George Lucas Educational Foundation

Back to School

It's a brand-new year, chock-full of new opportunities! Gear up with strategies, tools, and resources for heading back to school.

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7 Questions to Ask Parents at the Beginning of the Year

Seven questions to ask parents at the start of the year with the intention of building a partnership to support their child's learning.

A Place for Learning: The Physical Environment of Classrooms

Mark Phillips suggests that a critical piece of student learning is the physical environment of the classroom itself. He offers examples of and resources for turning impersonal spaces into student-friendly havens of learning.

Back to School: A Surefire Strategy for Building Classroom Community

Anne Shaw highlights a fun, beginning-of-the-year strategy that includes a roll of toilet paper.

Graphic of a hammer attached to a starting flag

13 Free Teacher Downloads for Back to School

All of Edutopia’s downloadable and printable back-to-school resources are collected here for easy classroom reference.

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Resources

Back-to-School Pinterest Board

Visit a curated collection of back-to-school resources on Edutopia's pinboard on Pinterest to help you start the year off strong.

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Two adults stand by a copy machine, smiling at each other.
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Simple Ways to Support Your Teachers at the Start of the Year

Solutions that administrators can implement ahead of time to resolve four common challenges teachers face as a school year begins.

444 7,312 views
A chalkboard covered with student names in bright colors.
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How to Remember Students’ Names

Instead of resorting to “Hey, you,” try these techniques for retrieving names.

2 1,339 761 views
A young girl chews gum on a school bus.
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Rules and Routines in the Classroom

An argument for keeping hard rules to a minimum.

6 775 148,443 views
 A high school teacher stands before her students and speaks while they listen.
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Relationships Matter More Than Rules

Community building in the classroom starts on day one. Try these strategies to begin forging strong relationships.

2 8,306 37,954 views
A classroom filled with teachers talking to each other while seated
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Building Trust With Parents

Suggestions for how to make back-to-school night a hit for you and your students’ parents.

1,159 437 views
A father gets his two kids ready to head off to school.
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Back-to-School Resources for Parents

Find information on easing transition jitters, managing kids’ tech use, getting involved in the school, and more.

405 362 views
Two female teachers consider the merits of apps on their tablets.
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10 Free Apps and Tools for Starting Out (and Staying) Organized

Choose from among these options—all free!—to develop a system for staying on top of student work, lesson plans, and resource ideas.

2 548 772 views

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Dipsticks: Efficient Ways to Check for Understanding

Through alternative formative assessment, teachers can check for student understanding without falling back on the tedious or intimidating pop quiz.

45 2,058 512,944 views
Young boy sitting close between man and woman at a table with a teacher sitting across from them holding a pen with an open notebook
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Parents: 19 Meaningful Questions You Should Ask Your Child's Teacher

Back-to-school content is usually focused on teachers and students, and as these two groups will have the largest workload ahead of them, that makes sense. But for students, the ultimate support system is not an expert teacher, but an informed and supportive...

48 1,151 472,301 views
Article

SMART Goal Setting With Your Students

SMART goals are specific, measurable, action-oriented, rigorous, and tracked. Help your students develop them through a series of ongoing peer interviews.

32 1,115 347,780 views
Article

A Place for Learning: The Physical Environment of Classrooms

Edutopia blogger Mark Phillips suggests that a critical piece of student learning is the physical environment of the classroom itself. He offers examples of and resources for turning impersonal spaces into student-friendly havens of learning.

41 3,177 302,970 views
Animated student explaining something to teacher standing across desk
Article

4 Things Transformational Teachers Do

Transformational teachers create experiences in their classrooms, melding the art and science of any subject and making their students care about learning.

18 8,349 189,177 views
Illo of a girl holding a cell phone to her ear
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The Power of the Positive Phone Call Home

Blogger Elena Aguilar proposes that teachers make positive phone calls home common practice.

54 54,158 176,000 views
Article

7 Questions to Ask Parents at the Beginning of the Year

Seven questions teachers can ask parents at the start of the year with the intention of building a partnership to support their child's learning.

18 203 175,147 views

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