I know, I know. It's the end of the school year and the last thing we want to worry about is the beginning of a new school year. We are ready for flip flops, lazy mornings and suntans! However, you will be so grateful when you are rushing around the few days before school starts if you took a little bit of time NOW, so you can enjoy LATER. Here are a few tips:
My biggest secret to saving time all year round is to put plain black cloth as the background of your bulletin board and NEVER change it! (Two years and going strong!) If you are allowed to leave the black cloth up over the summer (and border too), then do it now! It will be ready for your display of student's names at the beginning of the year.
I found these over-sized wooden clothespins at Michael's one year and hot glued them to the wall. (The hot glue doesn't peel the paint from our cinderblock walls, but don't hot glue to dry wall. Eeeks!) I display my students' work here, and it is so super easy to change out. I am going to buy more this summer. When my student's complete a project on the first day of school, the clothespins make it super easy to clip and hang.
Are there items in your desk drawer that need pitched, organized, or relocated? Do it now. When you come back to school at the beginning of the year it will be one less hassle and you will be able to find everything!
We participate in Pizza Hut's Book-It Program every year. Every month I was scrambling to get them copied at the first of the month, until last year. Why was I not printing their recording forms off ahead of time?!?! I created these recording forms for the students to record their extra reading and had them copied at the end of the year for the new school year. I stuck all those forms inside a file drawer and it was one less hassle throughout the year.
How about behavior calendars or homework recording forms? Get them copied now and file them now for less stress at back to school time.
Copy assessments you will use
Do you have benchmark assessments that you can copy now and have ready for the beginning of school? What about science, reading or math tests? Can you copy at least the first chapter test so you don't have to worry about it the first (and busiest) month?
If you have already written a back to school letter in the past, go ahead and copy it now. Dedicate one drawer or accordion folder to put as much of the first week of school work in. Put those name tags in that drawer. Do you have first week of school activities that you can print out? When you have all those duties with paperwork, putting your room back together, AND actual students to teach and keep busy, you will be grateful to have a few easy activities for them!
On our very last day of school we hold an awards ceremony. Many students leave after the ceremony and I always have a few left who will ride the bus when it leaves. Give those kids some baby wipes and have them pull the items off you shelves and dust! If I have baskets (with books or center items in there) I have them wipe out the baskets too. (These book boxes are from Really Good Stuff. I am not an affiliate, I just really love them.) I try to follow along behind them and put items back on the shelf. If we have time, I also make sure they put the books back in the appropriate basket.
Check out the idea about using butcher paper on your shelves, that Mrs. Third Grade wrote about here. >>> Packing Up the Classroom
I use printed Bulldog paws for a lot of my name tags, so I go ahead and print and laminate them now. If I put Velcro or magnets on the back, I also add those. When I get my student list, all I have to do is add each students' name with a Sharpie permanent marker.
You will enjoy your summer even more knowing you have prepared your classroom some now. You will be more relaxed knowing that some of those back to school items are already checked off your list!