It’s hard to believe that another school year is winding down. While it is tempting to daydream about all the work and relaxing I will be doing this summer, May is the perfect time to start planning for next school year. Take advantage of being a low-incidence, cluster program teacher and start to prep for next school year now! Here are some ways to get ready for your next school year while finishing out the current one…
1. Konmari Your Classroom
Yes, the Magical Art of Tidying Up can also work in your classroom! May is the perfect time to start cleaning out your classroom so you (and your school janitors) are not so overwhelmed. I actually did the Konmari order of cleaning up my classroom one year (clothes, books, papers and miscellany), but you can go through your room station by station or cabinet by cabinet. If you start now, you can have students help you clean and organize, which is a valuable life skill. I remember one year, I discovered a lot of books and games that I wasn’t using and gave them away as Bingo prizes for students to take home. You can also put together extra copies or other materials you think students could benefit from using at home during the summer if it is no longer needed at school. Get rid of the clutter so you can get to the items and materials that you use consistently will help you get your classroom off to a smooth start the next school year!
*Bonus Tip: As you start to clean out your classroom, label your furniture-I use cute and sturdy labels on mine so I can keep them on my furniture all year!
2. Stock Up On Supplies
Depending on your district, you might get paid over the summer or you might only get paid during the school year. Since I only get paid during the school year, I like to purchase supplies for the beginning of next school year now. It is helpful to front load and order the supplies you know that you will always need (Velcro, pencils, paper, laminating sheets). This is also the time of the year my school district has teacher put in for reimbursements for supplies, so if you haven’t ordered supplies all year (or have not kept very good track of all the supplies you have ordered), ordering them now is a good move. Also, if you have teachers at your school who are also starting to clean and prep their rooms for next year now, you can do some in-school shopping and swapping of supplies that you already have in your classrooms.
3. See Who’s Moving On and Moving Up
I teach the intermediate grades, so I have students moving on to the upper grades classroom and students who are moving up to my classroom from the primary grades. If you have students moving on to the upper grades start to gather work, test scores and instructional materials and meet with their next year’s teacher. If you have students who are moving up, meet with their current teacher to get an idea of where each student is at, behaviorally and academically so you can start to get your classroom ready. It is also important to begin to let the students and parents know what classroom they will be in next school year. If necessary, you can make a social story, mark it on the calendar or create a tentative schedule to help anticipate this change. This is also a good opportunity to do a preview day or days in their new classroom. I did this last year with my colleagues in June and it made students aware and excited for their new class assignments for the next school year.
I am guilty of living in the summer bubble. I miss being at school each day, so I tend to forget issues from the previous school year at the start of the next school year. While I reflect all throughout the year, I do not often write down my reflections. As your school year winds down, open up a Word or Google Doc and jot down some celebrations and things you want to do better next year. Even start to edit worksheets or materials in your classroom that needed tweaking. You can reflect on activities or even interventions with individual students. Even if you start now, writing down notes in the moment can help prevent the issues you currently having in August or September. This also gives you the opportunity to change routines now (especially if you are going to have a lot of the same students) and make sure they run smoothly before next school year.
5. Set It Up
Start to set up stations and create materials for next school year now! This can be easy if you know you have most of the same students for the next school year. Go through each station and make copies or create materials. This school year, I did not have a fluency station since I had so many new students and spent most of the year assessing them to determine their levels. Now that I know their levels, I can set up and train a staff member for next year’s fluency station. This is also a good time to make copies of homework or data sheets you use every year. I also like to set up new instructional programs at this time of the year and try out the programs before the next school year so that we can start off the school year smoothly. This is also a good time to clean out and switch out work task boxes. You can repair work tasks that have gotten some wear and tear, put in harder or easier work tasks (depending on your students for the next school year) or replace missing pieces or parts. Setting up the classroom for the next year is also something you can get the students involved in, if it is age appropriate. I’m going to have my students help by creating tabs and helping to organize their binders.
I hope that this post gave you some helpful tips on how to prep for next school year! Share below how you wind down your classroom and get ready for the next school year.