Friday, May 31, 2013

The transition to summer vacation

What is your end of year routine?  Do you have one or do you just shove things in closets and head for the beach?  I'm slowly developing mine and deciding what changes I need to make to allow the fall to run as smoothly as possible.  My big projects to tackle on my to-do list fit into a couple of primary purposes: organize my room, prepare for a few bursts of productivity in the summer, and get a jump start on the fall. 

1a. Purge the filing cabinets.  Seriously.  I do not need the worksheets that the last teacher left in the filing cabinets five years ago.  Not only were they beneath the state standards when I took the job, but we're now implementing the much more rigorous Common Core.  When in doubt, recycle.  A drawer a day until the end of the year would let me come back in a good frame of mind in August. 
1b. Take home and file/organize papers I want to keep and materials for lesson planning.  I am a horrible filer!  Horrible!  In that way where I don't do it, there's a mound of papers on every surface, and I just hope no one wants anything from three months ago.  New plan: sort papers out by CC standard and just keep one master of each.  

2. Weed out the bookshelves.  Again, I do not need other people's cast offs or left behind books.  I have a half dozen really useful books I use again and again for masters.  The others, not so much.  Offer them up on our employee web portal and see if another teacher wants them.

3. Prep beginning of year things.  This bogs me down every year.  You see, teachers don't use the photocopiers at my school.  At the beginning of the year, we get very bogged down since one person is doing all of our copying.  Forms and worksheets I use at the beginning of every year should be copied now.  I hesitate to make my syllabus yet due to the CC switchover, but it might be worth it. 

4. Inventory supplies.  This is a new one, but absolutely necessary.  I buy more school supplies for my classroom than I care to count.  Some things I've actually built up a little inventory (cap erasers, lined paper, index cards) and others I've run out of completely (spiral notebooks, red pens).  I'm making a checklist of how many of each are in my room so when I get ready to purchase this summer, I'm spending wisely.  This list only includes supplies that I typically buy at Staples, Walmart, or Target in large quantities.  My plan is to save this list for next summer and use it to decide how much I go through so I can plan even better.  Download your copy of this inventory sheet here and edit it to match your classroom's needs. 

5. Map out the classroom.  This is required by my school, but SO terribly helpful that I would suggest it to anyone.  Before we leave in the summer, we inventory our furniture and draw a map of how it should look in our classroom so the custodians can get everything back into the correct place after they clean the floors.  I usually have to nudge a few things or swap a couple of tables that look similar, but it saves me at least an hour of work.

6. Take home PD materials.  I'm attending a few PD sessions this summer, one to address CC implementation and one to address the new teacher evaluation system we're using next year.  I have some materials that I need to take with me and I need to make sure they're not hidden away in a cupboard where I can't access them. 


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