When the calendar flips to May, some teachers start thinking about what they can prep and get ready for their classroom NOW. Whether you want tips to pack up or ideas for organization, ETTC has you covered! We also have some great ideas of resources that you can start today (while you have access to that work printer, laminator, and copy machine!). If you’re that teacher, we can help you get a head start next year with 22 simple things you can prep for next school year NOW!
Our First Few Simple Things to Prep for Your Classroom
Have you gotten the checklist yet? Mine came through email yesterday. You know the one I’m talking about… the Classroom Pack Up checklist. Need any tips for packing your room? Check out our Packing Up Hacks Blog!
The dreaded first few days of school…when kids never seem to know where they go at the end of the day, and you’re scrambling to keep track of all their little bodies in the hallway at dismissal! Print these now to get ready for the first week until kids know where they’re supposed to go! I love to have them out at the open house. Have families fill them out for the first week before leaving that night. The tags are for backpacks, but I’ve also taped them onto the student’s shirt before the end of the day. If they end up lost in the building, adults know where they need to go!
3–Open House Materials
You know…all that stuff that families need to fill out at the beginning of the year – forms and such. Getting this done in the spring takes one more thing off your list for the fall. I also like to get my student welcome back materials ready to go. The cute eraser with the card about making mistakes in first grade and how that’s great. The bubbles with the cute tag about how I’m bubbling with excitement to meet them.
The CORE Binder has been an enormous time saver – one central location for standards-aligned activities and student resources. The kids know where to find it all! I would highly recommend putting this on your list of easy things you can prep now for fall. I swap out pages as the year goes on. The kids use this for morning work, early finisher activities, or as a helpful ready-to-go activity when the principal stops by the door and ‘needs a minute.’ The CORE Binder has it all, from retelling graphic organizers to phoneme replacement and ten more/ten less/one more/one less chart.
The binder is also full of great student resources for math and literacy with number charts, sound walls, and editable sight word charts or personal dictionaries. These materials can help me reduce some of the clutter on the classroom walls, creating a more calming environment, which we all need these days! Print it now!
Simple Things for Your Classroom Prep
Journaling is a great way to get to know your students and a non-threatening way to get them writing. I always open up the session at the end to sharing with a weekly sharing schedule since they usually all want to share (this is always optional, however, never forced). These 180 Journal Prompts can easily incorporate at different points in your day and are a quick prep now project. I love to get these ready before school ends in the spring. Make it easier on yourself and have your students journal in a store-bought notebook while you share the prompt on a digital whiteboard, and you don’t need to do ANY prep!
6–Organizational Ideas–Here are some quick and easy ideas for teachers to help keep you, your students, and all of the supplies you have organized: Organizing Ideas for Teachers!
These booklets are great for center work or small groups for phonics instruction (or whole group independent practice). I will use them all with my kids over the year (because they cover all the skills I need). I love how they are one page (double-sided) with various activities to keep my kids engaged. They include rainbow writing, a phonics-based passage with smiles to color each time you read it, multiple-choice, fill in the blank, short answer questions, find/write/color, write a sentence, and a family connection for each skill.
Some More Simple Things to Prep
The phonics passages are a great companion to #7 as another option during centers or small groups. The reading comprehension and fluency passages are just what I need to keep my students engaged and reading. Both have fluency tracking and comprehension questions (text-dependent and higher-level thinking). The phonics passages focus on a specific phonics skill, and the other offer themed fluency passages.
The third option for phonics center work, small group instruction, or whole group independent practice, our Word Work No Prep Print and Go activities are a one-pager with various activities. Activities include rainbow writing, letterboxes, writing practice, spin and write, and draw and label – which keeps my students engaged and gives them multiple ways to practice the skill. The set comes with two pages for each focus skill (two pages of ch, two pages of bl, etc.), so I have plenty to choose from daily.
These Sight Word Booklets (and passages!) offer my students another engaging literacy center (word work) option. Since there are two options (booklets and passages), I have the freedom to differentiate on the fly or have repeated practice in different settings (small group vs. centers). They cover the first 100 Fry sight words (1/booklet), and students trace, color, and highlight the sight word. Kids love that they can keep these booklets in their book bags.
If you’re a 4K or K teacher, these should be on your list of easy things you can prep now for fall. Knowing you’ll cover all the alphabet letters, you can be confident you won’t waste any time or paper! I’m thrilled with the three different versions of these booklets. I can spiral back to varying levels throughout the year and differentiate for my students as we are learning. They range from a book of words that start with that letter to booklets with two sentences per page.
Things To Prep Over This Summer!
Just due to the sheer amount of time and energy it would take to get these made during the school year, you should add them to your list of easy things you can prep now for fall. They’re easy to prep and take some time, but your whole year of centers is READY! ETTC has bundles for Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade, and Third Grade, and they are super engaging and fun for students, all while accomplishing the academics you need to cover the entire school year!
Kindergarten has 24 total, third grade has 40 total, and first and second grade have ten centers per month (for a total of 120 each!). I have enough to fill in those extra rotations after thinking about meeting with me, reading to self, and listening to reading. Activities generally have multiple mats or options. They’re full of puzzles, clip cards, sorting mats, conversation prompts, reader’s theater scripts, and more!
13–Morning Work (K-2)
Morning work has been a lifesaver for me and should 100% be on your list of easy things you can prep now for fall. I will never understand how teachers can help the kids who need help at the beginning of the day, take attendance (and submit it on time!), take the lunch and milk count, and submit those items while teaching the students! Then, teachers address any issues with families who arrive at school with their children, and they haven’t snagged our morning work! Our Kindergarten, First, and Second Grade sets have 180 days of math, and ELA Common Core focused work to get you through the entire year. Give your students a predictable morning routine and yourself a chance to get what you need to get done each morning by prepping these now.
I never liked poetry, but my teaching partner did. They focused on a phonics skill with each poem (or a sight word, punctuation, or other notable feature). I consented to her way of thinking and found this one of my favorite parts of the week. Each day, we read the poem with a different focus, from fluency to the special feature. Getting these booklets prepped now saves me a bundle of time. It is always on the top of my list of easy things you can prep now for fall.
Don’t Forget to Grab These Simple Things
I’m embarrassed to say that I used to create sheets by hand within a printed template for each week’s worth of words. Now that I’ve found the Editable Spelling Activities for Any Word List (10, 12, or 15), I am more efficient! No more files dragged down to the copy room of my handwritten masters… I print and go!
Since I have the same words each week, I type them all in once, save the file for each week, and only have to open it now. Since we don’t have ten words/week, I wanted to note that you can easily use the set for ten even with less than that.
Printing and binding these now saves time in the fall. I love that I come back to having my booklets all ready. The Daily Edit contains 180 paragraphs for editing and revising practice, so you’ll be set for the year. Since editing and revising is probably the most challenging part of the writing process for my students, I’m thrilled to have a year’s worth of practice at my fingertips. They start by focusing on capitalization and punctuation. Then move on to spelling errors, quotation errors, extra and/or missing words, and finally, end with errors in all editing areas.
17–Monthly Packets—Full of over 50 pages with various options for literacy, math, science, social studies, writing, grammar, and more that are truly print and go. Each month at your fingertips to print and go for K-2nd grade! We are talking lifesaver here!
Data. The necessary evil of teaching. This freebie can help you track and monitor fluency. Making those literacy data meetings, parent-teacher conferences, and planning for instruction that much easier. This Binder has everything I need with an individual fluency graph, a teacher tracking chart for the class per quarter, and a quarter’s worth of notes by week on one sheet per student. Side note: I also prep all those running record sheets at this time. I put all my data/notetaking/tracking and monitoring sheets in one big Binder!
Some Final Simple Things to Prep NOW for Your Classroom
Everyone who knows the littles knows that Kindergarten is a class of its own. The unique needs of the littles led to this fantastic data tracking Binder – made just for Kindergarten! With things like personal goals, naming letters, reading CVC words, writing numbers to 20, and adding numbers, you’ve got what you need in this set. The tracking books are great to pull out at data meetings, IEPs, and parent-teacher conferences!
21–Premium Membership–If you have not yet joined Premium, this summer is the best time! You can search and add tons to your library with a low monthly payment of $9.99! You do not want to miss out!
22–Directed Drawings—Each page has a simple 6-step drawing with sentence writing, vocabulary, and phonics activities. Directed Drawing volume 1 and volume 2 are available on Premium or in our ETTC Store!
BONUS–Paperless Morning Meetings–OK, this one makes 23, but I had to share this resource! By just getting this resource, you can set your start to your school day without any further looking! Put the slide (225 slides included) upon your smartboard each morning, and GO!
So… no time to waste! Even if you’re exhausted now, you’ll thank yourself in the fall. Getting yourself prepped for the fall now also means you can take as much time this summer to rest and rejuvenate! We KNOW you need it this year! What is on your list of easy things you can prep now for fall? Share below!
WRITTEN BY – SUZANNE KELLEY
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