Let’s Talk Spring Prep
Who’s team prep early? I am! I didn’t used to be. In fact, when I taught general education, I didn’t prep anything in the spring for the following school year. Now that I’m in Special Ed. I take every opportunity I can to get ready for the next school year. My caseload changes each year, and so do the needs. I plan around that as best I can while prepping. Here are some of my tips and tricks for squeezing in some prep to ease that back-to-school load as early as the Spring!
Commandeer the Copier
Now’s the time to make allll the copies you need next year! Here are just a few of the things I run in Spring:
- Leveled Daily Work
- Leveled Daily Curriculum
- Leveled Daily Homework
- Data Sheets
- Related Service Logs
- Communication Books
- ABC charts
These are things I know I’m going to use, no matter the caseload. I take a wild guess on levels and adjust as needed in the fall. I always have one copy of each curriculum/set ready to go in case I need to make quick copies. Quick tip – every time you walk past the copy machine, put something on it to copy. Let it run and walk away! When you walk by again, pick it up and start something new.
Make Those Visuals Now!
Our classrooms revolve around visuals. Take the opportunity now to get a hand on what you have, what you need, and what you need to REPLACE. That last one gets me every time! Take inventory on how your visuals are holding up and what you need to reprint, laminate, and velcro. As students start attending spring and end of year field trips and activities, take that time to run things through the laminator and get prepped for the next year. Tip: buy a few cheap laminators and send them home with your assistants or parents who volunteer! Chances are they will even cut things out if you ask.
Replenish What’s Lost
Take a few minutes each day and thumb through your resources. Keep a running list of any pieces you’ve lost. Adapted books are amazing, but we always seem to lose pieces throughout the school year. Now’s a great time to replenish those missing pieces.
Make a List and Start Stocking Up
Nothing irks me more than when I buy something I don’t need for my classroom! Our paychecks are pretty thin, so every penny counts. This is the time of year that I start looking at what I have, what I need, and what I’ll need to ask for from incoming students. Think outside of typical school supplies, make sure you account for things like wipes, paper towels, ziploc bags, kleenex, sensory items, playdoh, slime, etc. Tip: Ask for donations in the spring! Parents often respond very well to replenishing supplies in the spring if you ask. Also consider emailing out a donation list with your introduction letter to parents/students in the fall. For those items that you need to purchase, spread out what you need to buy. Summer goes by quick – if you start now, your wallet will thank you in the fall.
Use Your Assistants While You Can
Time with your assistants is precious. Try to pack every spare minute you can with prep. I keep a prep basket ready to go for my assistants to grab things out of to cut or velcro throughout the day. Quick Tip: by now, chances are things like morning meeting will run without one of your assistants. Use that time to prep!
As you start working and prepping, start stashing things away. I use crates to hold everything I’ve prepped so I don’t lose it if I’m packing or moving. Plus, crates let me easily see what I’ve done and where I am.
Don’t let prepping for the upcoming year stress you out. Even if all you get done is just one set of copies for the coming school year, you’ll feel great about it come fall! Spring prep doesn’t have to take a huge amount of time or planning either. In the end, even just a little bit can go a long way!