Monday, April 11, 2016

How to Prep for BTS at the EOY

Oh May, how I've been counting down the days until you're here - because that means the end of the school year is just weeks away, and boy is this teacher ready!

But the end of the school year means cleaning up, putting things away, and simply storing things until August when it's time to bring it all back out. So if you're anything like me, you might just nicely stack things in a closet and then have no idea what you were thinking when you put it all away. #teacherproblems

This year I am determined to make Back to School easier for myself... starting now. Yes, starting at the end of the school year I am going to prep myself for Back to School.

Now before you get all, "I don't even want to think about BTS... it's still April for goodness sake!" I hear ya, I hear ya loud and clear. And I am no where even mentally close to being ready for BTS time. But I am so tired, ya'll, of coming back to school and having all of this stuff to do... only to finish my list, and then think of 4 more things to add to my to do list... and continue this cycle on for a month until my classroom is finally where I want it to be.
So let me share with you what I am doing to prep my end of the school year self for my back to school year self.
1. As I am taking things off of my walls and peeling tape up from the floor, I am making a list of what I did, where it went and what it was for.

I have this line of tape with X's on the floor at the front of my classroom for when my students line up for lunch, recess, and dismissal. It's one of those super simple, complacent things that I will probably forget about until the morning of the first day of school.

Same goes for the tape around my desk... and the tape in the calm down spot. Before I even start peeling that tape up, I'm writing it down on my list of things I need to remember at BTS time.
2. Create a Back to School Box. Put anything you're going to use at the very beginning of the school year (i.e., resource books, stapler, tape, read alouds, push pins) in this box and put it in a place where you'll be able to find it easily at the beginning of school next year.
You don't need to go buy a nice plastic bin, just go take one of those paper ream boxes out of the copy room and use that. That's what I'm doing... a free, sturdy box vs. going to Target and coming out of Target with a cart full of other things I didn't need? I'm choosing free... this time. #sorryTarget
3. Use up the rest of this years copies on things you'll need right away at the beginning of nex year. Thinking of starting the year off with that adorable lapbook or starting a memory book for your class? Make those copies now and store them in your Back to School Box.
4. Make a list of supplies you know you'll need donated to your classroom... now. Only have 3 bottles of glue left? Write it on your list. You've got 2 half-chewed pencils with no erasers and 70 pencils about 1" in length? Write it on your list.

We aren't allowed in our classrooms until 2ish weeks before school starts... and we have to fully detox our rooms (meaning, take everything down and all of your stuff gets piled in the middle of the classroom for summer cleaning). It's a huge pain and I always, always, always forget what supplies I need and don't need. Not next year.
5. As you're packing up your room, have your "home" bag nearby. And it needs to be a BIG bag. This is your bag that you're going to put all of your things you want to work on at home over summer in.

Whether you actually work on them or not is a different story, it's the effort that counts.
6. Are you thinking of changing your theme for next school year? Have some new bulletin board ideas? Stuff that needs laminated and/or cut out? Do it now. Buy it now.

I know that when I hit up Lakeshore Learning in August... everything I want is going to not be there... because other teachers want it to... and then they buy it before me... and then I'm out of luck until October when it's back in stock... and by then I don't care what my bulletin boards look like.

So if I go and buy it in May, I can laminate that cute social skills bulletin board set at school now and cut it out over summer. Then when I come back in August to decorate, it's ready to get stapled to the board.
7. BONUS TIP! Substitute plans... the dreaded and the awful. We all hate doing them, but we all have to have them ready to go for emergency situations.

I know already that I have 4 of 5 read alouds that I want to create sub plan sets for to have in emergency situations, or just for those general days when I'll be out for staff development. I'm not going to have time to create them during the school year, because I certainly didn't make them this school year. So I'm going to take the books home and work on those sub plans here and there this summer... and then I'm set once school comes back around.
8. BONUS TIP! Go home and sleep. For 3 weeks straight.

Put your teacher "home" bag, all of that lamination, those pesky books you want to write sub plans for... put all of it in a room and shut the door. For at least a month.

Relax and refresh your mind and body. Reset yourself and enjoy your summer. You've worked so hard the last couple of months, you deserve the summer off to recoup.

What do you do at the end of the school year to prepare for BTS?


  1. Yes!! Yes!! Yes!! To all the above! I also make a list of things that students can do to help me during the last week of school- we go through all our bins and check book labels to make sure all books get back into the right bin so when I get a new batch of 3rd graders, books are ready to go. I also have them sharpen lots of pencils so I am stocked for a while, as well as if they want to donate their old materials like crayons and markers, we check them all and sort them so they are ready for next year. It's awesome to come back to in the fall!

  2. I love this! After 15 years of teaching, I finally started doing this last year...And will do it even more this year!

  3. I make my copies for the beginning g of the school year now too because there is always a line at the start of the year. I have too many lists so instead of making a list about my room, I'd take pics so I could remember where things go. Can't do it this year though because I'm getting a new room.