Back to School Must-Haves (+ 2 freebies!)

02 July 2015 / 6 comments
Hi everyone! It’s Kristen from Chalk & Apples. I can’t believe it’s already July, and my summer is half over!! We’ve had an incredible month, but it’s been SO busy! My hubby surprised me by coming home early from his deployment, just in time for our trip to Texas to see his family!! Then we were home just long enough for me to launch my new Semi-Custom Blog Designs (faster and less expensive for you!). Now, we’re in South Carolina visiting my family, and I’ll leave from here to head to Vegas for the TPT conference! Whew! It’s been a whirlwind summer!

Back to School… I’m not quite ready to think about it yet, but, it’s almost time. Teachers in my district start back on July 27 (yep, JULY!), so I need to start thinking about and prepping my back to school resources.

The first thing I work on every summer is my open house/first week of school packet. Today, I wanted to share with you some of what I send home on those first days of school…

1. Teacher Info Magnet
BTS 1Last year, I created a business card magnet with my name, the school name, my email, and phone number. It was a quick and easy little “extra” that my parents absolutely loved! Many of them thanked me for the magnets and said they were keeping them on their refrigerators for quick reference!

I came up with this idea very late last year, so I grabbed a pack of these Business Card Magnets. I just printed my info on Avery Business Cards and stuck them onto the magnets.

This year, I’ve planned ahead a little better, and I’m ordering my magnets from VistaPrint. You can use their designs, or create your own design and upload it. If you want to create your own design, I recommend using their design templates.

2. Back to School FlipbookBTS 2
On the first day of school, I used to send home a welcome letter, a copy of class policies (homework, absences, snacks, etc.), a daily schedule, a supply list, and a stack of forms to fill out. Care to guess how much of it ended up in the trash? I don’t!

I do know that when I started sending home my Back to School Class Information Flipbook, parents commented that they loved it! They appreciate that everything is together in one place and easy to locate. They love the bright colors, and they love that it’s half-page sized rather than full pages like all of the others I’ve seen.

I have the BTS flipbook along with flipbooks for Substitute Info and Emergency Procedures in my store individually and also as a bundle, if you’re interested. These templates are easy to edit, right in Adobe Reader, and easy assembly instructions are included!

3. Technology Survey {FREEBIE!}
BTS 3I love to incorporate technology into my classroom, and this is much easier to do when you know what technology your students have access to at home, and what they use on a regular basis. I created this Technology Survey as a quick way to get a glimpse of what my students have access to and what tech skills they may already have. This helps me plan lessons and find “helpers” during the first weeks of school, when we are setting up new accounts and learning to use new sites.

I’ve included this survey in each of my Perfect Teacher Planners, but you can also snag a free copy {HERE}!

4. First Day Form {FREEBIE!}
On the first day of school, or at open house the day before school starts, there are always lots of forms to be filled out. Personally, I want parents to take these forms home and do a thorough job of completing them… but there is some information I really need on that VERY FIRST day. I really just want to have one good contact number in case of emergency, to know if there are any major allergies or medical concerns, and I want to know how each child is getting home that day.

I created this First Day Form, which I print 2 to a page on bright colored paper. This is the one and only thing I ask parents to complete at “Meet the Teacher” night or on the morning of the first day of school. I find that this is quick and easy for parents to fill out, and it gives me just enough info to get through until they return the entire back to school packet. You can grab it as a freebie in my TPT store!

I hope these are helpful to you! I’m always on the lookout for great back to school ideas, so if you have any, please share them with us!


  1. I am so glad I discovered this blog. This is going to save me a lot of time in preparation for back to school. We too go back to school in July. Actually we start a day after you, July 28th. Where has this blog been all of my 15 years of teaching? I am so glad I came across it. Thank you for sharing and keep up the good work!!!

  2. These resources are going to be great help. Thank you. I am trying to access your Tech Survey but it says there is an error. Can you send it to me or let me know when that link is fixed? Thanks so much.

    1. Sorry about the error! The link has been updated, so you can download it now!

  3. This blog is amazing and is always full of great ideas and resources. My team used the Back to School Class Information Flipbook last year and our parents loved it. I had already started creating a Parent Technology Survey when I found your post this morning. I would really love to see this one before continuing to work with the one I started yesterday. However, I wasn't able to download the Technology Survey. I received an error message on the Dropbox download. Can you email it to me or contact me when the link is fixed? Thank you for your assistance.

    1. Thank you so much! This is a great team of educators, and I'm honored to be among them. The link has been updated, so you can download it now :)

    2. Thanks for a great resource and a quick response.


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