Prepare for the next school year this summer! These 5 ways will help you know what to prepare.
Prepare Birthday Bags
I like to prepare the birthday bags for all of my students during the summer. I also create extras to prepare for new students. Order (or purchase from the Dollar Store) the bags and goodies towards the beginning of summer. It’s one of those little things that doesn’t seem like a big deal but everything I can do ahead of time will help me later. I also purchase crowns over the summer. So when a student has a birthday I just grab a bag and a crown and I’m ready for their BIG day. I also plan a day towards the end of the year to celebrate all summer birthdays. Here is a picture of the birthday bags I use and what I put in them.
Prepare Journals For The Year
There are all types of journals you might use throughout the year. There are Writing Journals, Poetry Journals, Science Journals, Reading Journals and more. My favorite journals to prepare for the next school year are Poetry Journals. Here is how I make them. I get folders (during the Back To School sales) that have brads. Then I hole punch about 36 (or more) pages of plain white typing paper and put them in the bradded folders. I stick a Poetry Journal label on the front. Once I get my roster I make name labels for my students and copy them many times. So all I have left to do is put a name label on each journal and they are ready.
Another way to prepare journals is to use a binding machine (your school may have one). Have a pre-made cover that you put on the front with the 36 white typing pages behind it and bind the pages together using coils. Then just add the name labels.
When we use the Poetry Journals I give the students a poem/song (a small version) to glue at the top of the page and then they illustrate. We have a new poem/song every week. If you want to try Poetry Journals check out this FREE song.
If you are ready for a whole year of poems and songs check out this resource. There is even a Poetry Journal cover for you to use.
Plan Out The Whole Year
To prepare for the next school year it’s helpful to have a plan. If this is your first year you could work with your teaching partner or team to help you create this plan. Actually EVERY year I worked with my teaching partner to create this. We have created an Instructional Calendar for the whole year. This can be as specific or general as you need to make it. I listed my kindergarten themes, reading skills (sight words included), math skills by lesson, phonological awareness skills, writing topics and which type of writing we were focusing on and the weekly poem/song. As I planned each week during the school year I referred to this calendar. In the resource below I have an example of what an Instructional Calendar could look like (there are many ways to create this). There is also a blank template to use.
Plan And Prep The First Two Weeks
Once you have created the Instructional Calendar you can prepare for the next school year by thinking through the first two weeks of school. You will want to think through all of your routines and procedures for EVERYTHING you teach and want your kids to do. Also, plan out the activities and lessons you want to teach initially. The first two weeks of school flow a little differently from the rest of the year. Make sure to over-plan. It’s easier to have things you do not get to rather than not having enough to do.
Once you have this planned, the next step is to spend one or two days over the summer in your classroom making the copies and prepping the materials. You won’t have ALL the details. You will probably have to wait until you go back to school to get a list of names and your schedule. However, you can still get the bulk of the first two weeks planned and prepped over the summer. Then when you return for the teacher work days you can set up more formal lesson plans with a schedule. But the majority of the prep work will be done for those stressful few weeks.
If you are returning to the same school and grade you might even be able to do some of the work before your summer starts. Take home big cutting and prepping projects that you can do in front of the tv or while listening to a podcast (if you find you work better at home).
The above resource will have some routines and procedures pages to help you plan out your own. It will also have some ideas that could help you plan out the first few weeks of school.
Declutter And Organize Drawers, Files And Tubs
My favorite way to prepare for the next school year is by going through my drawers, filing cabinets, tubs, etc and cleaning up from the year. Some years I start this in April and do a drawer or section of my room each day either before school or after. But if April is long gone when you are reading this not to worry – just start now. You might even be able to do this in a day or two over the summer.
If you are short on time, think of one or two projects that you would like to work on this summer that will save you the most time next year. Would it be putting an organizing system in place for your books? Maybe creating a system for organizing your files? Making a system for all your incoming and outgoing papers that you get all year? Or maybe you really want to revamp your centers? Whatever the projects, if you don’t have time for all of them just focus on one or two.
Anything you can prep over the summer will just help you get ahead during the busiest time of the school year – the beginning. That being said, my FAVORITE way to prepare is to REST! Yes, that’s right! Rest, have fun, meet new people, go on vacations and just enjoy yourself – after all it’s summer.
If you are looking for some more tips and tricks for the beginning of the school year here are two more posts to check out.