When a lot of teachers think of batch prepping for the school year they think it only happens during the summer. And, yes, a majority of batching does happen during those summer months, but there are things you can prep throughout the school year to make it run much more smoothly.
Here are some things that have helped me and other teachers get through the year as smoothly as possible. I hope it helps give you some ideas too!
Prepping for the Win
While batch prepping all of the things below for the entire school year might be an option for you, for many prepping ahead might mean working a month or a couple of weeks in advance. No matter how much time you have to dedicate to prepping, the things to prep below are a great place to start. Even having them settled for a week or few days in advance will be a huge help!
1 – Your Attitude
Wait, what?! How do you prep your attitude? It begins by listening to positive messages and affirmations, saying positive things to yourself about the school year, and adjusting your expectations from “perfect” to “good enough”. When you let go of the need for perfection and adjust your thinking to the positive, amazing things can happen!
2 – Adapted Books
Adapted books are a staple in special ed classrooms, but they can take a bit of work to assemble. What I like to do is print out the books that I’ll need for the month from the Adapted Book Club and then work in batches.
So, one day I might cut out all of the pieces associated with each book. The next day I might laminate everything.
Then I’ll have a cut-out session while watching my favorite show on tv. The next night might be the hook and loop phase of the project.
By breaking each step down into manageable, bite-size tasks, I’m able to get everything done ahead of time without it seeming like too much.
3 – A Substitute Binder
There is often the saying that taking a day off is more work than coming in sick when you’re a teacher. I believe that teachers’ mental and physical health is more important than showing up on those days when you need to stay home. So, a substitute binder is a must.
I like to prep my sub binder in the summer before school starts, but you can create one whenever you have the time. It’s better to be prepared than to worry all day when you’re at home sick!
This is the editable substitute binder that I created and used in my classroom. It has everything from lunch and recess rules to teacher passwords for programs to procedures for going home. It has been a lifesaver!
4 – Task Boxes and Bins
I like to use task bins and boxes with my students because they’re hands-on and students typically love them. If I can’t prep my bins and boxes for the marking period, I make sure that they’re done at least two weeks ahead of time. This allows me to get them in the classroom without worrying about whether I’ll have them when I need them.
Here are my best tips for creating task bins and boxes for your classroom. I hope they help!
5 – Birthday Goodies
If you celebrate student birthdays in the classroom, having all of your birthday goodies done ahead of time can save you from last-minute disaster! I like to look at my students’ birthdays and break them down by month. I then store everything for each birthday in a folder for that month. It’s made it so much easier to celebrate my students without forgetting anyone.
6 – Data Collection Forms
I love using technology every chance I get. One of the best ways to collect data is to create Google Forms for each student.
Obviously, with a large caseload or a student with multiple goals, this can be a lot of work. I have found that if I batch prep it and create a whole bunch of forms in one sitting, it goes much quicker.
I then create QR codes for each form and make a cheat sheet for each student with their data collection QR codes.
7 – Your Calendar
Before ever stepping foot in the classroom, break out your school year calendar and write in all of the holidays, in-service days, student birthdays, family days that you need off, when report cards are due, IEP meetings, and more. Everything that you have going on throughout the year should be documented on that calendar. By having all of the obligations and events planned out ahead of time, you can work backward to get everything done. Not being caught by surprise with a last-minute obligation will definitely make your year better!
A little preparation and planning go a long way toward helping make the school year easier. While you don’t have to prep all of the things above at once, the more of them you have in place, the better the year will be.
What do you prep ahead of time to make your year run better? Share with us!