Friday, June 16, 2017

5 Ways to End the Year and Get Ready for the Next!

As the year came to an end, there were so many things to do!  My mind is swirling with getting things wrapped up for the summer but, also all those ideas swirling in the other direction for next year!  What is a teacher to do!


Sure, it may sound easy but easier said than done.  Here are a few tips that I have learned over the years.

Get the classroom library in order - The last week of school I have my students organizing the books, wiping out and around the library tubs/baskets/bins, and returning those stray books that just happen to find their way into our classroom.

Recently I read a post from a brilliant blogger that uses dollar store shower caps as covers for her library tubs/baskets/bins.  I was able to find 8 shower caps for $1.00 at Dollar Tree.  The caps create a snug fit over my library bins and will keep my books dust free and clean until next school year.

Another way I cover my books bins is with old sheets.  I tuck the sheet behind one shelf and bring it around the front of the shelf below and tuck in.  Two shelves covered!  This is good for the bigger books in my library area.

When I'm allowed back into my classroom after the cleaning crew has finished I pull off the sheets and this I'll take off the shower caps.  Shazam - library ready to go!  Check that off the to do list!

Toss out the pile of scrap paper - In the past I have neatly organized hoarded scrap paper, you just never know.  Well, that pile grew (who knew?) the following school year and so on.  I'm a big recycler and I don't like to see things go to waste but I also don't like to see space go to waste.  That is what the scrap paper was doing, wasting space.  

At the start of each year I need a few sheets (maybe 30) of scrap paper, by this I mean the pages that are clean on one side but printed on the other.  Sometimes I want the students to record their learning/answers/activity but it is not a hand in or take home kind of thing, so scrap paper is perfect.  At the start of each school year our students take the STAR math assessment.  I hand out scrap paper for students to work on before they mark an answer on the test.

Now at the end of each school year I save a very small stack and toss out the rest of the pile of scrap paper.  The paper storage area looks so much neater when we start back in the fall.

Have the students wash/clean the desks, chairs, and tables - I know that our great custodial staff takes care of this in the summer but I like to have my students clean their own messes.  Some of the kids will put a sticker on their desk during the school year.  I smile to myself because they will be the ones cleaning it off at the end of the year.  I don't let them decorate their entire desk and I discourage this practice, well anyway you get the idea.  Clean up after yourself.  The kids will laugh and talk all the while the cleaning is going and often the first ones done will help others, so in my book it is a win - win!

Purge files - I try to do this during the school year but other things always seem to come first during my prep time.  I've done this a couple different ways.  One way, I dedicate 15 each evening to file purging the last week of school.  I found this helpful because I am in the getting rid of stuff mode, I don't have a lot of other prep work to do, and it feels good to toss out those papers you probably haven't looked at all year!  Gotta love organization!

Another way I've purged files is to take them home.  While watching/listening to something on tv/music I can go through the files and take my time.  I don't take a huge number of files home and when those are done I scoot back to school for another stack while I return the first stack.  I live close to school so I can run in and out quite easily.

My 15 minute purge is quick and I've probably tossed something I could have used.  But you know what, there are soooo many fantastic resources being produced by all of you that I haven't missed anything yet.

Get materials set aside for the first week of school - As I am in the purge mode I begin setting aside materials for the first week of school.  I've read that some of you make copies before leaving for the summer, not me, I'm always thinking that something better might catch my eye.  If I have materials ready to copy, I can get to the copy machine the first week of school.  I do organize craftivity pieces (in zip top bags) for the first week.  I don't mind spending some time during the summer cutting a few pieces of paper (usually while sitting outside).

Those are my top ways to end the year and be ready for the next school year!

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