Some things are hard to wait for. Water to boil. Toast to brown. The new season of The Walking Dead to start. George Lucas to apologize for Star Wars episodes I, II, and III and give us the movies we really wanted. Not to mention the moment when your collection of new students turns into your superawesome new class.

You know that come April, you’ll be leading a well-oiled machine. But late August and early September can be difficult.

Back-to-school issues of The Mailbox magazine always contain new ways to get your students familiar with each other. If you need ideas, be sure to search “back to school” at

But maybe there are tried-and-true techniques you use in your classroom. Or perhaps there’s a new idea you’ve thought of that you’re excited to try. That’s what the Upper Grades Exchange is all about—exchanging information and ideas from one teacher to another. Share your ideas in the comments!

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