My struggle is keeping the kids managed and setting clear limits so as not to have disruptive students, which does happen more frequently than I would like. What do you suggest when it isnt my own classroom and I am only with them a few hours a week? Thank you.

    • Hi Heidi,
      I am now in a similar teaching setting as you. It takes time to build relationships with the students. Another thing that helps is being consistent with the classroom procedures and routines even when they aren’t followed right away. Repeating them helps students realize the expectations. Also, we do Morning Meetings at our school and this helps students build relationships with each other as well as the teacher. This way they are kinder to each other. Just know that all this takes time and just now my kiddos are starting to settle in more with me.

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