Time to Pack Your Bag! - National Council of Teachers of English
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Time to Pack Your Bag!


Here in the Midwest, many teachers and students are already heading back to school. That means it’s time for me to start packing my school/teacher bag. There are two ways to pack that bag—one, literally, making sure I have my class list, syllabus, reading materials, other things. The second bag is more figurative—what do I need to do, think about, plan for the upcoming semester. Here are some things I always seem to focus on as I prepare for the coming school year.

Classroom Management
Classroom management is an area where I feel all teachers need to constantly adjust, change, and grow with their students. The English Journal article “Lessons about Motivation and Classroom Management” provides some advice and insights from interns in education.

Community Building
It’s important to engage students in thinking about the process of learning and the behavioral and community needs which support a productive classroom environment. Read more about this in the ReadWriteThink.org lesson plan “Creating Class Rules: A Beginning to Creating Community.”

Creating/Maintaining a Classroom Library
BuildYourStack is a new initiative from NCTE focused exclusively on helping teachers build their book knowledge and their classroom libraries.  What are your book recommendations? Share on social media using #BuildYourStack.

Communication with Families
Teachers and schools communicating with families and families communicating with school and teachers adds to the success of the school year. The Language Arts article “Writing a Relationship: Home–School Journals” describes three teachers’ use of journals in creating and maintaining a two-way dialogue with families and some of the results of this communication.

What’s Next? Digital Tools and Social Media,” a themed issue from Voices from the Middle, brings a rich selection of recommendations for digital tools and strategies for using them.

Find or Become a Mentor
In contrast to a conventional concept of mentoring as a one-to-one relationship, a model of distributed mentoring taps into the combined knowledge and wisdom of a team to focus attention on the quality of instructional practices and the processes involved in problem solving, as described in this article from English Journal.

Staying Current with Trends in Education
By reading others’ posts and participating in discussions on NCTE Connects or on social media, I feel like I can gain easy access to others’ best ideas.

What will be in your bag as you plan for the upcoming semester?