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Ultimate Teachers’ Guide to Back-to-School Planning 2021

Ultimate Teachers’ Guide to Back-to-School Planning 2021

Whether you’re awaiting the return to the classroom, happily soaking up every last drop of the summer break you can, or already teaching again, back-to-school season is in full swing. We know that all of you educators are putting plenty of thought into what you’ll do to get the new school year off to a great start. To help you rock those first weeks back in the classroom, we’ve rounded up some of our best resources on classroom organization, classroom management, and teacher deals!

If your classroom needs a makeover

You don’t need to have a Pinterest-perfect classroom to be the best teacher in the world, but if decorating your classroom just how you like is what charges you up for the new year, go for it! Here are a few of our favorite posts to help you make your classroom ready for the new school year!

10 Classrooms That Will Make You Want to Give Yours a DIY Makeover
These educators have gone above and beyond to make their classrooms unique, fun, and engaging for their students. Get ready for some inspiration that will make you want to tackle do-it-yourself projects all weekend!

7 Essential Elements Every Elementary Classroom Needs
Before you head back to school to unpack your boxes and gear up for the new school year, consider these seven key elements that every elementary classroom needs to be successful.

[Foundational Literacy] Building Your Elementary Classroom Library
For teachers, building your own classroom library to supplement scheduled trips to your school’s library is a great way to encourage students to look for books that interest them; explore new topics; and develop into proficient, independent readers. Here are six tips to help you create a top-notch classroom library so that your bookworms can eat up some great reads!

[Classroom Management] Implementing Tech Tools Without the Headaches
As you prepare for another school year, consider these tech tips to help manage technology in your elementary classroom without fear or frustration.

If you’re trying to stretch your budget

Did you know that, according to a recent survey conducted by, teachers spent an average of $750 out of pocket on school supplies during the 2020–21 school year, the highest amount ever tracked, and 30 percent of teachers spent $1,000 or more? Check out these blog posts before you embark on your back-to-school shopping spree.

Educator Back-to-School Discounts 2021
Here is a list of some of our favorite educator discounts and deals just in time for a new school year.

Teacher Grants & Free Resources for Classroom Enrichment
To help alleviate some of these budget strains and ensure that you and your students have what you need to make this school year a success, we’ve compiled a list of organizations that offer teacher grants and free classroom resources.

Don’t forget to enter Edmentum’s Back-to-School Giveaway for your chance to win a $500 Target gift card!

If you’re looking for fun activities for the first few weeks

For many teachers, the first week of school is for housekeeping tasks and icebreakers. The objective with the latter is to foster a feeling of community in the classroom. The problem is that a lot of students start off the year quite shy—especially if asked to speak to the whole class. There are ways to build a sense of community and keep everyone comfortable. If you’re lucky, the students might even learn something. And remember, even though these sorts of icebreaker activities get a bad rap sometimes, they really are important to building community and a philosophy of teamwork in your classroom.

[Back-to-School Teacher Tips]: Icebreakers That Are Actually Fun
There are plenty of ways to help your students engage with each other without putting them on the spot or making them feel embarrassed during the first week of school. Here are some teacher-tested, effective icebreaker activities to help you and your students start off the new school year on the right foot!

Back to School: Free Printable Classroom Resources from Edmentum
We’ve gathered up our favorite printables that are perfect for getting your classroom organized and ready, along with teaching and classroom resource packs with everything you need for a perfect first day back, no matter what your classroom looks like, including fact sheets, activities, and name tags!

NEW! 30-Day Challenge: Back to School Edition!
This 30-Day Back to School Challenge flyer includes creative ideas designed to keep students engaged in their learning after summer break. With 30 days’ worth of fun activities, facts, and resources, learners are bound to learn something new each day and make the most out of returning to school.

About Me Letters
Understanding your students, where they come from and what they like and vice versa is an integral part of gaining their trust for the whole year. We have put together templates for you to share with your students at the beginning of the year so you can really get to know each other!

Teacher Version

Student Version

If you want to focus on building a classroom community from day one

The experience of going to school is about much more than learning new concepts and mastering standards—it’s also a primary opportunity for social learning. The classroom (whether in-person or virtual) is one of the main places where students get to know themselves, where attitudes and values are formed, and where skills are built to interact effectively with others.

[Classroom Management] 7 Tips to Build Community
Building a strong community atmosphere in your classroom is one of the most valuable things you can do as an educator. Not only will a strong sense of community help your students feel more at ease, but it will also help them focus on learning and improve achievement. Try these seven tips to prioritize relationship building with and between your students!

Building Classroom Community and Citizenship on Constitution Day: Free Resources!
The combined observance of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day is a wonderful opportunity to teach your students about the value of citizenship and the importance of working together. It’s also a great opportunity to help you and your students establish classroom procedure and expectations, just in time for the beginning of the school year!

10 Back-to-School Read-Alouds to Teach Classroom Rules and Expectations
While creating your rules, modeling procedures, and enforcing expectations are absolutely necessary, the lessons to help instill some of these behaviors don’t have to be dull and boring. We’ve searched far and wide for favorite books to teach rules, expectations, and build a strong classroom community, and here is a list of our top picks!

If you want to brush up on best practices for teaching

Teachers know better than anyone that learning never stops. Here are a few of our favorite best practices, teaching tips and tools:

5 Strategies to Help Boost Your Students’ Self-Esteem and Confidence in the Classroom
As a teacher, you have the opportunity to positively influence your students and encourage them to feel proud of their abilities and accomplishments. Here are five strategies to help boost your students’ self-esteem and confidence in the classroom.

Acceleration vs. Remediation vs. Intervention: What’s the Difference?
Acceleration, remediation, and intervention have the same fundamental goal: supporting struggling students to ultimately achieve academic success. Here, we take a closer look at these terms to unpack the differences and provide guidance on when and where they might fit into your instructional day.

5 Brain-Based Learning Strategies to Boost Learning, Retention, and Focus
The International Journal of Innovative Research & Studies lays out a great set of brain-based learning strategies to implement in the classroom to improve your students’ performance and increase their chances of success. Here are five strategies to get you started.

[Teacher Tips] Educators Share Their Approach to Engaging Students
We asked educators to tell us what challenges they’re facing with their students and what they’re doing to overcome those challenges. From the 100 educators who responded, we identified a few common themes in how approaching student engagement has recently changed and highlighted a few of our favorite comments.

If you want to have a data-driven classroom

Between assessments and online programs, teachers have plenty of student data at their fingertips. That data can be an outstanding resource to inform and guide effective instruction in the classroom, but it’s important to go in with a plan. Here are four best practices to embrace data in your classroom this school year and make the most of it to drive personalized, student-centered instruction.

Make sure that your lesson and assessment goals are aligned

Be transparent about assessment goals and scales

Use your data to plan your lessons

Talk to your students about their data

Looking for more back-to-school ideas from Edmentum? Check out our Back-to-School Planning & Success Toolkit for free resources, blog posts, workbooks, and more!'s picture
McKenna Wierman

McKenna Wierman studied Journalism at the University of Mississippi, and has worked with Edmentum since June 2016. She currently serves as a Digital Marketing Specialist, and believes that empowered teachers are the key to successful students.