End of Year Ideas in Preparation for Successful Fall
The end of the school year is wild! Filled with a million things to do. As busy and stressful as it is, the beginning of the school year is even busier. Use these simple strategies to set your future-self up for success.
1. Take pictures of your technology and cords.
This is one of those things that I always thank my past self for. When I am setting up my computer, docking station, Smart Board, Projector, Document camera, etc., I get confused and frustrated. No matter how well I try to label things, I get overwhelmed. But then, I remember the pictures I took in June and relief replaces frustration. It is so helpful and one of my biggest recommendations!
2. Reflect on the year.
Analyze your organization.
What things do you want to keep in place? Are there areas that you need to have a better system for? Make some notes to find systems this summer to help streamline your organization. Things to consider: filing/stacks of paper, teacher writing utensils, student pencils, other teacher supplies (consider a tool box with these labels), computer files, etc.
Analyze your classroom management.
Where did you find success in handling student confrontation? Discipline? Relationship building? Brain breaks? Groupings, stations, movement? Chattiness? Make notes of what you would like to improve on and resolve to improve or tweak your classroom management strategies. Almost all issues can be improved by a better classroom procedure or routine. Plan out all of your procedures and how you will clearly teach them to your students in the fall. If you need some guidance here, I suggest this list of procedures and this PowerPoint.
Analyze your content teaching.
Which lessons worked well? Which lessons flopped? Are there assessments your students do poorly on? Take time to analyze their data and make notes about what to improve on for next year. Still not sure? One of my favorite things to do is get feedback from students. You could have them fill out a survey by way of Google Form. It could be just a couple quick questions. Ask them what their favorite thing to learn was. You can glean so much from their answers to a question as simple as that. Then, find ways to replicate teaching strategies that worked and improve ones that didn’t.
3. Pack boxes strategically and label them with detail.
I have been guilty of packing things away in May and not finding some of the contents for years. I even thought I was labeling the boxes well. But I was packing to maximize space in a box, so I would fill boxes with large items and then pack small items around them to fill the space in the boxes. This was a mistake. Be strategic and pack things in such a way that will make sense after a couple months of rest and separation. Consider a box specifically for your desk contents. Then, label the contents as an inventory. When you open your classroom in the fall and begin to unpack, you want to clearly know what is inside each box before you unpack it. It will save you time, which we all know is lacking at the beginning of the year.
4. Have students do some cleaning and organizing for you.
Students are great at cleaning white boards, desktops, etc. They are also great at testing markers, highlighters, dry-erase markers, etc. Keep the good, toss the bad. They can organize books, pack boxes, take things off walls, etc.
5. Inventory supplies and make supply lists.
What are you low on that you know you will need in the fall? What do you have plenty of? A mistake I have made in the past is getting sucked in at the Target Dollar Spot or the Staples summer sales and would buy a ton of supplies assuming I needed them. But I didn’t. I am a sucker for composition notebooks, pencils, and highlighters. But because I buy so many each summer, I have a plethora of these and would waste money. On the other hand, if there are things you are out of, purchasing these over the summer will make your fall easier.
6. Keep a fall to-do list and store it in a safe and obvious location.
Coming off a school year, you have lots of ideas for the next year. Keep a list of things you want to start the year off doing. Tape it to your wall in your classroom, lock in it your desk, or keep it on your phone, so you can refer to it over the summer if needed.
7. Deal with those stacks of paper.
Got stacks and stacks of paper sitting around? (Of course…we all do!) Do not store them with the thought that you will go through them in the fall. You. Will. Not. Lol. File (only those that you really need), recycle, or shred. Don’t just jam the stacks into a cabinet. Your future-self will be very annoyed with you.
8. Draw a map of your furniture set-up and post it in your room.
If your district is like mine, the custodians clear everything out over the summer to rewax the floors. They would rather put the furniture back the way you want it than have you drag the heavy pieces across their floors, which will scrape off the wax. In addition to making the custodians happy (always a good thing), you will make your future-self happy. One less thing to do in the fall.
Happy end-of-the-year! You’ve got this! Thanks for all that you do!
If you are looking for more ideas to end the school year well, read this post on Eight Mistakes Teachers Make at the End of the Year.
If you are interested in more ideas for a smooth beginning of the school year, read about these things that must be on your to-do list in the fall.