Part of the ongoing 1 Thing series.
Two words. Three syllables. Over plan.
Review the curriculum. Things can and often change over the summer. This summer, our math pacing scales went through changes. Our state standards also changed. In fact, they will not be called standards anymore. We now have Grade Level Expectations.
Create a classroom map. Design how you want your classroom arranged. Think about how you want traffic to flow. Think about colors, posters, and where you want to post student work.
Modify/Review/Create a classroom management plan. I believe you must be consistent, firm, and fair from the beginning. I have seen several classes that lacked one of those components from the beginning. Those classes (including mine one year) struggled with classroom management issues throughout the year. Believe me, the headache of planning in the beginning will be worth the ease of the rest of the year.
Plan to have a positive and successful year. Expectations are extremely powerful. Just research the many sociological experiments involving teachers who told students that they were gifted. Those students who may have been labeled as average or worse underachievers shined. If you gripe and believe that your year will be bad. It will be. If you believe that your students are low, that is how they will perform (or seem to perform). I can assure you that children can and will rise to the occasion and step up to the plate. Sometimes they will step over it.
With parents, plan to have a good relationship with them. Write welcome letters or postcards. Give them positive phone calls. Know your goal and create a plan to achieve it. I really took the time and planned on having more parent involvement this school year. I called and introduced myself to each family. I sent home introductory letters and created an welcoming website. I told all of my parents how happy I was to have their child in my class. 15 of my 19 parents attended my kindergarten curriculum night. It was my best turnout ever. I planned and planned and it helped.
Keep in mind that no matter how much you plan. there will always be the monkey wrench. The unexpected whatever. This is why I say over plan. The benefits outweigh the drawbacks.