As the end of the year approaches it’s easy for tired teachers to start letting their classroom management slip. They truly don’t mean to and swore they wouldn’t. With all of the special events, field trips, and changes to your schedule it’s easy to fall into these end of the year teacher traps. By recognizing them, keeping your end of the year classroom management as sharp as it was at the start IS doable! Here are some common, end of the year pitfalls that every teacher faces and what you can do instead.
1. Loosening Up on Routines and Procedures
Avoid letting your regular routines get sloppy. Whenever I’ve done that it has caused me more stress. I know it can be hard with all of the extra events thrown in at the end of the year, but as much as possible, keep your routines in place and be consistent with procedures that you’ve taught all year. Kids like to know what to expect and sticking to your classroom management routine helps to keep behavior in check.
2. Letting The Piles Get the Best of You
It’s so easy to let your organization go straight out the window at the end of the year. Files, folders, papers and books seem to appear out of nowhere! Take ten minutes at the end of the day to put away a few files, find the home for loose center games, or whatever else is starting to pile up. Straighten your reading table or clean off your desk. I try to do this at the end of the day while students are packing up.
Stick to your dismissal routine. Have students tidy their spaces and surrounding areas before they leave. It’s uplifting to come in to a fresh start in the morning and the desk fairy might even visit.
3. Saving Your To-Do List Until the End
This is one of the biggest mistakes that well-meaning teachers make at the end of the year. Even if you still have a couple of months to go, start now and tackle the small things on your list. Start purging slowly and get rid of things you don’t need, want, or use. Write down everything you need to get done and break it up into weekly or daily chunks. Make a list of what you want to accomplish each day.
Download this FREE end of the year checklist to help you.
4. Forgetting to Have Fun
Take the time to enjoy your kids. They think the world of you. Plan some fun things to do at the end of the year that don’t add to your stress but are engaging and fun for your class. I know you have a lot on your plate, so keep it simple. For example:
- Write letters to next year’s class.
- Make end of the year memory books.
- Do fun projects you didn’t have time for during the year.
- Play the games that they’ve loved all year.
- Have an end of the year awards ceremony.
- Create an end of the year theme or have different themed days.
- Have students write their goals for next year and reflect on this year’s accomplishments.
- Make class thank you cards for volunteers and school staff.
- Set up an end of the year photo booth and send home keepsake cards with a special note from you.
- Have a Hashtag Hop! (Seriously, so fun!)
- Let the kids be the teacher. Do some end of the year review by having students teach something they know well. It can be as simple as a spelling pattern or a math strategy and asking their classmates to write example on their whiteboards.
- Have an educational movie day! Grab the free resources in this post (that your principal will love!).
5. Putting Off Prepping for Next Year
You may be thinking, “What?” I just want to make it through this year!” and I get it. But here’s the thing-the years I prep nothing before I leave for the summer are the years I spend thinking about it all summer long AND end up going in weeks before I’m due back. You don’t need that. The summer is YOUR time to rest, relax, and recharge.
Get help from parent volunteers if you have them. The can easily do a lot of the things that need done. Have them pull damaged books from your library, organize your leveled readers, grade or sort papers, and start making copies for next year. Have your helper copy the things you use weekly and daily like spelling lists, fluency passages, copy and prep homework and data folders etc.
In this post I wrote about simple things you should prep before you leave for the summer, plus tips for packing up your classroom that make setting up next year SO much easier!
I hope these ideas help you steer clear of the pitfalls and give you things you can do instead!
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