It’s Crunch Time
There’s nothing like the end of year crunch. Starting around mid-April, I start to feel the pressure of the end of the year creep up on me. Between balancing 3 different grade levels, field trips, special activities, parents coming in for special days, field days, parties, A-Z countdowns, and end of year testing (just to name a few) I feel like I am against the clock. With the help of my amazing team of fellow teachers and assistants, we’ve come up some ways to stay on top of everything going on.
One of the most common causes of confusion is lack of communication. This can happen between general education teachers and special education teachers as well as between staff in one classroom. It’s hard to make sure everyone knows about special events and end of year activities. To help facilitate communication between general education, special education and related service providers, we made giant calendars that hang in our shared hallway. Any special activity we know about we add to the calendar with sticky notes. This helps everyone be able to see what’s coming up. We use pushpins to add field trip permission forms or information sheets regarding the events on the calendar. This way everyone has everything they need. We make sure to add birthdays, too! That way we know when to celebrate!
Don’t hesitate to give the teachers you work with a gentle reminder that your shared students want to participate in end of year activities. Chat with the teachers you work with to see the best method of communication. Here’s a few ways to remind others to include your students:
- Email them a kind reminder
- Stop by their classroom each morning to say hello and see what the plans are
- Ask to share a google calendar of upcoming events
- Get a copy of any newsletters and parent communication
- A reminder text
- Have an assistant check in each morning
- Ask for copies of special projects be put in your mailbox so you can set up your students for success
In my classroom I’ve found that stopping by or having an assistant stop by the classroom each day helps with remembering to share special events. Here’s just one day’s worth of items my students will complete in my classroom for their general education teacher.
All The Checklists
At the end of the year I make easily accessible checklist for just about everything. I make one for field trips, who is done with independent work, who needs to complete end of year testing, who needs to make mother’s day crafts, etc. Not only do these checklists keep me organized, they also help staff know what’s going on, help communicate information, and share knowledge with related service providers. These lists don’t have to be fancy, a simple grid drawn on the whiteboard will do! However, if you want to get fancy, get yourself some whiteboard tape (amazon has it!) or electrical tape and make a grid you can reuse all year long. Pictured is my co-worker, Erin’s, permeant check list (not pictured, student names on the left). She and her staff use it every single day!
Squeeze In Your Own Fun
Don’t forget to squeeze in fun of your own before summer! We love sensory play outside, bubbles, chalk, taking nature walks, and doing outdoor scavenger hunts. Below are pictures of some of the activities we’ve done this month. Special art projects are always a must, too! Take a minute to celebrate how far your students have come this year. Celebrating your students and staff is the perfect ending to the school year. I often am reminded that our students need opportunities to have fun in school, too. They deserve the opportunity to experience anything they can, even if it’s hard and inconvenient to your schedule. Sometimes academics just have to wait, and that’s ok, especially as you wrap up the school year!