Monday, May 9, 2016

Finish the Year With a Bang: End With the Beginning in Mind


14 days. That’s all I have left. That’s it ! Can you believe it?

END WITH THE BEGINNING IN MIND

The end of this school year is {finally} near, my friends, and I have already started preparing. You know the expression, "begin with the end of mind?" As many teachers have at this time of the year, I have shifted my thinking to "end with the beginning in mind."

I think that I, like most teachers, romanticize the back-to-school season; Every year I forget how chaotic, overwhelming, and exhausting it is until I'm living it. Each year, I have gotten a little better about prepping for the next year.


An old trick that you may already know is to have and fill a Back-to-School Box. In this box you will put everything that you will need immediately, during pre-planning, open house, and the first week of school. You will store this box somewhere in your classroom that is memorable and easily accessible for when you come back after your amazing - but too short - summer vacation.




In my box, I include:
  • Desk AND lanyard nametags for my new students, laminated and cut (I write names with a Sharpie AFTER laminating)
  • Supplies for Open House: copies, labels, station signs, and easels
  • Basic copies for the first week of school

You've seen the lines for the copier - and even worse, the laminator - during preplanning. Avoid those lines AT ALL COSTS by planning ahead!



I'VE LOST MY MIND, I KNOW


How do I get all of these things done, you ask, in addition to my regular teaching and planning?


I make myself a countdown calendar. On this printed calendar, I count down the days until the end of the school year... obviously! But also, on each day, I write down a few tasks to be completed. I do try to organize the tasks so that they don't take away from my current class.


For example, I'm not taking any math stuff down until the day after the last day of math. (We switch classes for math.) The first days of tasks are things that are practically unnoticeable to the students; I don't want them to think their school year is quite over yet!




I save the tasks that I want the kids to help with for the last day or so. Some of them would rather do chores for me than watch a movie - which I ADORE!

All that being said, it's an easy way to organize little tasks and get things done in a timely way, instead of being overwhelmed during post-planning. PSA: Having only ONE day of post-planning is ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS if you ask me. I'm supposed to undo 180 days in one morning, before the staff celebration? Um, no.



JUST KEEP TEACHING

We are almost there, y'all! Hang on! While you and your students anxiously await your summer and you try to cross tasks off of your countdown calendar, make sure you give your students some fun, yet meaningful, work to do.

I may be a little biased, but I personally love these end-of-year newspaper writing projects that I created. The kids LOVE writing their own newspapers, reflecting on the school year, and spending lots of time illustrating. It's a great calm activity for the last week of school.




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2 comments:

  1. I would love to see what's on your calendar. I can't zoom in on it, iPad makes the screen go funky. :)

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    1. Hey Lisa!

      It's just a bunch of tasks that I can accomplish before my one day of post-planning. For example, take down hallway display, take down all anchor charts, wash the pillows, redo the word wall, and so on. The color-coding probably wasn't necessary. :)

      Enjoy the rest of your time with your kiddos!

      - Kristin from School and the City

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