1. Call your assigned school in August. Ask if you can come for a visit, especially if your cooperating teacher is there. Most teachers begin to go back to their rooms in August, so my advice is to take time and join them. She / he will appreciate the help.
2. Use the school or college library to go through some instructional magazines: Classmate, Mailbox and Instructor are great. Look specifically for the "Back to school" issues. Get an idea for a start of the year bulletin board. Ask for permission to put up a bulletin board. This shows you are ambitious and eager to help. Teachers like to know that you appreciate their willingness to share their room and that you want to help and be a part of the room.
3. Coming early can help in other ways. You can get a jump on topics you are responsible for teaching. Find out which books to read, and read these books before you read with the children. Staying one or two steps ahead will give you confidence and allow you to plan, not just survive. If you decide to take this step, make sure you have a copy of the trade book for yourself. Highlight vocabulary words and good comprehension facts to use later on.
4. Review the curriculum. A good cooperating teacher should know what topics you will be responsible for and on or around you starting dates for these lessons. Ask for a teachers editions and workbooks to gather facts and ideas.
5. Prepare a letter introducing yourself to your students and parents. This does not have to be lengthy, but it should include your role in the classroom, educational background, and it should stress your appreciation and availability to students and parents.
6. As the year begins, find out if your co-op is an early morning arriver or after-school dweller. If possible, adjust your schedule to hers. It may sound annoying, but you will both be really busy through the day and a regular, convenient meeting time is very important.