For most of us – we have a one tracked mind right now – the end of the school year! Today I have 4 days of school left and although I am sad to see my kiddos go and excited for the break, it seems like I have a mountain climb in the next 4 days just to get it all finished. So today I wanted to share a few ideas with you to help in the winding up process.
1. Have a Plan!
I don’t know about you, but I gave up a long time ago keeping my to do list in my head if there is more than 1 or 2 things that I need to do. My planning tends to start early – right after the faculty meeting where my principal starts spewing out all the deadlines! This year I was overwhelmed with deadlines, testing and events that I could hardly think straight. I had to take some time to organize all these tasks and dates and get my plan ready. Here’s what I came up with this year:
This year it just seemed to work for me to color code on a calendar. Other years a simple To Do list has worked. I just do what “feels right” at the time. I printed two copies of this calendar and hung them in my classroom (one by my computer and one by my guided reading desk where I usually work at the end of the day). As I completed things I put a check mark next to them. It really helped to have a plan. Now that I am down to the last 4 days I have a new plan – this time in a simple list formatted by day. Here’s my plan for the next 4 days:
2. Finish Smarter – Not Harder!
We’ve all heard the saying “teach smarter not harder” but I want to challenge you to finish smarter, not harder. What I mean by this is use all the helpers that you have to get the job done. Even my kindergarten kiddos can help me wind up the year. During the last week of school, I set aside a time each day for “getting ready for next year.” My kids are very excited to help and love the idea of getting to help the new kindergarteners too. Each day we tackle 1-2 jobs (I’ve found that more than that is just too much for 6 year olds – but older kids might be able to get it all done in 1 day). Here’s a list of the things that my kids help me do:
*Sort and Organize the Classroom Library
*Sort and Organize Manipulative
*Check puzzles for missing pieces
*Clean desks – with shaving cream of course!
*Clean out lockers and extra supplies
*Sort and Organize construction paper
As with anything, I model for my kids how to do each task. Many include some play time before the “cleaning” begins. You can’t check puzzles for missing pieces without putting them together – right??? And shaving cream as a cleaner – ah-may-zing! If you’ve never had your kids help with the cleaning, sorting, organizing process I highly recommend giving it a try! I usually have some fun summer activities (word searches, coloring pages, etc.) for those that don’t want to help, but for the most part they all want to help!
3. Take the Time to do it Right
I just want to say up front on this one that I am “talking” to myself more than anyone. I always start with good intentions, but there always seem to be those last few items that just get thrown into a box or storage cube. When the beginning of the year rolls around I am always kicking myself for doing that because I feel like I waste precious time sorting and going through when I could be doing the fun stuff like decorating and getting ready for my new kiddos. (** Confession Alert: I have to confess – I actually have a storage cube filled with papers from 2 years ago that I never even went through. I gets its time to trash that because I haven’t even needed it.**) So here’s my advice, take the extra minutes now to file, trash, put away and store the “right way.” I also think its important to label and get things organized during the cleaning up process. I like to think I have a great memory – but there’s always something I just can’t seem to find when the new year rolls around.
Notice, I am not telling you how to organize. I think that organization is a highly personal task. What works for me might not work for you. I say find what does work for you and do it. If you are not sure where to start, this blog has some great ideas on organizing.
4. Have fun!
Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun with you kiddos as enjoy the last few days together.
I wish you all fabulous end of the school year and an Awesome and Relaxing Summer!
Amy is a kindergarten teacher and the blogger behind Teaching in Blue Jeans. No, she doesn’t get to wear blue jeans everyday, but she uses her Blue Jean Mentality to make her classroom a place where students are comfortable, active and willing to try new things.