Preparing for Back to School at the End of the Year - Relax This Summer Knowing You are READY!

How exciting it is to be joining with some of my favorite teacher friends on our collaborative blog, All About 3rd Grade!  I am Amber from TGIF and I am so excited to share the ideas I have learned (sometimes the hard way) in my 15 years of teaching with you.

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:

Prep your Bulletin Board or Display Area

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.

Prep student display area

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.

I also have another display using 12x12 scrapbook paper.  I used poster tape to stick them to the wall and then hot glued two colored clothespins at the top for hanging.  Super easy to hang and take down.  Your students don't end up with holes in their papers either.

 Clean out your desk drawers

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!

Copy reading recording forms

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?

First week of school - be ready!

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!

Clean your shelves with your students' help

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

 Have name tags ready minus the names

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!


  1. These are such great ideas Amber! It makes me realize I could be getting a lot of stuff done now. I am a major procrastinator!

    1. I am a procrastinator at times too, but last year I did prepare these things at the end of the year when my students were more independent, and I was so glad I did. Back to School time was so much better this last school year! You can do it!!!!

  2. I just love the idea of maximizing our time - prepping for Back to School while we close out the current year! Thank you for all of these wonderfully useful tips, Amber!

    1. I like that Pamela, "maximizing our time." Time is precious, so making the most of it is important. I prefer to spend my summer without BTS time hanging over my head.

  3. Such great ideas! I'm totally going to prep for next year before summer vacay!