Wednesday, May 18, 2016

End of the Year Prep Ideas

The end of the school year buzz has already begun. Whether you have a week or several weeks left of school, the warm, summer sun and lazy summer days are quickly approaching! And believe me, I am counting down the days until I can enjoy it!

I always like to spend some time, at the end of the year, prepping for the new school year that awaits. I know some of you are just surviving this year, however, I tend to enjoy my time off in the summer when I know some of the prep is already complete!


The following ideas are just a few suggestions of things that work for me. I hope you can take one or two of the ideas away with you and ease your way back into the classroom in the fall.

1.
Copy School Forms 
I always take the time to copy all my Back To School forms, which I will send home the first week of school. I put them in my file cabinet and label a folder "First Week of School". This helps me find them easily and I spend less of my summer standing at the copy machine when school is headed back into session.


2.
Bind Books
I also spend some time preparing my "what do I do when I am done?" books. These B.A.T. books from Lucky To Be In First are an awesome fast finisher resource. I take time at the end of the year to copy and bind a class set of books. I use her first grade book as review skills at the beginning of the year. Then I use the second grade book for the second semester until the end of the year as review of the second grade skills I have taught. I used a Book Creator heat binding machine to quickly seal the published books...into my closet they go for the new school year!


3.
Create Labels
 I make sure to create as many of my generic labels ahead of time. I can't put the kids' names on anything just yet, but I can make my folder labels and stick them on. Here I have my unfinished work, writing folder, and warm up folder labels already printed and stuck on the front of a class set of folders. All I have to do in the fall is add their name stickers!

4.
Prep Interactive Notebooks
I LOVE using interactive notebooks in my classroom. But my little second graders need lots of help learning how to organize themselves. I make sure to prep their interactive notebooks by putting on the cover and adding standards tabs so they know where to glue the pages they are working on. Everything is color coded and labeled so there is little room for error. I also glue an envelope to the inside cover for small pieces that may not get glued if time runs out.


5.
Copy Morning Warm Up Pages
The first thing my students do in the morning, when they arrive to class, is to turn in their homework and put their personal items away. When they are done, they take out their warm up folder from their desk and complete one page in their printing/sight word packet and their daily review page. This gives me time to deal with morning business and my students are all engaged (for the most part). I like to have these pages copied and stapled ahead of time.


6.
Prepare Supply Boxes
I like my students to have individual supply boxes. I know many of you feel otherwise or have a different system. BUT I like everyone to have their own supplies and take ownership and responsibility for them. There are some supplies we share such as glue and scissors. The basic items (crayons, pencils, glue stick, erasers etc.) are kept in their own boxes. I like to reinforce the boxes with our duck tape of our school colors and mascot's paws! I personalize the boxes in the fall with each student's name.


7.
Create A Countdown Chain
This isn't really an idea to help you prep your classroom for the new school year. It is however, a really fun way to get your current students excited for the next grade. I created a paper cloud and attached color paper chains for each of the days we have left in school. I usually do this for the last 2 or 3 weeks of school. At the end of the day, one student gets to tear the bottom chain off. You can number the chains, write a memory from the year on each one and have a student read it at the end of the day....the ideas are endless. You can grab your grade level cloud HERE for FREE! 


Thanks for stopping by. I hope you can grab a few ideas to use to help you prepare ahead of time and give yourself some well deserved downtime during your summer break! 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Poetry Keepsakes

Are you looking for a great bulletin board display for the end of the year? A meaningful keepsake that will melt your parents' hearts and make them tear up a bit? Then this is the activity for you! Our self portraits and All About Me Poems are one of my most favorite activities I do all year! I love to have them on display for Open House if possible too, 

We start off by drawing self portraits of ourselves. I teach the children about proportions, spacing, using the entire piece of paper etc. We draw everything in pencil first. Then, we use oil pastels to add color to the drawings. My students learn to smudge and blend with the oil pastels to create a smooth skin tone. They love learning how to blend and mix colors to find the perfect blend.  


After we complete our self portraits, I introduce the kids to our poetry format. I give each student a copy of the template. We complete each line one at a time. This can be done as a whole group or small group. You know your students best. I complete it as a whole group. We brainstorm ideas for each line. This seems to get the ideas flowing and gives the kids inspiration to write about themselves. 

You can grab this FREEBIE template for the poems HERE.


Once the students complete the rough drafts of their poems, I type them and print them on bright colored paper. I mount them on black paper to make them POP and stand out.

I display them next to their self portraits and.... TA-DAH! A beautiful display is created. At the end of the year, I put these into each students' art portfolio and they take them home to their parents.