The one with MUST DO end of year prep in the classroom

The end of the year is all about finishing everything up and cleaning out to prep for the next school year. I’m recycling and throwing papers out left and right. And there are a couple of things I do to make sure I’m ready at the beginning of the next school year:

  1. Make my FIRST WEEK OF COPIES. Everyone in your school is going to be heading to use the copier that first week back. Not me. I like to copy all of my favorite back to school papers  during the last two weeks of school. I put them in my special “OPEN FIRST” box that I’ve packed. <— This came in handy SOOOOO much the year the copier was broken the week before school started. Everyone was in a panic except for me and my grade partner. So this changed a little during the pandemic, BUT I did save all my digital plans and resources for week 1 in a specific folder in my Google Drive.
  2. Pack an OPEN FIRST box. Ever have to pack away your entire classroom? Maybe it’s school policy, or maybe your changing rooms, or buildings. Remember those first week of copies? I put those copies and a few essentials into my OPEN FIRST box. This box also includes: a couple sharpies, my best scissors, stapler, a roll of masking tape, pencils, a sticky note pad, and my first read aloud. All those things that I can’t live without during the first week. So even if everything else in my classroom gets jumbled around, I can handle it.
  3. Have my current students make a WELCOME BROCHURE for my upcoming students. This is an easy activity for the end of the year and it works as a great gift for my new students the following year. 

    A couple years ago, a school near my school closed, so we had an influx of new students. I thought this brochure would be a way to help those students feel at home. Later, I realized that this was helpful to all my new fourth graders, because they were all making a big change as they start a new year. I was new to them, and so was everything else about fourth grade. This became the perfect yearly activity! I stick these in my OPEN FIRST box and leave them on students’ desks for our sneak-a-peek night, the week before school starts. 
Last spring, after transitioning to virtual learning and being unsure of what to expect in the fall, I adapted this project into a Google Slides™ activity. Even if your Sneak-a-Peek is virtual, you can share these in a slideshow to welcome your new students.
The end of the year can be overwhelming, between report cards, meetings, cleaning, saying good bye, celebrations, and all the things. That’s why I’ve learned that these three things are MUST DOs that truly save my butt in the fall.
What are your end of year must dos?
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