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Academics / Organization

10 Ways to Get Back-to-School Ready!

Students help one another get organized and work on summer academics during the second week of Academic Enrichment and Mission Organization camps at Gulf Stream School. Photo by: Jamie Leishman

Get ready, get set, school! Here are Mrs. Leishman’s favorite tips and tricks for getting back into the swing of things and starting a new school year on a strong note. 

  1. Declutter your workspace. Clear out last year’s paperwork and make way for all you will learn this year. Don’t have a particular homework station? Maybe it’s time to create a special spot and claim it as your own. At the very least, have a homework caddy handy. This will help you avoid wasting time gathering materials and allow you to start your homework immediately, no matter where you plan to do it. 

  2. Get a planner. Weekly planners show your assignments at a glance. Not only can you write your daily homework, but you can write reminders for upcoming tests and quizzes. Seeing a little note in the Thursday column about a Social Studies quiz might encourage you to review nightly, or at least get you to start thinking about when you will begin studying. Finding the right planner is sometimes trial and error. Some people know what they like and what works for them. If you haven’t found one that speaks to you, stop by the student store today and check out the Gulf Stream School planners available for this school year. 

  3. Book bag essentials. Many times when we use a new bag we get mixed up by all of the new pockets, zippers, and side pouches. Choosing what you will put and where (and sticking to it), will help to keep your bag organized and keep you feeling calm and collected. You may also want to get into the good habit of packing your book bag before you go to bed. This will keep you from scrambling in the morning or forgetting anything you need for a full day of school.  

  4. Before school routine. Having a checklist on the inside of your front door is a great way to see if you have everything you need before you leave the house.

    • Homework folder?

    • Independent reading book?

    • P.E. bag?

    • Snack?

    • Lunch?

    • Brush your teeth?

    • Put on deodorant?


This is a great way to take more responsibility for yourself and be the master of your own destiny!


  1. After-school routine. Managing your independent time is one of the most important, yet challenging, facets of being a successful student. Take some time to unwind from your day before beginning any homework, but create a schedule and choose a specific time to begin each day. This will help you avoid working late into the night and ensure you complete anything you need to do for the following day.  

  2. Time management. Does your workspace have a clock? Rather than checking a device that may sway you to surf the web or text a friend, get a clock to help you manage your time.  A visual such as a clock will help to keep you on track and prevent you from spending too much time on one thing. The trick is to balance your workload. Have you been working on one assignment for twenty minutes or more? Maybe it’s time to switch it up and tackle some other subjects. 

  3. Labels go a long way! It’s safe to say that everybody is guilty of misplacing something now and then.  However, having your name on your sweater, water bottle, books, and lunch bag will make it easier for your lost belongings to make their way back to you. Help yourself by labeling your personal items.  

  4. Check out the After School Programs. There are so many fun-filled After School Programs this year, and you may want to check them out. Getting to decide what activity you would like to do after school always makes the school day more exciting. What could be more fun than beading, surfing, cooking, going to the beach, or doing Yoganastics with friends? 

  5. Get a good night’s sleep and eat breakfast. We all know the early bird catches the worm. What does that mean for students? Students who get at least 7-8 hours of sleep are more productive and engaged throughout their school day.  Remember to turn off your electronics, head to bed at a reasonable hour, and you will be sure to wake up refreshed and ready for school.

  6. Find the positive. Rather than wrestling with the thoughts that summer is coming to an end and returning to school is around the corner, try viewing going back to school in a different light. Think: I GET to go back to school, and I GET to learn! School is a privilege, and it was not too long ago that we wished to see our friends and teachers in person. We are lucky to be able to show up to such a beautiful place each day filled with people who care. 


*** BONUS TIP: Call a friend. Returning to school is exciting! New classmates, new teachers, new desks. Sometimes, though, these big adjustments may be a little unsettling. It’s normal to be a little nervous before the first day of school. To ease reintroduction to school, pick up the phone and call a friend. Maybe try calling someone whom you haven’t seen a lot over the summer. Ask them what they were up to on their time off. See if you’re in the same class this year. Discuss the ASP classes and see if you can agree on taking one together. Reconnecting with your peers is a great way to get back into the swing of things.  


Now, let’s go have an awesome year together. GO STINGRAYS!


By Jamie Leishman – Grade 6 English teacher