5 Things You Can Do NOW to Get Ready for Next Year
Can y’all EVEN believe that it’s May?? And it’s not May 1st or anything either. It’s May 7th as I write this! Whhaattt. Here in the South, we get out mid-to-late-May (although the date keeps getting later and later, and the date we go back keeps creeping earlier and earlier). So, we’re in official summer wind-down mode over here in Nashville. Things must be cleaned. Boxes of supplies must be sorted through and pack away. Students must be hugged goodbye.
Before I had babies of my own at home, I used to get SO hype about coming back up in the peaceful hours of summertime to decorate and set up my classroom. It brought me so much joy to hang decor and label all.of.the.things. But now, coming up to school in the summer means one of a few different things:
a.) Leave the babies with my husband. Which is ok to do for a few hours maybe once or twice. But it’s his summer, too. Things are easier when we share the burden. So, of course we’ll trade off days where one of us goes to school, but it’s never really enough time…and it’s hard to extend that time and be unfair!
b.) bring the babies with me. Broken things. Ripped name tags. Spilled supplies. Kids breaking free from my room and running into someone else’s classroom and breaking something. No thank you,.
c.) hire a babysitter. Costs money. Double no thank you.
Being short on time. but valuing a well-organized classroom more than anything, there a few different things that I like to start prepping right now to get ready for the next school year!
1.) Themed decor
Obviously, you can’t make name tags or hang up your schedule quite yet. But you an absolutely print/laminate/and possibly hang up (depending on your school’s rules) your alphabet, calendar, posters, supply labels, etc. for next year! If you can’t physically put them up, why can’t you print things and cut them out these last few weeks of school? It feels so good to come back after a long, relaxing summer, and know that your birthday display is already prepped and ready to go. All you have to do is open a cabinet and pull everything out! Plus, if you can get things rolling at the end of the year, you still may have some parent volunteer help, student help, or TA help to get things cut out and laminated before you head off for sweet summertime! You may have some parents who are dying for a reason to hang around your classroom these last few days, because the end of this year signifies to them that their baby is moving on to a higher grade, and that’s hard on some parents. Invite them in, love on them, and let them help you get ready for next year!
If you’re in the market for a new set of classroom decor pieces, or you want to change your theme, I have a variety of options in my store for you to check out!
2.) Early Finisher Work
This was the thorn in my side every dang year. I would feel so good about how I got everything ready to go for the first few weeks of school, and then there would be that kid (or handful of kids, some years), who would fly through everything I had planned much faster than I anticipated.
Sometimes it’s because those kiddos are very bright. Sometimes it’s because they aren’t acclimated to the rigor of school after a whole summer off and they are taking a lot of shortcuts. The first week or two of school is the time that you will learn these things about your kiddos. Either way, you want to be equipped with something for them to do, and you want to teach the routine of early finisher work ASAP. I designate a three-drawer organizer to early finisher assignments. I put choice boards, logic games, math enrichment pages from our curriculum, etc. in these drawers and change things out every once in a while.
Knowing that you will have a need for this kind of space means that you can start printing and prepping those things right. now.
I love to use these math decoder activities in my room. They can be used to reinforce standards as we are learning them, or review things that the kids may have already learned!
3. Behavior Management Visual Cues
I use the same behavior expectation posters years in and year out…no matter what my future students are like, the layout of my room, and the way I want my kiddos to conduct themselves around the room is basically the same! So, getting these types of posters printed and laminated now is a-ok!
4. Seat Work for the first few days of school!
This is another one where no matter what kids I have, I basically can plan now for what I want them to do while I am doing assessments, teaching them classroom routines, etc. I’m not worried about differentiation or rigor those first couple of weeks. I just want the kids to learn to work independently around my room! So, those fun back-to-school activities are perfect to print and copy now, because I know they won’t change based on my kids!
5.) Open House Materials
If you’ve been at the same school for a couple of years, and you can anticipate the kinds of things you will be saying at your Open House or Parent Night that first month of school. I love to have a skeleton of my powerpoint ready to go for parent night, so all I have to do in August is tweak a few details that may have changed from last year. I also like to print some “Helping Hands” sticky notes so I can have some classroom needs that come up every year ready to go and in a folder for August. I know what school supplies the kids will be bringing, and I know that things like Astro Brights or plastic page protectors will be needed if parents are willing to donate!
NOW, the trick, after you’ve been so busy in May, is making sure that you remember what you did/where you put it in August! 😂 I can help you with the materials, friends. But I’m afraid the rest is up to you! ;)
Have a great end of the year, and let’s all work smarter not harder right now to get ready for next year!