Once the school year starts, it feels like a sprint where I can hardly catch my breath. Whatever new organization or ideas I plan to use must be thought of before I start the year, but I also need to take plenty of time to renew my batteries for the next year. I have written down some ideas for how to make the next school year easier.
I put so much into my teaching, as many good teachers do, and get so burned out during the year. It is really important for me to do things that charge my battery. We are all different, so what charges my battery will be different from what charges someone else's battery. Be sure to link up or comment at the bottom with your ideas!
I charge my battery by traveling to see family, by creating my new theme for the next year, by evaluating my last year, and as an introvert, by spending plenty of time relaxing by myself, spending time in beautiful outdoor places that make me feel peace.
I am sure I am not the only who who feels that there is never enough time during the year to cultivate those relationships that are important to me. I am currently visiting my family in Ohio. My dad has Parkinson's disease and won't be around long, so this is an important time for me to spend with him and other family members.
I have dear neighbors who I rarely get to spend time with during the school year that I plan to do things with this summer.
I do take some time during the year to spend with my sons and their wives, my grandchildren, and my daughter, but in the summer, I take even more time to do things with them. That is really important to me.
When in the middle of a hectic school year is not the time to carefully evaluate things. Once you are done with the year is a great time to evaluate what went well and what you want to change.
My end of the year was extremely hectic, no doubt because I went out of town for a week with my husband to a conference in San Jose since I hadn't taken my 5 vacation days. I do Kindergarten coloring books, first grade beat books, and 2nd grade books of a folk song that the kids make up verses and draw pictures of. Before I left, I madly worked hours and hours to put together the first and 2nd grade books, so my substitute could use them to do relevant things while I was gone. I always hand out my kindergarten book and my first grade beat book pages and have kids color them, or write down the beats, leave them in file folders of each song and then put the books together at the end of the year. I have never wanted to make the books at the beginning of the school year because I was worried that kids would ruin the books or have a hard time finding pages. In retrospect, I have decided it will be worth the time and effort to teach the students how to be careful with their books in order for me to not have such a hectic end of the year. I've already sent in my print order for next year.
I do my 5th grade recorder program that has become a tradition in my school and kids aspire to learn and to earn recorder belts. This year, my 3 classes earned an average of 50 belts per student. I give the students yarn and beads for their belts leading up to their black belt and yarn for their extra belts. The yarn is really inexpensive but takes time to cut. You can read about my free recorder program here.
I do a teddy bear picnic that is a highlight for my kindergarteners. I do a fun 3 Bear's Jive song and have cute Goldilocks and the 3 bears manipulatives I use and decided last year to give each student their own set. I also have each student color a mask to go with "Going on a Bear Hunt". Why do I do these things? I guess because the kids love it so much.
I would get bored if I didn't have new things to look forward to each school year. I have a new theme each year, which the kids love. I plan to do a pirate theme next year. I am excited to get started on this fun theme. You can read about how I do a theme of the year here.
In order to make my year easier, I plan to cut out my yarn and 3 bears manipulatives and masks ahead of time. I can do this in the beautiful outdoors where it is peaceful. I also plan to get some of my best 5th and 6th grade workers together for a day or two to help me. I know which kids are great workers. I mentioned to a couple of them that I'd like to bring them into school to help me this summer. I plan to buy them pizza and give them a few dollars to take to the dollar store. They are very excited about helping. I know it will make my year easier. A new theme gets me excited to come back again, so I also plan to work on my pirate theme over the summer.
These are just a few tips that will make my year easier. I'd love to hear what you do to make your next year easier. Leave comments below or link up your post below using this graphic.